Sample Budgets: Astro Hack Week

Astro Hack Week has traditionally only considered direct costs in the budget: rooms, catering, travel funding etc. Salaries of organizers and project staff were usually covered through other means (and most of the organizers are early-career researchers doing the organization on their own time). Grant funding for Astro Hack Week has always been specifically for direct expenses and not for salary of those involved.

We should note, however, that the previous two venues required a formal application, and Astro Hack Week received administrative support from these venues once the application was accepted. Because this administrative support was not part of the official budget, we don't have a good sense of how to report it here.

In addition to the budgets below, Astro Hack Week has always fundraised about $15,000 worth of money for participant-related expenses. These funds allowed us to fund participants with little or no travel funding as well as dependent-care grants. In part, these sponsorships were provided by companies in the tech sector, but also by scientific organizations like ASTRON and the eScience Institute, as well as by foundations like the Moore Foundation.

If there is a way to include administrative support in funding proposals, or apply to venues that have professional administrative support, we encourage you to do so! There are many difficult questions to be solved in the design and implementation of a hack week. Having someone whose dedicated task are practical questions like reserving rooms, communicating with catering, making hotel bookings and dealing with registrations, to name a few, is a huge relief.

Astro Hack Week 2018: Lorentz Centre Leiden

In 2018, Astro Hack Week took place at the Lorentz Centre in Leiden, a dedicated conference space that organizes of the order of 80 workshops per year. Workshops are explicitly requested to be interactive and not be dominated by research talks, mapping onto Astro Hack Week's goals very well. It has dedicated rooms and staff to assist with the conference organization, especially practical concerns like hotel bookings, catering and the conference dinner. The staff is professional and enthusiastic, and truly invaluable to making a workshop there successful.

Because this venue sponsored rooms, coffee and biscuits, and the conference dinner, they do not appear in the budget.

Budget Item +Funding/-Cost
Lorentz Center Funding + €6875
External grant funding +€10000
Hotel Refund for eight participants (€85/night) - €3400
Travel refunds within Europe (€300 max; 1 person) and outside Europe (€800 max; 7 persons) - €5900
Lunch for 55 participants, (€11/per person per day) -€ 3025

Astro Hack Week 2019: Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge

In 2018, the Kavli Institute for Cosmology in Cambridge (UK)---KICC for short---released a call for proposals for workshops to be held in 2019. Astro Hack Week applied for space and funding and was granted a five-day slot to organize the workshop within the institute.

As with the Lorentz Centre, there was no charge for rooms, and a department administrator was paid part-time out of institute funds to help with organization. As with the Lorentz Centre, these items do not appear on the budget. Below is the budget as requested from KICC

Expenditure Cost
Tea, Coffee, Biscuits in KICC Foyer for 5 days £500 for 50 participants
Lunch at Churchill for 5 days £2750 for 50 participants
Conference Dinner for 1 night £1850 for 50 participants
Hotel Refund for 5 days £4500 for 12 participants
Travel Refund for European Travel £2400 for 8 participants
Travel Refund for Non-European Travel £4900 for 6 participants
Miscellaneous (badges, cleaning, IT support, etc) £600
Contingency £1000
Registration Fees -£3500
Total £15000