Last month the Communications journals announced the second set of Travel Grants for Early Career Researchers. Three grants of €2500 will be awarded to promising early career researchers to support travel to an international conference in 2020. Here, we discuss the aim of the grants and how we select the recipients.
The Communications journals team are committed to supporting early career researchers and giving back to the wider community. To that end, we sought a way to help connect talented researchers and promote their work. While many grants exist for researchers who need support to top up their existing funds, few cover the full costs of international travel. Even fewer provide the funds up front. As we seek to support researchers with no other funding for travel, we felt it was important not to assume that applicants can afford to wait to be reimbursed.
“Having just completed my PhD, the conference provided me an opportunity to network with international researchers which proved important for planning my future goals.” —Madhuchhanda Brahma
The selection process
The grants are intended to support travel to an international conference by a promising early career researcher who would not otherwise be able to attend such a meeting. That means prioritising candidates who can show, one way or another, that they have no funding options available and without our help would simply not be able to travel. That might mean working in an emerging scientific community where funding is scarce, or difficult personal circumstances which create a substantial financial burden.
We also consider the benefits that attending this conference will offer to the applicant. Is the conference likely to connect the candidate with their wider community, and provide them with opportunities to advance their career? Has the applicant recently attended a comparable international meeting, or would this be a rare opportunity for them? Candidates who articulate a clear reason for why their specific conference of choice promises to be important for their career stand out.
As well as supporting individual researchers, we want to give something to the wider community. That means ensuring that the recipients are promising researchers who will contribute to the meetings they attend. Promise doesn’t mean a flashy publication record. We’re looking for people who, regardless of the opportunities that they have had so far, show clear evidence of ambition, engagement, and dedication. Researchers who can clearly articulate their potential and the benefits of their attending the conference—both to them, and to the community—make for strong candidates.
Applications for the 2019 grants, which will support travel in 2020, are open until October 27th. From there the applications will be longlisted by an in-house committee before being shortlisted by the panel. The outcome of this process will be announced in early December, once the recipients have confirmed that they wish to accept the grants, on our website and journal social media accounts as well as by email to all applicants.
We sincerely hope that these grants offer a useful contribution to individuals and to the community. We are always exploring new ways to support early career researchers, and hope to offer more opportunities in the future.
Image credit: WikiMedia Commons