A Q&A session with Andreas Koltes, the IEEE R8 Voluntary Contribution Fund Coordinator

“IEEE Region 8 IEEE is quite diverse in nature covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is the fast growing IEEE Region. The average income in various R8 countries differs significantly. That is why a IEEE R8 Voluntary Contribution Fund (IEEE R8 VCF) was created.” After this interesting information, Region 8 Today, had a Q&A session with the coordinator of IEEE Region 8 Voluntary Contribution, to share with you more details about this opportunity.

R8T: What is the Voluntary Contribution Fund, and how can someone benefit from it?

AK: The Region 8 Voluntary Contribution Fund is a donation fund fed by voluntary contributions of Region 8 members. It was created to support other Region 8 members with low income in the pursuit of professional and technical activities. Applicants may apply for grants to fund their expenses incurred by such activities.

R8T: The fund is available for any IEEE Region 8 Members or are there any requirements?

AK: Grants are available to all IEEE members who have been living within the geographical boundaries of Region 8 for more than 12 months. They must have been active members (i.e. must have paid their membership dues) during that time. As the fund is meant to support members with low income, their annual personal income must be below $10000.

R8T: What opportunities does someone gain from this fund?

AK: The fund aims to give members the opportunity to attend conferences and other professional or technical events they could not otherwise afford to attend. The event must take place within the geographical boundaries of Region 8 and has to be (co-)sponsored by IEEE or one of its entities. Applicants are expected to actively contribute to the activity in a way benefitting their professional or technical development, e.g. by presenting a paper or poster at a conference.

R8T: IEEE Region 8 members are very active in designing and run new projects. Does the fund supports also projects? Are there any special requirements for this?

AK: The fund especially encourages students and graduate students to apply for grants and also funds technical activities and projects undertaken by IEEE Student Branches in addition to the personal funding available. To be eligible, a Student Branch has to be located in a Region 8 country having an average annual income of an engineer below $10000. Applying Student Branches are expected to demonstrate that their project benefits their members in their personal professional and technical development.

R8T: Many expenses, especially travel expenses, in IEEE Region 8 are covered through the reimbursement process. Does the VCF works in this way?

AK: Grants are typically paid through a reimbursement process. However, as many activities covered by grants require advance payments for flights and other expenses, the fund provides advance funds in such cases. Applicants may request this when applying for grants and must provide proof of their contribution to the activity in question before payments are being issued.

R8T: How long does it gets for the procedure, for someone to learn if his/her application is being accepted?

AK: After the applicant’s IEEE Section endorsed the application, a decision regarding a grant will typically be given within two weeks. Application details will be verified and the applicant contacted for clarifications if necessary, which might delay the process. Especially if advance funds are required, it is recommended to contact the local Section at least six weeks before the funds are needed.

R8T: During the year are any specific dates that someone can apply for the VCF?

AK: Applications are being accepted by the fund all year round. IEEE Sections may institute their own local processes for endorsing applications. Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their applications at the earliest convenience.

R8T: Closing Question: How would you encourage someone to apply for the VCF?

AK: Attending international events can provide you with a unique experience and foster your personal professional and technical development. During the past decade, the VCF supported IEEE members from 25 different countries on their career journey. Experience the opportunities created by your membership in the global IEEE community.