eLife launches second round of funding to support inclusion in science

The 2020 Ben Barres Spotlight Awards will support minoritized scientists to gain visibility for their work and increase collaboration.
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eLife is pleased to announce the second round of its funding scheme to help minoritized researchers showcase their work.

First launched in 2019, the Ben Barres Spotlight Awards supports scientists in gaining exposure for their work and increasing collaboration, ultimately helping to advance their careers. The scheme was named in honour of transgender neurobiologist and former eLife Reviewing Editor Ben Barres, who advocated for greater equality in the scientific workforce.

eLife received many high-quality applications for the 2019 awards, before announcing the first five winners and six runners-up in August. The grants have helped these researchers move forward in their work by allowing them to buy essential equipment and expand their networks and collaboration opportunities. Following the positive feedback from the first round, eLife has decided to run the scheme for a second year.

Awards are available to authors of research articles published in eLife, who identify with one or more of the minoritized communities addressed by the programme. These include: researchers currently based in countries where resources are limited (with emphasis on those from low and middle-income nations); early-career researchers who have no more than five years of active research experience in an independent position (health-related or parental leave, for example, are not considered active research experience); women, non-binary or transgender researchers (those who identify with a gender that is different from the sex assigned at birth); ethnic minorities; and researchers with disabilities.

Anna Akhmanova, eLife Deputy Editor, says: "Increasing diversity in science is a significant challenge for the whole community, and the Ben Barres Spotlight Awards are just one step towards addressing this. Following the popularity of the awards last year, we’re pleased to be able to offer the funding for a second time to support more scientists in the great work they’re doing.”

Researchers can apply for up to $6,000 each, providing details of what they need the funding for and how it will help make a major improvement to their work. The first application deadline in this year’s programme is September 28. Additional deadlines will be advertised later, subject to the availability of funding.

The grants will be available until the total budget of $50,000 has been distributed. eLife Community Manager Naomi Penfold, who is running the 2020 scheme, says: “The success of the 2019 awards showed us that there is still much to be done to support minoritized scientists in their work. While this funding is too modest in terms of solving the challenge of inclusivity and intersectionality in science or science communication, we’ve seen the significant difference it can make to individual scientists and hope that it will continue to help make a positive change over the coming year.”

More information about the Ben Barres Spotlight Awards, including details of how to apply and the terms and conditions, are available in our latest blog post.

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eLife is a non-profit organisation created by funders and led by researchers. Our mission is to accelerate discovery by operating a platform for research communication that encourages and recognises the most responsible behaviours. We work across three major areas: publishing, technology and research culture. We aim to publish work of the highest standards and importance in all areas of biology and medicine, while exploring creative new ways to improve how research is assessed and published. We also invest in open-source technology innovation to modernise the infrastructure for science publishing and improve online tools for sharing, using and interacting with new results. eLife receives financial support and strategic guidance from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Max Planck Society and Wellcome. Learn more at https://elifesciences.org/about.