Call for applications for OBF Event Fellowship, Round 2 of 2020

We are glad to announce that the call for applications for the OBF Event Fellowship is now open. The deadline for this round is 1 October 2020. Applications should be submitted via this Google Form.

Renaming from “OBF Travel Fellowship” to “OBF Event Fellowship”

One of the goals of the OBF fellowship is to increase the participation of members from traditionally underrepresented groups at events or communities that promote Open Source software development and/or open science practices in the biological sciences. Since so many scientific meetings have been or are now run online, and we wish to explicitly support remote participation for this year, we are renaming ‘OBF Travel Fellowship’ to ‘OBF Event Fellowship’.

The OBF Event fellowship now supports participation in virtual events. Image reference: The Turing Way Community, & Scriberia.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled research communities to move all in-person meetings to online. Although this situation has limited our ability to freely travel and meet each other in person, we have seen more diverse participants than ever attend and benefit from scientific conferences and training events. Financial burden, visa issues, and general lack of equitable support prevent many of our community members from participating in conferences that often take place far from their home countries. Therefore, virtual events have proven to be more accessible by allowing researchers to attend conferences for a small fee or for free, listen and learn from the experts from their fields, share their work with others and represent their communities. Taking this aspect into account, OBF will continue to offer OBF Event Fellowships for our community members to attend both in-person events and virtual events after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Inviting applications to attend virtual events

For the OBF Event Fellowship Round 2 of 2020, we are inviting applications from candidates who are seeking financial support to attend virtual events. At the time of launching this call, we don’t foresee any scientific event taking place in person in 2020 or the first half of 2021. We encourage our community members to follow the guidelines provided by WHO and as recommended by their local authorities, and plan their participation in online scientific events accordingly.

The selected awardees can use the OBF Event Fellowship to cover conference registration fees and the costs of small hardware (such as a microphone, speaker, and webcam), childcare for the duration of the event, and other supporting materials.

Reimbursement for expenses incurred by remote participation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, we are aware that due to the load-shedding issues in many developing countries, our applicants might need to pay for the fuel for a generator to keep their electricity running for the duration of the event. Similarly, the cost of high-speed internet may vary across countries and may also be requested by applicants from some developing countries.

More details regarding the fellowship application, review, and reimbursement can be found on GitHub (current draft in pull request 79 on OBF’s GitHub repository).

Since we are in the process of finalizing the guidelines for this fellowship, we invite feedback and suggestions on the draft on GitHub from our community members to help us make the OBF Event Fellowship truly beneficial. For additional information, please contact OBF board members by emailing