SIGCHI Policy on Specialized Conference Development Fund

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This funding mechanism is part of the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 SIGCHI budgets and  will be reviewed regularly by SIGCHI. Conferences are expected to break even and not return a surplus, however, in the past Sponsored or Co-Sponsored (>= 50%) conferences have returned a surplus and this fund is a means to redistribute some of this to the community. It is worth noting that there is also a general “SIGCHI Development Fund”, which may be suitable to consider rather than this fund.

For this funding mechanism, eligible conferences are ACM SIGCHI Sponsored or Co-Sponsored (>= 50%) conferences. Each of these conferences has a Steering Committee who are expected to submit a proposal having considered the purpose of this fund, the funding criteria and the potential amount of funding. For the avoidance of all doubt, this “SIGCHI Conference Development Fund” is not available for in-cooperation events.


With its mission to develop the field of HCI, SIGCHI has been making efforts to create new and support existing conferences addressing specific topics of HCI. SIGCHI is providing financial resources through this SIGCHI Conferences Development Fund to support activities that are helpful for (co-)sponsored specialized conferences. Examples of such activities can be seen in the past applications online or the examples described here. SIGCHI is providing these financial resources based on the financial history of a conference series to support activities that can be helpful beyond the standard budget. The financial history of a conference is related to the Surplus/Loss returned to the SIGCHI from the conferences series, as measured since 2011, which is explained in the section on potential amount below.

If you are involved with a conference (eg. a local chair, general chair or DC chair) and you are interested in making a request (ie. submitting a proposal) for this fund, then please note that applications to this fund should come from the chair of the Steering Committee of your conference series.

If you are a steering committee chair, then when you are ready to submit your proposal, send it via e-mail to: sigchi VP Conferences _at_

Applications will be considered by the SIGCHI Conferences Board.

Funding Criteria

When considering supporting an activity, SIGCHI would like to see that such funding will increase attendance, help develop the interest in the specific topic covered by the conference, support organizers facing contingent challenges but will not create an unsustainable precedent (i.e. by organizing an event that the conference series will not be able to maintain but that might create expectations from the attendees of the conference towards future events).

Please see additional notes 1 (on travel financial limits) and 2 on volunteer reimbursement at the end of this document.

Due to the source of the funding (coming from surpluses produced by previous conferences) SIGCHI will not provide long term continuing support but will only address specific needs.

The absolute criteria for funding are:

  • Ideas which increase attendance, help develop the interest in the specific topic covered by the conference
  • Ideas which help address contingent challenges eg. due to location of the conference, loss of a traditional source of funding
  • Ideas which wouldn’t typically be in the standard budget for a conference and which do not create an unsustainable precedent
  • Ideas which provide value to SIGCHI members who attend the conference
  • If the activity is the beginning of what could become a perpetuated event, the proposal must include a plan for obtaining continued funding from sources other than the SIGCHI Conference Development Fund
  • Funding may be only for the current year and funding for future years must be requested annually and cannot be guaranteed.

Potential amount

This section of the policy was revised in June of 2017.

The amount that can be requested through the SIGCHI conference development fund is based on the overall financial history of the conference series.

Since Jul 1, 2017 your steering committee chair can now apply for up to the maximum of (1) or (2)

  1. 50% of the Surplus/Loss returned to the SIGCHI from the conferences series, as measured since 2011 (as before i.e. since this fund was established in 2015)
  2. 10% of the conference budget figure in the current TMRF. (new from Jul 2017. Please see additional notes 3 at the end of this document for further details on this change)

The overall financial history of the conference series is calculated from the sum of the surpluses and losses of each conference starting from 2011 (included). That overall financial history is updated every year by including the surplus/loss of the conference and removing (if any) the previously agreed financial supports. Every financial support starting from August 2015 is accounted for. Previous funding (which occurred through other schemes is not taken into account).

Any funding award is tied to the specific activity and is paid by the ACM SIGCHI and does not appear in the conference budget. However, only costs associated with the proposal can be claimed from the awarded funding. Any shortfall between costs and budget remain in the overall financial history of the conference series.

Before preparing the grant proposal you should refer to the link to the overall financial history of the conference series which was provided during the Council of Steering Committee Chairs: CSCC meeting in Denver on Dec 8th 2016.

If you cannot locate this link, and you are a steering committee chair, contact who can provide you with the overall financial history of the conference series. That amount is also available through the steering committee chair of the conference series.

The Proposal

Proposals can be submitted by a steering committee chair with their committee’s endorsement.

A suitable proposal should answer the following questions:

  • Title: What is the project to be called?
  • Conference: What is the conference and its location?
  • Subject matter: What is the purpose of this project?
  • Funding: How much funding is requested?
  • Expenses details: How the requested funding is implemented in detail?
  • People: Who speaks for, and takes responsibility for this project?
  • Relevance: Which conference attendees and conference series attendees this project is relevant to?
  • Potential value: What is the potential value of the proposed project to conference attendees? How does it support the organizers or the policy of the conference series leadership?
  • Is there any additional funding and have you considered other sources of funding?
  • Does the proposal include matched funding from another source?
  • If your conference is co-sponsored, can you demonstrate financial support from the other sponsors towards this proposal?


  • Funding a specific workshop that goes beyond the current conference topics (it is important in that case to make sure that extension will not overlap with other (co-)sponsored conference in SIGCHI portfolio unless this is supported by the other conference’s steering committee)
  • Funding for connection activities or co-location between ACM SIGCHI (co-)sponsored conferences
  • Funding for the steering committee to organize planning events for the future health and success of the conference series
  • Funding travel grants for students to attend the conference (might be particularly useful when the conference is in a remote and unusual location)
  • Funding specific expenses related to the venue of the conference
  • Funding of some expenses of the doctoral consortium
  • Funding speakers give keynote at the conference
  • Funding winners of a student competition at a (co-) sponsored conference to attend the student competition at CHI
  • Funding for best paper award winners to attend another SIGCHI (co-)sponsored conference to present their paper as an invited talk (any conference co-connection activities requires the conferences to coordinate between themselves)
  • Funding for a Summer/Winter school related to the conference series.

These are example ideas, any funding does not guarantee acceptance to other SIGCHI conference events.

If you are awarded?

Both your application and final reports will be placed online here so all members can see how this fund is managed and used. Your proposal should have one named person who will be responsible for collecting all the claims into a single set.

If you are involved in any activity funded under the conference development fund please do not submit any claims directly to the ACM or SIGCHI. All claims need to be collected and coordinated by a named person associated with the proposal first. This person will check and forward them. 

  1. This named person should ensure all the claims you are planning to submit are within the overall budget
  2. This named person should collect all the claims to ensure the total set of claims is within the budget agreed
  3. This  named person should submit all the claims as advised if the proposal was approved
  4. A one page report on the proposal should be submitted (including details on budget vs spend) along with the claim.

Additional notes:

  1. from (Feb 2016) Any travel grants within a proposal are capped to provide $1,500 for domestic travel and $2,000 for foreign travel (per person).
  2. from (Feb 2016) Any proposal which involves additional volunteer effort (and hence reimbursement) needs to comply with the SIGCHI Policy for Volunteer Reimbursement.
  3. from (June 2017) The EC has approved a modification in how specialized conference development fund proposals are handled, with the intent of making more conference series eligible for these funds. Specifically, the SIGCHI conference board now has the discretion to approve proposals requesting an amount up to the maximum of (a) 50% of the conference series’ return to SIGCHI since 2011, or (b) 10% of the conference budget in the current TMRF. A long term positive historical view is essential for continued access to the specialized conference development fund. This version will operate from Jul 2017 – June 2018 and may be renewed depending on the financial health of SIGCHI etc.
  4. from (Oct 2018) The EC has approved that conferences with a suitable historical view can apply to SIGCHI to have the contingency in their upcoming budget brought down (possibly to 0). Conferences and steering committees must carefully understand the implications of requesting this and discuss it with the VP for Conferences. 

Effective Date: Aug 15, 2015 (validated by SIGCHI EC)
Replaces: – all concepts previously referred to as the “community grant”, “community fund”, “surplus”, “return”, “float” and “rollover” (i.e. all means to redistribute some funds back to a particular conference series)
Responsible SIGCHI Officer: Vice-President for Conferences sigchi VP Conferences _at_
Last update: Jan 26, 2019 – added new example on summer/winter schools.

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