Bio-IT Outreach & Travel Fellowship

We launched the Bio-IT Outreach & Travel Fellowship Programme in January 2020, to express our appreciation and gratitude to our volunteer contributors to the Bio-IT project and further support their involvement in such activities within and outside EMBL.

With this project, we aim to provide small grants to Bio-IT volunteers towards attending or organising meetings, workshops and other events that may not be directly related to their topics of research but will help them build their skill-sets and grow professionally.


Cover photo by @portuguesegravityl on Unsplash

Any EMBL member who has actively led, facilitated, contributed to or participated in an EMBL Bio-IT event or project can request a fellowship of up to 500 Euros to attend or organise an event by submitting an application.

Read on to find out more about the fellowship programme, who is eligible, and what you need to do to apply.

  1. Why offer this fellowship?
  2. What does this fellowship cover?
  3. Who is eligible?
  4. What is expected of our awardees?
  5. How to apply?
  6. When is the deadline?
  7. Who to contact?

Why offer this fellowship?

Most projects in the Bio-IT community are led and facilitated by members who volunteer as workshop instructors, organisers of interest groups, maintainers of software infrastructures, organisers of events, and contributors of different community projects. We are always grateful for the generosity and kindness that our members continue to show by contributing to improve the quality of other’s work and culture of our workplace.

To express our appreciation and further encourage your participation in Bio-IT, we have allocated 2000 Euros from our annual budget to run this fellowship program.

Individuals or groups of volunteers can request a part of this allocated budget up to 500 Euros to attend or organise conferences or outreach events. Fellowships will be available until the full 2000 Euro fund has been used, with the pot renewing each calendar year.

What does this fellowship cover?

Technical conferences, training workshops and networking events (referred to as “event” or “events” in the rest of this document) are important for early-stage researchers and support staff to exchange ideas with others, highlight and promote their work, expand their network and stay up to date in their field(s) of interest. Identifying travel support to attend such events can often be challenging when the impact of one’s participation can not be justified directly on their research, even though that may have a long-term impact on their careers.

With this aspect in mind, volunteers can request up to 500 Euros within a year at once or in small chunks.

This fellowship can be used for paying part or full expense (based on the overall cost) of registration fee, travel (airfare, train, metro, bus and taxi), child-care, accommodation, daily expense, food or coffee breaks when hosting an event, printing your poster, promotional materials (I.e. flyers, stickers) or other expenses related to your project or events. This expense is also valid for invited speakers or instructors for an event you might organise.

We expect that these small fellowships will supplement the costs, not cover all expenses related to the event you intend to attend. If you anticipate that you would require more than 500 Euros, and can not gather support from your group budget, please include that information in your application.

Who is eligible?

Any EMBL member who has actively led, facilitated, contributed to or participated in a Bio-IT event or project can apply for this fellowship.

If you are attending an event, please assess the aspects of the event that will help you enhance your skills and professional portfolio and can be transferred to other members or projects in the Bio-IT community.

If you are organising an event, please identify the skills that are currently missing or are in-demand in our community and how your activities will help enhance them.

What is expected of our awardees?

We want to promote the culture of sharing, therefore as an awardee, you will be asked to share your experience and skills facilitated by this fellowship (or otherwise) with the community members within 3 months of the event. You can discuss your plans with the Bio-IT coordinators if a different timeline will be more appropriate for you.

A few ideas are to write a blog post to share on the Bio-IT blog, give a lightning talk on Bio-IT at external conferences, give a short talk at the Bio-IT beer session, run a short training event to teach a skill that you might learn at your chosen event, or share a training material on the Bio-IT portal. We will also ask you to mention this fellowship if you will be presenting a talk or poster. An example slide provided by the Bio-It coordinators can be included at the end of your talk.

We expect that you will involve diverse participants in your activities, specifically those who are historically underrepresented in the field or type of events, based on their demography, ethnic origins, career stage, and disabilities.

The reimbursement of your fellowship will be handled as described in this document for Duty Travel for the Members of Personnel. You will be required to submit your reimbursement form with your receipts to the Bio-IT coordinators within 3 months of your event. We will also ask you to add a statement in your claim that none of your claimed expenses have been or will be reimbursed from another source.

How to apply?

Fill this application form.

Please complete the application form by including the following details:

  1. An event you would like to attend or organise: Event of interest can include – but are not limited to – short courses, seminars, conferences, training workshops, collaboration festivals, documentation sprints, transferable skill events, and hackathons.

  2. Type of expense: Please read “What does this fellowship cover?” section for detail and list all the requested items in your application.

  3. Skills or opportunities you will gain or teach: Based on the format and topics of the events that you intend to attend or organise, you can give a short description of the skills you will gain from attending or organising an event. For example, teaching at a programming or bioinformatics workshop, attending an image analysis course, building an app at a hackathon, running a collaboration event, developing useful documents, or taking a professional skill workshop.

  4. Promoting the culture of sharing: Please read “What is expected of our awardees?” section for details and list out the ways you expect to give back to the community. If you can think of other ways you can contribute that is not listed here, please feel free to discuss those with the Bio-IT coordinators.

When is the deadline?

The application can be submitted on a rolling basis, and there is no defined deadline.
The decision regarding your application will be made within 2-3 weeks based on the availability of the Bio-IT coordinators, who will be reviewing your applications. If you require confirmation at short notice, e.g. if an event you wish to attend is taking place in less than 2-3 weeks’ time, please let us know by email (bio-it@embl.de) when you submit your application.

Who to contact?

If you are unsure of your eligibility or want to gather more information regarding this fellowship, please feel free to contact the Bio-IT coordinators by emailing bio-it@embl.de.