2018 TECI Workshop FAQ

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Workshop Selection

Q: Why is there an application to attend this workshop?

A: The workshop is limited in size, due to funding as well as a format that emphasizes team activities and small discussions. In 2018 we will include ~50 participants from across the TMT partnership. Each TMT partner has established priorities for participation in the workshop, and the application form serves to meet the priorities of each partner.

Q: How many participants from each country will be accepted to the workshop?

A: We plan to accept approximately 5-10 participants from each TMT partner (Canada, China, Japan, India, Caltech, and University of California).

Q: What criteria are being used to select workshop participants?

A: The workshop selection criteria include several factors, which may be weighted differently for each TMT partner depending on that partner’s priorities. Factors include:

  • current involvement with TMT

  • interest in future involvement with TMT

  • interest in developing international collaboration skills and networking internationally

  • ability to support own travel costs

  • approval from supervisor/advisor to attend the workshop

  • interest and support to continue with the full TECI program after the workshop

TECI seeks to include the full diversity of each partner, including gender and other demographic factors. Individuals from all genders (e.g., women, men) and minority groups are encouraged to apply.

Workshop Funding

Q: What are the costs of attending the workshop?

A: TECI is funded by Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory, which significantly reduces costs of attending the workshop. In addition, TECI works with TMT partners to identify funding sources that will cover travel expenses. Below is an itemized list of approximate costs, and whether they are covered by TECI or must be covered by workshop participants. Amounts are in U.S. dollars.

REGISTRATION FEE: TECI will cover the full cost of the following items, for all participants.

  • Registration: there is no registration fee to attend

  • Lunches during active workshop days (7 lunches)

TRAVEL: TECI is able to offer travel awards. The application form includes a field for participants to request a travel award for some or all of these items. In some cases we may prioritize applicants who can cover these costs on their own.

  • Air travel: each applicant should estimate the cost of air travel from their home airport to BUR or LAX.

  • Ground transportation: for participants flying into the Los Angeles area, TECI will arrange ground transportation to and from BUR or LAX.  Please contact Nicole Mattacola (nmattaco@ucsc.edu) with further questions.   

  • Lodging: $875 (9 nights from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10, double occupancy)

MEALS AND INCIDENTALS: TECI will not support the following costs. Participants must cover these on their own.

  • Meals and incidentals outside of workshop lunches: $350 (estimate for meals not supplied by TECI from Dec. 1 through Dec. 10)

  • Passport and visa fees: each applicant should determine the fees of any passport or visa they require

Applicants with questions about how they can cover the costs of items above should visit the TECI travel award page to look up an appropriate contact for their TMT partner. TECI works hard to find travel funding for as many participants as possible, so encourages people to apply for travel awards.

Q: How should I secure funding for costs that are not automatically covered by TECI?

A: The workshop application includes a question about workshop funding. Applicants are asked to choose one of the following options:

  • Standard Travel Award: TECI covers lodging and ground transportation within the Pasadena/Los Angeles area

  • Maximum Travel Award: TECI covers lodging, ground transportation within the Pasadena/Los Angeles area, and airfare or ground transportation from outside the Pasadena/Los Angeles area

  • No travel award: participant is able to cover the costs of lodging, ground transportation, and airfare

We are able to offer Standard Travel Awards to some participants, and a very limited number of Maximum Travel Awards. In some cases we may prioritize applicants based on the level of support they require from TECI.

Applicants should consider what funding for participation may be available from their supervisor/advisor, home institution, or TMT partner. The TECI travel award page includes points of contact for individuals applying through different TMT partners.

Application Materials and Supervisor/Advisor Support

Q: Are other materials required in addition to the application form?

A: Your completed application form is the only thing we require at the time of application. For participants who are accepted, we will request additional information to help arrange travel, workshop activities, and other logistics.

Q: Why do I need to provide my supervisor’s/advisor’s contact information on the application form?

A: We want to ensure that everyone we accept to the workshop will be able to attend, with permission from their supervisor or graduate advisor. We will contact your supervisor/advisor to confirm that they approve of your participation. We recommend that you discuss participation in the workshop with your advisor prior to applying. If your advisor has questions about TECI, they may contact TECI staff, or people from the TMT partnership serving as points of contact (see TECI travel award page).

Q: Do I need a letter of recommendation?

A: We are not asking for letters of recommendation or reference. We will contact your supervisor/advisor only to ask if they approve of you attending the workshop. After the TECI Workshop, some participants will propose to continue working on a TMT-related project. At that time, we may communicate further with supervisors and advisors to help balance the project work with the participants’ other responsibilities at their home institutions.

Q: Should I submit my CV or resume?

A: We will not consider any applicant’s CV, resume, or list of publications.

Passport & U.S. Visa

Q: Do I need a passport to participate in the workshop?

A: You need a valid passport (recommended expiration date valid >6 months from workshop) if you are coming from a country other than the United States of America.

Q: Do I need a U.S. Visa to participate in the workshop?

A: Please see the U.S. Department of State website for the most comprehensive and up-to-date information.  If you are a citizen of Canada or Japan, you should not need a Visa to enter the U.S. for this workshop.  Citizens of China and India will need to apply for a U.S. Visa.  Please do this as soon as you have been accepted and have confirmed participation in the workshop as it can take up to 3 months.

Q: If applying for a U.S. Visa, what type should I get?

A: It is recommended to apply for a B1/B2 (Business/Tourism) combined or B1 (Business) visa (usually valid for up to 10 years), which will help facilitate future visits to the U.S. as well. This visa is for conferences, workshops, etc.

Q: The Visa application asks for a point of contact in the U.S., who should I list?

A: Please use the following contact information:  
Diana Bisel
Thirty Meter Telescope
111 Nowelo Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Phone: 808 319-2220
Fax: 808 319-2223
Email: dbisel@tmt.org

Q: The Visa application asks if I am traveling alone or with a group, what should I say?

A: You may put down that you are traveling with a group, and you can list the name of the group as “TMT International Observatory Workshop.”

Q: Will TMT be able to cover the U.S. Visa fee?

A: Unfortunately, we are unable to cover the U.S. Visa fee, but we do not want this to prevent you from participating.  Please contact us if this is a problem.

Workshop Arrival and Departure

Q: How do I get to the workshop in Pasadena?

A: If you are flying, you should plan to arrive and depart from either Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or Hollywood Burbank International Airport (BUR).

LAX is a major airport and an arrival point for direct flights crossing the Pacific Ocean. Several airlines offer non-stop flights between BUR and other cities in the western United States (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix).

Taxi, Lyft, and Uber are available options to get from either airport to Pasadena. Ground transport to Pasadena is 30-60 minutes faster from BUR than from LAX. It is possible – though not as simple – to take a bus and metro rail from LAX airport to Pasadena, getting off the metro at Lake Station on the Metro Gold Line, several blocks from the workshop site. Additional information on ground transportation options in Pasadena/Los Angeles will be posted closer to the workshop dates.

Q: Where will the workshop be held?

A: Participant lodging and most workshop sessions will take place at the Westin Pasadena: 191 N Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA, USA.

Q: When should I plan to arrive and depart so that I am present for the entire workshop?

A: You should plan to arrive no later than the afternoon of Saturday, December 1. However, those traveling from China, Japan, or India will likely need to arrive Friday, November 30. You should plan to depart no earlier than the morning of Monday, December 10, after the workshop has concluded. Days will be full of activities and participants are expected to attend the entire workshop or else forfeit their participation.

The 2018 TMT Science Forum will be held in Pasadena from December 10-12. The Science Forum focuses on science cases for TMT and work by TMT International Science Development Teams (ISDTs). It is organized separately from the TECI Workshop, and separate registration is required. Some participants may find it valuable to attend the Science Forum following the TECI Workshop. See below for further information.

Workshop Organization & Goals

Q: How does the TECI Workshop relate to the TECI Program?

A: The TECI Workshop is one component of the full TECI Program. Workshop participants may propose to continue with the full Program by collaborating remotely and/or in person on an international TMT-related project. The workshop will include opportunities for preliminary work on projects that may be suitable to continue afterwards, opportunities to establish teams for ongoing project work, and guidelines for proposing a project to continue as part of the TECI Program.

Q: Why is ISEE running the workshop?

A: The Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE) has been training graduate students and postdocs, and has partnered with telescopes for more than 15 years. ISEE is located at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), which is the headquarters of UC Observatories and the center for University of California participation in TMT. ISEE is developing the TMT Early-Career Initiative, which will be designed to engage the full international partnership in TMT science and technology development.