eLife Ambassadors: An invitation to take part in 2022

Early-career researchers who wish to join the third edition of our community learning and advocacy programme can apply by November 7, 2021.
Inside eLife
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At eLife we aim to better science together. We see improvements in equity and diversity, greater adoption of open research behaviours and transparent communication as integral ways to accelerate discovery. Due to the success of our previous Ambassadors programmes, we are opening the call for the third cohort of eLife Community Ambassadors. We are now recruiting early-career researchers (ECRs) who are eager to see greater openness, integrity and inclusion in science.

The Community Ambassadors programme aims to enable early-stage researchers to build lasting support networks and to help them innovate solutions and work together to overcome the many barriers and issues that their research communities face. The next edition will take place between February 2022 and September 2023, with recruitment beginning today.

“The eLife Ambassadors programme is itself a learning project. Following experiences and feedback from previous editions, we made a decision this year to extend the programme considerably. This allows us to include more training and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, as well as dedicate more attention to creating a greater sense of community among the Ambassadors.” – Ailís O’Carroll, eLife’s Community Manager who is in charge of the scheme.

This initiative is open to all active ECRs in life sciences and medical research* from across the globe, who want to create a widespread change in research culture.

If you’re ready to be a part of this shared vision for change and wish to be an Ambassador for your community – please apply here.

  1. apply now

The recruitment process

To be a Community Ambassador you should be passionate about improving the way science is conducted, be ready to explore pressing issues faced by researchers around you, and want to assist in implementing improvements for your community. Candidates are invited to apply for the 120 positions we’re making available in the upcoming edition of the programme. Applications will be open from today until November 7, 2021.

Following that period, we will assess the applications with a view to identify and shortlist applicants that demonstrate the greatest potential for sharing the learnings and initiatives from the programme with their communities. We will also assess the suggested ideas and initiatives that applicants would be passionate to work on, evaluating how eLife can aid in connecting their community and their concerns with others in the scheme.

In the shortlisting process, we aim to include researchers from as many geographical regions and disciplines as possible, and to give a platform to an early-stage investigators community representing a diversity of voices, identities and circumstances. Questions in the application are tailored to obtain this information so as to enable the inclusion and creation of such a community. On November 18, to further assess the most committed candidates, shortlisted researchers will be invited to learn more about the programme and to submit more information about the issues they’re looking to focus on.

Successful applicants will be contacted about their places in the programme on or soon after January 4, 2022. The eLife Community Ambassadors programme will officially start in the week commencing January 31, 2022.

What is expected of an Ambassador?

In this edition of the programme, you will begin your journey as an eLife Community Ambassador with six months dedicated to learning and community-building among Ambassadors. With training on research reproducibility, influencing skills, open science, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), science communication, and lots more, Ambassadors will have an unprecedented opportunity for professional and personal development. We hope this will enable them to make the most impact possible when they join and form initiatives aiming to change research culture in the second stage of the programme. In this activism phase, you will be encouraged to engage with your colleagues locally – organise workshops, discuss, support and develop initiatives and events to raise awareness, and encourage adoption of responsible research practices. Supported by eLife’s Early-Career Advisory Group (ECAG), you will have an opportunity to learn about initiatives that are already in place as well as share your perspective and ideas with a like-minded global community. Together, we will be looking for ways to accelerate the transition to more open, trustworthy and inclusive science.

Throughout the programme we will promote peer-to-peer learning and you will have ample opportunities to learn from, as well as educate fellow Ambassadors and the ECAG on your expertise and/or learnings.

As part of the programme, you will be expected to support the ECAG’s activities – to get involved with webinars, disseminate materials and help develop and implement strategies to improve science communication. You will have an opportunity to learn about the peer-review process and run preprint journal clubs, deliver workshops on aspects of reproducibility relevant to your discipline, advocate for more inclusive career and funding opportunities in science, and more.

“We look forward to hearing about your experiences working as a researcher where you are, and I hope you will learn different perspectives too as you work alongside the other Ambassadors.” – Aalok Varma, member of the ECAG and a former eLife Community Ambassador.

The commitment to the programme is likely to average as three hours per week; however, expect this to fluctuate, with some periods being more intense. Each Ambassador will have the flexibility in deciding on the exact amount of time they are willing and able to devote to their activities.

You can read about examples of what the Ambassadors accomplished previously here, and you can find out even more about their activities by browsing their blog at ecrLife.org.

What are the benefits of being an Ambassador?

By joining the eLife Community Ambassadors, you will be welcomed to a diverse, global community working together to achieve common goals.

We will equip you to communicate effectively about our shared aims and offer support for your own initiatives – such as journal clubs, seminars, peer support groups and other activities. If you are already involved in promoting good practices in science, you will be able to draw on our support to scale your efforts.

You will be able to interact with the ECAG and eLife editors throughout the programme, learn about new concepts and develop new skills, and network with other Ambassadors worldwide.

“Being an eLife Ambassador gave me the opportunity to engage with like-minded colleagues to promote good practices in science. It was great to work together with other motivated ECRs to help build a better scientific system.” – Sofia J. Araújo, a former eLife Community Ambassador.

Want to know more before applying?

This programme will need a commitment of 18 months of participation**. To aid you in deciding if this opportunity is appropriate for you, we will dedicate the next #ECRWednesday webinar to the programme, and we will facilitate another Q&A session to enable potential Ambassadors to ask questions and discuss with Ambassador alumni from previous programmes. If you’re interested to join, please follow the links below to register:

Q&A session [6am UTC/4pm UTC, October 12]

  1. Register here

#ECRWednesday webinar [6am UTC/4pm UTC, October 27]

  1. register here

Diverse identities of our Ambassadors are essential for the programme’s success

Diversity enables us all to exchange different experiences, views and ideas about research culture that make it possible to develop innovative solutions together. We listen to feedback from our Ambassadors to make sure we adjust and offer everyone in the community equitable opportunities to learn and contribute. We welcome applications from researchers of all genders and especially encourage applications from ECRs from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania, as well as researchers with disabilities, and those representing traditionally marginalised communities. We endeavour to offer a variety of participation formats and timings for programme events, to ensure fair chances to participate for all.

The applications are open until November 7, 2021.

  1. apply now

Please email ambassadors [at] elifesciences [dot] org if you have any questions, or tweet them to @eLifeCommunity.

Individuals currently engaged in policy or science communication roles and similar that are not directly involved in active research are not eligible to join as eLife Community Ambassadors. However, if you fall into this category and feel that your resources and expertise could benefit our volunteers, please email community [at] elifesciences [dot] org. We will be happy to discuss potential opportunities for connecting you with the programme.

*You are conducting research in life science, medical research or a related field, as a graduate student, medical student, postdoctoral fellow, or junior investigator. You have no more than five years’ active experience in an independent position. “Active experience” is intended to exclude time away for parental leave, health leave, or other reasons unrelated to research. An independent position is defined here as having secured funding to support a research group, for example in a Group Leader or Assistant Professor position.

**We are happy to consider candidates who are on planned parental or health leave, or can reasonably expect to be unavailable from their regular work due to fieldwork or similar circumstances for part of the programme, so long as the absence is not expected to last longer than six consecutive months between January 31, 2022, and September 30, 2023.


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We welcome comments, questions and feedback. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at community [at] elifesciences [dot] org.


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