Training Fellowships in Oomycete Genomics and Bioinformatics

I am pleased to announce a new program of training fellowships for the oomycete community.  These fellowships are funded by the new NSF Research Collaboration Networks grant to the community.  The new grant is focused on oomycete genomics, so the focus of the training program is on oomycete genomics and bioinformatics. Requests for molecular genetics training also will be considered if funds are available.

The target date for applications is November 3, 2009

We will begin evaluating applications on November 3, 2009. Applications received after that date will be evaluated on a first-come, first serve basis until the funds are fully committed.

What do the fellowships provide?

Two levels of training fellowship will be available, supporting durations of 3 weeks and 6 weeks, respectively. In 2009-2010 these will provide up to $2000 (for 3 weeks) or $3200 (for 6 weeks) for actual expenses for travel, food and accommodation. No funds are provided for research support.

In 2009-2010 four 3 week and four 6-week fellowships will be available. It is expected the training will be completed by Dec 31, 2010, but extensions may be requested.

Non-US researchers will be eligible to participate in training internships, but only if the training is in the US. Also, only living expenses (food and accommodation) can be funded, as NSF rules do not allow payment for travel expenses for non-US researchers. There is no distinction between countries with or without an established funding infrastructure.

What can the fellowships be used for?

There is no requirement to undertake the genomics or bioinformatics training in an oomycete network lab. The training could, for example, be obtained at a sequencing center or bioinformatics or systems biology institute. Also, a number of institutions offer excellent summer training courses in bioinformatics and mathematical biology. Requests for funds to attend research conferences will not be considered.

In general, one trainee will be supported by each award. However, applications will be considered for awards to support more than one trainee over a shorter period of time. However, it must be clearly explained why this arrangement provides a superior benefit than the in depth training of one person. The awards are intended to support practical, "hands-on" training.

Who do we particularly encourage?

The training fellowships will be available to all members of the community.  However, strong encouragement will be given to students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty and to any faculty who have recently entered or plan to enter the field of oomycete genomics, bioinformatics, or molecular biology. Encouragement also is given to applicants from groups and institutions that have not yet received a training fellowship.

We especially encourage applicants who have completed a summer Oomycete Bioinformatics Training Workshop at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, or equivalent, both as a means for
encouraging trainees to graduate from the training workshop to a full length training internship, as well as to ensure that fellows get the most out of their training visits. Molecular genetics training will be considered if funds are available.

Training fellowships are also available to encourage the involvement of researchers and institutions under-represented in the U.S. research infrastructure, especially those who are aiming to build undergraduate-oriented research programs in oomycete bioinformatics.

How to apply

The target date for applications is November 3, 2009.

We will begin evaluating applications on November 3, 2009. Applications received after that date will be evaluated on a first-come, first serve basis until the funds are fully committed. 

Applications should be no more than two pages and should:

  1. Describe the training, including its duration, and why you have chosen the trainer lab.

  2. Explain how the training will strengthen your research in oomycete genomics and bioinformatics and how the training will strengthen research activities in the oomycete community in general. In particular, describe any previous bioinformatics experience or training you may have had.

  3. Describe how you will extend the training to other researchers at your home institution.

  4. Describe how the award funds will be spent and how you will supplement them if needed.

  5. If applicable, explain how your application fits one of the encouraged categories described above.

In addition, provide no more than a one-page vita for each of the trainee and trainer, and a letter of commitment from the trainer.

Submit the application by email to:

Brett Tyler
Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
Virginia Polytechnic and State University
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0447

For email submission, applications may be pasted into the text of the email, or attached as PDF or MS Word documents. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated until they have been completed.

How will the applications for fellowships be judged?

If there are more applications than available funds (not usually the case!), the applications will be considered by a subcommittee of the Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network Steering Committee. We intend to make a decision on the awards by November 7, 2009.

Awards will be based on the expected benefit to the individual and to the community in terms of the goals of this program.  An important part of the application will be plans for passing on the benefits of the training to relevant colleagues at the applicant's institution.