Early-career researcher travel grants: A year in review

This year, 18 eLife authors were awarded a travel grant of up to $1,000 to support their attendance and presentation at a meeting of their choice.
Inside eLife

The eLife travel grants programme, announced earlier this year, provided grants of up to $1,000 to allow the winners to travel to a relevant meeting of their choice and present their work, helping them to get exposure and gain recognition among leading scientists in their fields. The winners were selected by eLife Senior Editors, based on the quality of their submissions and the certainty that they would be presenting at a conference.

More than 180 eLife early-career authors applied throughout the year and we were pleased to award 18 grants in total. Of those that received the grants and provided a report following the meeting, feedback was that attending and presenting at these meetings allowed them to reach new audiences with their work and a number of additional benefits.

“The Dynamics Days conference gave me a unique opportunity to present my research to a predominantly physics-oriented community, demonstrating how mathematical frameworks with which they are familiar can be used in novel biological applications” said Douglas Brumley who travelled to Szeged, Hungary for Dynamics Days Europe International Conference.

Attendees of XXXVII Dynamics Days Europe International Conference. Image courtesy of https://dynamicsdays2017.akcongress.com/.

It also gave speakers an opportunity to get advice, including new perspectives and areas for future study, as Filip Wymeersch explains, “the presentation of my data led to some very valuable feedback, some new reference papers to check and several new potential hypotheses to test.” Filip travelled from the University of Edinburgh to present at the International Congress of Developmental Biologists in Singapore this June.

Meeting new people who can support in sometimes unexpected areas was a plus for Rachel Lowe when she attended the Impact of Environmental Changes on Infectious Diseases meeting in Trieste, Italy. She said, “as well as strengthening existing collaborations, I met an experienced professor to help supervise future PhD students, a potential PhD candidate and a public health practitioner operating in high disease burden setting, with an interest in applying the model frameworks I have developed to support their dengue control programme.”

Rachel Lowe presenting her work on dengue prediction in Ecuador at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. Image courtesy of Rachel Lowe.

Future collaborations were also an outcome from these meetings for Douglas Brumley who reported that, “several possible collaborations have emerged from this meeting, which will both capitalise on existing mutual work, and develop new research areas.”

Attending and presenting at new scientific meetings also has the potential to reinvigorate people’s work, as Filip Wymeersch explained, “I have established three new potential scientific collaborations, an invitation to talk at another institute and I cannot wait to head back to the lab and see where these joint efforts can bring us.”

If you're an eLife author looking to share your work at a meeting next year, we'll be looking to announce next year's round of funding for the early-career travel grants programme in early 2018.

In the meantime if you’re interested in finding out more about opportunities, events and issues that are important for early-career researchers please sign up to the eLife Early-Career Community newsletter or follow @eLifeCommunity on Twitter.