Apply now for the eLife Innovation Sprint 2019

The second edition of the Innovation Sprint will take place September 4-5 in Cambridge, UK.
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By Emmy Tsang (adapted from Naomi Penfold’s Q&A for the Innovation Sprint 2018)

Application is now open for this year’s eLife Innovation Sprint. We invite developers, designers, researchers and all open-science enthusiasts to Cambridge, UK in September to drive forward open research. Please visit to find out more.

  1. Apply now

What is the #eLifeSprint?

Two days, 60 people, different skill sets, working together to prototype new ideas to bring cutting-edge technology to open research. It takes place September 4–5 in Cambridge, UK.

What is it NOT?

It’s not an overnighter, at the weekend and it doesn’t involve working to win a prize.

What does “bring cutting-edge technology to open research” mean?

It’s broad – we are not limited to ways to improve journals (but we have some ideas there). We’re also looking for disruptive technologies that help accelerate discovery and recognise responsible behaviours in science: preprints, open data / code / formats, recognising researchers for all they do, bringing the joy back into reading about new findings (and sharing them), making sure science takes advantage of the web / AI / new technologies (and doing so openly).

Sounds great, but I still don’t understand what I would actually do at the Sprint.

You will work in groups, participate in loads of discussions and contribute ideas towards a project /prototype driving open research. Depending on your interest, you may code / design / sketch project roadmaps / document software / conduct research. Check out the project summaries and Alex’s blog post from Sprint 2018 for more concrete ideas.

eLife Innovation Sprint 2018

Should I come?

If you:

  • want to help research become more open, transparent, collaborative, efficient and inclusive,
  • are looking for a new challenge to dig into,
  • would like to create testable prototypes that can be developed into v1 products, and/or
  • enjoy meeting lots of interesting people from different backgrounds who work on similar problems

then YES!

Why am I asked to apply?

As much as we would love to accept all applications, we want to create a community of people that can bond together and have a chance to talk to each other.

What will I need to do during the application?

We would like you to tell us about your interests, motivations, and skills you’d like to contribute to the Sprint. We’ll be assessing and selecting based on those answers to give us a great mix of people to work together at the event. When it gets tough at the top, we’ll proactively select for under-represented groups in technology such as women and those from BAME backgrounds.

It’s been a truly inspiring experience, just seeing what can be achieved by a group of people who actually come together, share their expertise and are willing to teach people a bit about what they know. It’s just so inspiring to see how far that can go.

– Delwen Franzen, Researcher in Neurobiology and Sprint 2018 participant

Will projects be open source?

Everything we do at eLife is made openly available using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) and MIT licenses. We ask everyone at the Sprint to agree to work openly and share outputs with permissive licenses. We ❤ open source and open access.

For the developers/designers concerned about ownership of their work at the Sprint – we’ve got you covered. We have a CCLA.

I was at the Sprint last year– can I apply again?

Of course! Your application will be assessed in the same manner as any other.

I have a great idea that I would like to see turned into reality.

Perfect – share it with us by applying to be a project lead at the Sprint!

Can I work on an existing project?

We are specifically looking for new ideas and testable prototypes . If your existing project is currently in beta, or you’re looking to develop a new feature on something existing, convince us in your application that your project would benefit from being worked on at the Sprint. If your project is already mainstream and you want to chip away at some issues, this event probably isn’t the right place.

Will eLife pay for my travel costs?

At this point, we estimate we can support ~15–20 people travelling from outside the UK for hotel and flights. We’re asking participants coming from supportive organisations to fund themselves, so we can focus our support on those with the greatest needs. Let us know if this is you via the application form.

Will the event be accessible to me?

We seek to host an accessible and inclusive event – please let us know if you have any specific requirements via the application form.

Do you have a Code of Conduct?

Yes, and we’re serious about it

  1. Apply now


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

Do you have an idea or innovation to share? Send a short outline for a Labs blogpost to innovation [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

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