Frequently Asked Questions

In preparation of an sDiv working group meeting some questions arise more often than others. The following answers to the most common questions were compiled to assist you in preparing for your meeting. In case you don’t find your question here, please don’t hesitate to contact the sDiv secretariat.

Tasks of sDiv

  • Communication with PIs
  • Managing facilities in Leipzig
  • Hotel booking for indicated periods through registration form
  • Sending out invitations and important information on how to get to the meeting in Leipzig
  • accounting process and reimbursement of transportation costs/meal allowance as well as evaluation management

Tasks of Participants

  • fill in obligatory online registration (link sent by working group PIs)
  • send signed invitation back to sDiv
  • book travel and send itinerary to sDiv before the meeting
  • fill out evaluation survey after the meeting
  • send original tickets/invoices from transportation and reimbursement form via regular mail to sDiv

Registration Process

I agreed to participate in an sDiv working group. When will sDiv contact me regarding the meeting?

About 3.5 months before the meeting takes place, the PI will receive a link to our registration form which he will forward to you. Based on the information you give us within your registration, we will send you the official invitation besides other important information about 2 months prior to the meeting. Two weeks before the meeting, we will send you the hotel and other on-site information.

 

With receiving the official iDiv invitation which other information do I need to provide?

First, please RSVP to the meeting by sending the signed last page of the invitation via email.
Second, please send us your itinerary. If you plan multi-destination travel or extended stays inform us before booking. Inform us about any changes in your schedule.

 

Why do I need to sign and return the invitation?

By signing the invitation you officially confirm your participation which is the legal basis for us to book the hotel, catering etc. If you cannot be present, please inform us ASAP.

 

If I need a visa, what do I have to do?

Please contact us immediately because visa application processes can take some time. We will provide a specific personal invitation as well as a hotel room confirmation if needed. Visa costs can be reimbursed by sDiv.

 

I will only attend remotely, do I have to register?

No, you do not need to register. Just inform us about your remote participation so we can provide the technical equipment.

 

I work at iDiv, do I have to register?

Yes, you do have to register as well. We need to know who is attending the meeting to organize catering and to calculate costs. Please check the appropriate box in the registration form for a shortened version if you attended an sDiv working group meeting before.

 

I registered for a previous meeting at sDiv, do I need to register again?

Yes, registration is obligatory for every meeting. Not only are many questions specific to a meeting, also affiliations can change.

 

What happens if I do not register?

We will then not expect you to participate in the meeting. There will be no hotel or catering booked for you and we cannot guarantee to do so on short notice.

Travel to Leipzig

Do I need to arrange for accommodation in Leipzig?

No, sDiv will make a group reservation in an appropriate hotel near iDiv according to the indicated arrival and departure dates in your registration i.e. by sending us your itinerary.

sDiv will pay for a single occupancy room including breakfast from the day before the meeting (estimated day of arrival) until the day after the meeting ends (estimated day of departure). All extras have to be paid by the participant (e.g. minibar). If you wish to stay more days, we are happy to extend the reservation for you (which is at your own expenses).

 

Do I need to book my flight / train to Leipzig by myself?

Yes, you have to book your travel arrangements by yourself according to our reimbursement guidelines. Of course, if you have any questions or difficulties we are very keen to help you. If you are unable to pre-finance your flight, we will try to find a solution.

 

When shall I book my travel and do I have to inform sDiv before?

We kindly ask you to book your flight ASAP after receiving the invitation in order to avoid high travel costs. To prevent potential difficulties with reimbursement we ask you to get approval from sDiv before you book. If  you travel directly from your place of residence to Leipzig and back (one day before the meeting and back on either the last day of the meeting or the day after) in economy class, you don’t need to check with us.

 

I want to combine other visits with the sDiv meeting. How does that affect the reimbursement of my travel costs?

Please always consult with the sDiv administration before finalizing your booking if you do not have a direct return travel to Leipzig. Information about this multi-destination travel are necessary to provide a comparison offer of a direct flight to Leipzig (day before and day after the meeting). Note that we might not be able to reimburse any of your travel costs if sDiv has no information about the multi-destination travel at least 3 weeks in advance.

 

Why isn’t it possible to cover half of my multi-destination flight or a certain requested amount?

According to the Federal Saxon Travel Expenses Law, every travel itinerary which has more than 3 days on top of the meeting at iDiv is considered to be mainly of a private purpose. In this case sDiv can only reimburse the extra costs for your travel to/from Leipzig from/to the additional destination.

 

Can I get paid for my travel expenses in advance?

Generally not, only in defined hardship cases. Please see our Reimbursement Guidelines.

 

I have to cancel my stay – who bears the cancellation fees and who needs to be informed?

Please contact the sDiv administration and your PI immediately. Please be aware that arising cancellation fees have to be paid by the participant. In order to avoid this we recommend to take out a travel cancellation expenses insurance.

 

If I miss my flight / train, what consequences will I face regarding reimbursement?

Please always contact the operating airline or train company regarding rebooking fees which cannot be reimbursed by iDiv.

Stay in Leipzig

How do I get to the sDiv group hotel?

You will receive an info mail with all important on-site information including maps and addresses two weeks before the meeting.

 

How do I organize transport in Leipzig?

Leipzig has a very well developed and convenient public transport system of trains (S-Bahn), trams and busses. Those are frequently running during day and also night time.

From the airport: There are regional trains (“Regionalbahn”) taking you into the city centre running every 30 min and taking about 15 min. Please buy a 3-zone-ticket at the ticket machine at the platform. Select destination “Leipzig HBF”. The ticket is valid also for inner-city transport up to 2 hours after validation. Please validate it at the ticket validator next to the ticket machine.

Within the city: Trams and busses are running approx. every 10 min. The hotel will provide free tickets for your whole stay upon arrival.

Maps including information on tram connections will be sent to you prior to the meeting.

 

Will public transport tickets be reimbursed?

Yes. Please keep all the tickets for reimbursement.

 

How do I learn about the meeting’s timetable?

Prior to the meeting you will receive the agenda via e-mail. Please contact your PI(s) or postdoc for content-related information and the sDiv staff for administrational questions.

 

Will breakfast be served at the hotel?

Yes, breakfast will be served at the hotel and is already included in the hotel rate.

 

Is there any catering provided during the meeting?

Yes, sDiv will provide refreshments and snacks throughout the meeting hours.

 

Will lunch be provided?

Yes, lunch is provided by sDiv, i.e. the in-house bistro. You can choose from a varied lunch menu.

 

Where can I have dinner?

Dinner will not be provided by sDiv. However, we will make reservations in restaurants in cooperation with the PI(s) for every evening. There will always be vegetarian options as well as lower-priced dishes. At the joint dinner your group can deepen conversations, try some local (and international) cuisine and get to know the city of Leipzig. Every participant has to pay the dinner directly by oneself. For external guests with meal allowance an average of 9,80 € (dinner part of daily meal allowance) will be reimbursed (no receipts needed). Please also see our Reimbursement Guidelines.

 

Will there be time for leisure activities?

Even though the agenda is usually pretty packed, we can always arrange fun things do to in Leipzig. If desired, we will book (and pay) a guided walking tour through the city centre. If you are opting for more activities, there are plenty of things to do around iDiv - how about a soccer game, climbing Leipzig’s highest monument or discover the botanical garden! Please note that all extra activities will be at your own expense.

Reimbursement Process

Do I need to keep the validated tickets?

Yes. Please keep every single ticket and invoice from public transportation, flight or train to receive reimbursement. We will ask you to send them via regular mail to us together with the completed travel expenses form.

 

Will taxi rides be reimbursed?

Generally not, since we encourage all our guests to use public transport whilst travelling. Especially in Germany, public transport services are very frequent and on-schedule. However, you might experience circumstances where it is inevitable to take a taxi (e.g. strike, health restrictions, heavy baggage, travelling at night time). Please always add an explanation when handing in the bill. An individual decision will be made.

 

Do I have to pay on my own for the additional nights I am staying at the hotel?

Yes. If you exceed the time frame from the night before the meeting until the night after the meeting, you will have to cover these costs by yourself. If your travel and the extra hotel costs are cheaper than travel costs at the expected travel date (up to three extra nights; proven by a comparison offer), we can cover the additional hotel nights.

 

Why do I have to send the reimbursement form and receipts via regular mail?

For legal reasons we need your original signature as well as original receipts. Also we are not allowed to ask you for your account information via email.

 

How do I claim the daily meal allowance? (Only applies to external guests not working at iDiv or living in Leipzig)

The daily meal allowance will cover sDiv’s cost for breakfast and lunch. The amount remaining for dinner expenses will be calculated by sDiv and automatically added to your reimbursement. No receipts for food expenses required.

 

Why are your reimbursement rules so strict regarding multi-destination travel?

For the reimbursement of our guests we are obliged to apply the Federal Saxon Travel Expenses Law required by Leipzig University as well as by our funder, the DFG. Those same rules apply to all guests of the University, not only to sDiv guests. We ask for your understanding that by operating on public funds, we are subject to strict examinations and therefore cannot cover any costs that are not related to the sDiv meeting (in some cases even if altogether cheaper than the direct travel).

Questions of PIs

Whom do I need to inform in case of participant replacement, cancellation or additional participants?

In either case please always contact Marten Winter and the responsible sDiv secretary immediately!

 

What kind of technical support does sDiv provide?

Besides video conference system and data sharing/storage facilities, our IT can provide various options of technical support. Please let us know what you need.

 

How many meeting rooms are available for the meeting?

sDiv will reserve a meeting room for up to 25 people as well as two breakout rooms each for up to eight people. If you need more space please let us know in advance.

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