ACM SIGCHI Gary Marsden Student Development Fund

last update: Jan, 2021

This program has been replaced by the Gary Marsden Travel Awards. We are not accepting applications for this program. This page exists for reference as we wrap up previous commitments to covering travel costs.

Note: The application submission deadlines are 15th of February, May, August and November each year.


In recognition of Gary Marsden’s contributions and inspiration in HCI4D, ACM SIGCHI establishes Gary Marsden Student Development Fund. The purpose is to support growth of HCI in developing worlds by sponsoring SIGCHI student members who are postgraduate students from and currently based in developing countries to attend HCI relevant conferencesor SIGCHI (co)sponsored summer/winter schools.


Who decides on who gets this award

A special committee set up by the SIGCHI EC consisting of 5 people including a chair and a vice-chair of the committee will make the decisions. The chair is appointed by the EC. Other committee members including the vice-chair are then proposed by the committee chair for approval by the EC. The committee will serve the same term as the EC.

Decision Process

The reviewing and awarding process runs every three months in a year in four cycles in February, May, August and November. Each application is reviewed based on the qualification of the student, the contribution he/she will make at the event as well as the relevance and quality of the event in terms of its helpfulness to the student’s development in HCI. The total fund awarded each cycle should be within the fund quota for each cycle, which is one fourth of the annual fund quota. Unused funds for a cycle will be used for the following cycles. The number of award recipients and the maximum fund for each recipient are decided by the deciding committee based on the application review.

The reviewing and awarding process is as follows:

  • The chair receives and collects the applications.
  • The chair circulates the qualified applications to all committee members.
  • The committee members review the applications and send their votes to the chair.
  • The chair puts all votes together and gets the results by the number of votes the applicants have got. The chair circulates the results and the votes to all the members for confirmation.
  • For every applicant that the committee would like to support, the event organizers will be asked to confirm that the applicant has an active role in the event (accepted contribution; accepted as Doctoral consortium student; or accepted as student volunteer etc.)
  • The results are informed to all the applicants (including successful and failed) and the event organizers for the successful applicants.
  • The process is mainly conducted by email communications.

The application submission deadlines are 15th of February, May, August and November. The reviewing results are sent to the applicants in three weeks after the application deadline.

Who can apply

Any SIGCHI student member who is a postgraduate student (Masters or PhD degree) from and currently based indeveloping countries, who has received an invitation to attend from the chair of a HCI relevant conference or a SIGCHI (co)sponsored summer/winter school, can apply for the fund. An event may provide such an invitation based on accepted contributions, accepted as doctoral consortium student, volunteering of any kind (such as student volunteer) for the conferenceor attendance of the summer/winter school. The list of countries from which students are eligible to apply is available here at

How to apply

The applicant needs to submit the application to the committee chair at with the following seven documents in PDF format:

  • A letter of statement by the applicant explaining the nature of the participation including the role the applicant will take in the event as well as why and how it is helpful for his/her career in HCI.
  • A copy of the document showing that the applicant is currently an SIGCHI student member.
  • The email message from the event organizers showing acceptance of the applicant’s participation in the form of publication, doctoral consortium submission, or as a student volunteer etc.
  • The URL of the event website and the contact details of the event organizers.
  • A copy of the Student ID card of the applicant.
  • A letter from a faculty member at the university where the applicant currently has the student status, stating support to the application, mentioning how the student would benefit from attending this event, and indicating if the University can (or cannot) partly contribute financially.
  • A statement of the requested funding amount and a brief justification of the funding needs, as well as any fund obtained from other sources for this purpose.

What can be covered

Subsistence of not more than $3,000 USD in the case of SIGCHI (co)sponsored conferences, $2500 USD in the case of other types of conferences, and $2,000 in the case of SIGCHI (co)sponsored summer/winter schools,including travel (economy class flight tickets, ground transportation), accommodation (student housing if available), registration at the ACM or SIGCHI student member rate (only in the case of SIGCHI (co)sponsored conferences) and meals during the conference can be covered by reimbursement. A maximum fund for each award recipient is decided by the fund committee based on the application review and the available fund quota.

How to be reimbursed

All the subsistence up to the maximum fund for the award recipient set by the committee is reimbursed by receipts and following ACM processes for reimbursement.

About Gary Marsden

Gary Marsden, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, was a passionate advocate for people – all people.  He pioneered the field of Information and Computer Technology for Development (ICT4D) and, in his own wonderfully unpretentious way, he changed the world in positive ways for his students, his colleagues, his community, the profession and, indeed, the world.  A self-described geek, he created technology WITH people rather than just for them, so that the result would actually meet their needs so that it would empower them.  After getting his doctorate and working for several years in London, he moved to South Africa to teach at UCT in 1999.  There, his research focused on mobile device interfaces because mobiles are ubiquitous in most of the “developing” world, and he became world-renowned for his work.  He died very suddenly of a heart attack in December, 2013 at the age of 43, just days before his birthday.  It is in his honor and memory that this award is named for him.

For more information on his rich life, see

Multiple support requests

SIGCHI understands that students applying for any of our funding may be seeking or have awarded partial support from other sources. This is to be encouraged and welcomed!

However, if you are applying for any SIGCHI funding or support (e.g. SIGCHI Student Travel Grant, Gary Marsden fund, SV position, conference specific travel grant.) it is essential that you disclose the following:

(1) any funds/support you have already had offered or awarded

(2) any funds/support you have applied for (and are awaiting an outcome)

(3) any funds/support you are planning to apply for.

Given our limited funds in SIGCHI, it is essential that everything is disclosed in any application so that the respective committee can fairly consider all applications in light of all possible supports.

Finally, we expect anyone who is offered any type of funding or support from anything related to SIGCHI that they will disclose any subsequent funding or support offered from other sources, prior to taking support (financial or otherwise) from SIGCHI.

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