By Matthew Heusser

If you belong to the Association for Software Testing, you probably know about BBST, our flagship training course. You certainly know about CAST, our annual gathering.

You might or might not know about our grant program. If you know about it, you might not be sure how to take advantage of it. So let me tell you a bit about what we’ve done lately, and how you might want to be involved.

Our Story So Far …

Many organizations like AST have “local chapter” programs. These programs exist for a number of reasons – to give people a local connection to the international group, to provide face-to-face meetings, local networking, and, for some groups, to help keep a certification or training program going.

At AST, we’re not so excited about that last point.

Even the first two points have issues, as creating local chapters usually means providing a local, web hosting space, our name, and our credibility to the chapters. What if they do poorly? What if they don’t represent the interests of AST? How we will police them?

Besides that, there are plenty of local users groups, peer conferences, and gatherings of friends. Do we really need to create more?

We decided the simplest thing was to create a program to fund initiatives that are local in nature — that means local to you. At the fall 2011 board meeting, we decided to fund a pilot program, a grant program, to support good things in the community that are local. (If you want to do something that attracts people from all over the world around a theme, well, I suggest a special interest group, or SIG, like our Education SIG or Leadership SIG. But that’s a different article.)

Originally called “12 in 2012”, our goal was to fund 12 workshops that year. While we did not manage to fund a workshop a month, we did continue the program to 2013. (That’s NOW!)

Hello, 2013 Program!

So far just this year we have funded the third Dutch Workshop on Exploratory Testing, the Mid-Michigan Testers Meetdown  the Sheffeld, England tester gathering, a Hong Kong Gathering of Software Testers led by Rajesh Mathur. We are also funding the Kiwi Workshop on Software Test (KWST), by Oliver Erelwein and Brian Osman, which just happened in July and doesn’t have a write-up yet, and the 2013 OZWST, the Australian Workshop on Software Testing, which will be in August 2013.


It is possible I missed one or two.

We typically fund $100 (for snacks or to pay for web services, like Sheffeld’s fees) to $500 (for facility rental or to cover travel expenses for a speaker or invited guest.)   Groups can ask up to twice a year, and in extreme cases we give out a little more.

Could You Use An Investment?

We want to reward leaders who start things, and we still have a little bit of budget in 2013. If you want to get something going but could use a little help, check out, then check out the grant program, figure out if/how you might quality, and drop us a note. It doesn’t have to be a formal proposal; you might just ask us a question.

Come to think of it, of the two or three people who ‘just’ asked a question to, who humbly asked if they qualified, 100% ended up eventually getting some funding.

Now that’s something to think about!

 Learn More About the Grant Program »

About the Author

The managing consultant of Excelon Development, Matt Heusser is a board member of AST. He has also been called the “Dean Of Software Test Writing.” Follow Matt on Twitter @mheusser or email him at