OBF travel fellowships update in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

In light of the current outbreak, we urge everyone to avoid travelling if possible, in order to slow the rate at which the virus spreads to vulnerable people. You may have read that the BCC (BOSC+Galaxy) committee is delaying registration whilst considering the best options.

With the next travel fellowship deadline approaching on April 1st, we are issuing slightly different advice regarding the types of applications we’d like to see, compared to previous years.

Let’s go remote

Given how many conferences are (quite sensibly) being cancelled at the moment, we would like to help facilitate remote conferences where possible. We are open to creative ideas for ways to increase diversity and representation for remote conferences. 

As an example, this might mean that instead of spending your fellowship on a hotel and travel, your fellowship budget might cover a headset, webcam, remote conference fee, and access to high-speed internet for the duration of the conference. This is not an exhaustive list of things we are willing to consider covering – you may have better ideas for ways to manage safe virus-free conference participation and we’d love to hear them and/or see your application for a fellowship. Like before, fellowships are open to people anywhere in the world, so long as they’re for open+bio related events. 

Still planning to attend something in person? 

We have the following tips if you do wish to request an in-person conference related fellowship: 

  • Please make sure to budget for travel insurance. This is a requirement for any fellowships to be granted – but be aware that many travel insurance policies may not cover cancellations due to events such as pandemics. 
  • Applications to attend conferences with dates a long time in the future, e.g. late 2020 or early 2021, may be better candidates for travel fellowships than conferences that are scheduled in the near future, though of course we don’t know when the outbreak will be contained and travel will become safe.  


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