The opportunity to present at a conference can be a beneficial learning and networking experience for students’ postgraduate work and for establishing a future career.
The University of Cape Town provides funds, which can be applied for to support publication and presentation of a peer reviewed conference paper at a good quality local or international conference. The closing date this semester is 9 March 2016.
These funds are usually sufficient to support a local conference in SA or a neighboring country (e.g. Namibia); but they are usually not sufficient to fully cover an international conference, so alternative or additional funds would need to be obtained to make it feasible to attend an international conference.
While there are some good reasons for attending a conference, it is not essential; indeed, in the case of quality peer-reviewed publications, which would really impress the examiner of your dissertation or thesis, it is generally more desirable to achieve a publication in an accredited academic journal, e.g. one of the IEEE transactions series. These are generally more difficult to get into than is the case for a conference, and UCT also provides support for publication fees in that regard.