Announcing OBF (travel) fellowship awardees for 2020 round 1

on behalf of the OBF Board members

We are delighted to announce that four awardees have been selected to receive the OBF travel fellowship for 2020 round 1, to support their participation in virtual events.

The OBF travel fellowship is now offered 2 times a year to multiple awardees towards supporting their participation in scientific workshops, conference and training events. The selection of individuals is made based on their applications, which state how their participation in the chosen event helps them promote open science practices in bioinformatics and/or enhance representation of minority groups in their communities. 

In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, as most conferences have moved online, this fellowship will support our awardees in attending virtual conferences (see our last blog) by helping them pay any costs related to their participation such as registration fees, headset, internet and other small hardware needs. With this step, we also want to urge our community members to consider ways that minimise the impact of global health emergencies being caused by this pandemic. 

A person attending an online call/course and taking down notes. There is a cup coffee, reading glasses, diary and books on next to their laptop.
Image on Unsplash by @thoughtcatalog:

Read more about our awardees below:

Gigi Kenneth is a biochemistry undergrad and a bioinformatics enthusiast who has been learning ways to combine biochemistry and deep learning through open-source tools and tutorials. As a young researcher from Nigeria, Gigi has had very little opportunity to learn about bioinformatics events during her university courses. Therefore, she would like to attend the Bioinformatics Community Conference (BCC) 2020 from 19 to 21 July 2020. This event combines the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference and Galaxy Community Conference, 2020. This opportunity will expose Gigi to the current practices in bioinformatics that she can bring back to her community. 

Armando Blondel Djiyou Djeuda is from Cameroon and will be hosting a virtual classroom for the H3ABioNet‘s Introduction to Bioinformatics course (IBT) at the Biotechnology Center, University of Yaounde I. This year, Armando decided to host this event because no other host was selected in Central Africa last year, and as a result, he was unable to attend this course. Over a period of 3 months, IBT provides an introduction to the field of bioinformatics using a distance-based learning model, where classrooms are set up at different sites and trainers are supported via the conferencing system in biweekly sessions. Armando has found that compared to other African countries, skills in Bioinformatics and genomics are lacking in Cameroon and Central Africa in general and this opportunity will help expand bioinformatics skills and knowledge in an underrepresented region. 

Edidiong Etuk became interested in bioinformatics after contributing to InterMine, an open-source biological resource, during the Outreachy contribution period. This was a unique opportunity for Edidiong as he could participate in the open source community online while still living in Nigeria. Edidiong will be attending BCC 2020 to enhance his knowledge of bioinformatics. He also hopes that his participation will help him represent his community of Ibibo people, an ethnic group that is widely underrepresented in the Open Science community.

Pengfei Fan’s research project on optical imaging and sensing integrates deep learning approaches to develop a robust ultrathin multimode fibre based endoscope. This research theme relates to both Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and aims to answer many fundamental questions in genomics and biology. Pengfei will be presenting his current research results at CLEO 2020 taking place online from 11 to 15 May 2020. In this talk, Pengfei will highlight the open source software, code and datasets published by their research team and invite interdisciplinary or translational project collaborations from young researchers.

Congratulations once again to our newest awardees!