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Elsevier Foundation awards $700K in grants to innovative libraries and women in science

Annual awards support early-career researchers, libraries in the developing world and nurse leaders

Elsevier Foundation grantsAt the end of each year, the Elsevier Foundation announces the grant recipients for the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries and New Scholars programs.

This year, we have committed about $700,000 to 10 institutions around the world, along with five ongoing multi-year grants and support for the Nursing Faculty program. In addition to funding the foundation, Elsevier earmarks an additional $200,000 to match Elsevier colleagues' donations to nonprofit organizations and charities of their choice.

David Ruth, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation and Senior VP of Global Communications at Elsevier, said:

We are always on the lookout for game-changing projects that can serve as models with lasting impact on our health and science communities. This year, we've identified some very compelling new opportunities to support big data, research capacity building, transparency and evidence-based medicine in the developing world.

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Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries

The Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program awards grants to libraries for innovation in improving access and use of scientific, technical and medical information. The 2013 library grant recipients address real developing-world issues through the use of STM information resources:

  • Author Capacity Building in Africa, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University.

    Building on access to Research4Life and TEEAL (The Essential Agricultural Library) and ongoing information literacy training, thus project aims to boost research output in sub-Saharan Africa. Critical skills training in citation management, research literature review and scientific paper writing will be delivered to young faculty in agricultural and biological sciences, senior researchers, and librarians at universities in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Malawi.

    Librarians from Cornell's Mann Library will lead the first Ethiopian workshop and train ITOCA (The Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa) to sustainably deliver these in Nigerian and Malawian universities.

    "This new program will focus on developing the skills to enable young faculty in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Malawi to publish the results of their research in international journals," said Joy Paulson, Director of the TEEAL Project and International Projects Librarian for Cornell University. "In the long run, this will ensure that the results of African agricultural research are disseminated more widely."
  • Towards the Collaborative repository for Ethiopian academic and research institutions, Consortium of Ethiopian of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries (CEARL) and African Digital Library Support Network (ADLSN).

    Over the past few years, Ethiopia has enjoyed substantive growth in both the number of academic institutions and research output. However, the accessibility, usability, management and quality of the research output has proven increasingly challenging. The Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries (CEARL) and the African Digital Library Support Network (ADLSN) propose to scale up some of the exiting institutional repositories at the Addis Ababa University and Forum for Social Studies, to build the Ethiopian national digital repository.

    By increasing the discoverability and usage of Ethiopian academic research results nationally, regionally and internationally, the goal is to foster collaboration and a global research culture. The project will train a core of Ethiopian librarians to establish and operate digital repositories while providing deep information literacy skills to researchers. This project provides an African approach conceived by librarians and IT experts and demonstrates great promise both in country and as a model for African library development in general.
  • Library Information Resources to Enhance the University of Ghana, School of Public Health Program, Morehouse School of Medicine, US and Ghana.

    As African research develops, "big data" poses an increasing challenge to institutions. This project will tackle this through the creation of a Library Translational Clearinghouse of Ghana's Primary Health Data, Secondary Datasets and Databases. In effect, it will bring national epidemiological data into the university's Public Health Library and train librarians to provide services covering both published information and data.

    In most public health institutions globally, published information and data are held separately. Bringing the two together with a single-point of service allows for greater access to reliable and authoritative health information and data with the potential to positively impact health outcomes. Researchers, clinicians, and epidemiologists working in the field of communicable diseases will be more able to identify national disease outbreaks and plan rapid interventions.

    This project is the product of a longstanding partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Ghana, building on an established foundation with a commitment to its sustainability after the funding period.

    Dr. Roland Bernard Welmaker Sr, Librarian at Morehouse School of Medicine Library in Atlanta, said, "Through this (grant), we embrace the opportunity to further pursue the school's mission to serve the under-served and help to eliminate health disparities in the global community."
  • Strengthening education, research and practice in emergency care: Information skills integration in the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative, Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan Library.

    This project aims to create an integrated, evidence based information skills curricula to enable the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GEMC) to strengthen education, research and clinical care capacity of emergency care services in Ghana. It builds on the collaborative GEMC project, a partnership between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the Ghana Ministry of Health and the University of Michigan's Department of Emergency Medicine and School of Nursing. 

    Beyond creating a sustainable Ghanaian model for information skills training of emergency faculty, medical and nursing students and information professionals, it will provide a template for assessment, training and retention of skills in emergency and trauma care that needs to be enhanced in low- and middle-income countries.

    Gurpreet K. Rana, MLIS, Global Health Coordinator for Taubman Health Sciences Library, said: "The Foundation's support will enable the library, through our partnership with Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative, to implement an information skills program in Ghana that we hope will serve as an example to improve life-saving emergency and trauma care in other developing countries."
  • Developing a Globally Connected LIBRARY 4 SAFE SEAFARING (L4SS), Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation, Philippines.

    Maritime disasters are a continuing cause of global concern despite safety-conscious systems established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Maritime safety or the preparedness, competence and ongoing education of shipping crews are crucial to the industry and global distribution of goods and services. Since the 1990s, the Philippines has become a major source of seafarers worldwide – one out of every five sailors is Filipino.

    The Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF), a leading maritime institution in the Philippines, will develop the Library for Safe Seafaring as a globally connected evidence based learning and advocacy facility providing sailors with a continuing education to research the latest maritime trends, relevant references, teaching tools and learning materials.

    The end goal for the L4SS project is to institutionalize the use of the upgraded library as a valuable learning facility for quality education and training at the MPCF to produce more safety-conscious and trained, licensed officers and crew-- compliant with international quality standards on maritime safety.

    Executive VP Merle J. San Pedro said: "Our grant certainly came at a most critical time for the institution with the increased role of the Philippine maritime sector in relief, retrieval and rehabilitation. The development of our Library 4 Safe Seafaring can effectively help provide actual education and training for students and faculty alike in addressing concerns of disaster and maritime safety with its provision of scientific knowledge as we go about our own contribution to continuing relief and rehabilitation."

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New Scholars

The New Scholars program supports projects to help early- to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and addresses the attrition rate of talented women scientists. This year's grant recipients are focusing on boosting team science diversity and innovation, targeting STEM inclusion in community colleges and and a tropical health partnership between Portuguese-speaking women scientists in Africa and their Portuguese counterparts.

The 2013 grant recipients are:

  • Strengthening Team Science & Work Life Satisfaction in the University of California System, University of California Santa Barbara.

    Collaborative, interdisciplinary team science-based research has become increasingly central in scientific discovery. Team science garners more funding, more impactful research and publications. Having a strong network of collaborators and mentors is critical to a productive and successful academic career, yet women are both less likely to participate in team science and to do so later in their careers.

    The UC Team Science Retreat will address these disparities among early- to mid-career STEM women scientists across the 10 campuses of the University of California (UC) system through a three-year series of retreats on team science leadership, research design, and proposal writing. Held in collaboration with UC Merced and the UC Office of the President, the retreats will accommodate childcare and include male researchers, fostering a climate of family-friendly inclusion while science leadership skills, experience and productivity are gained earlier on in careers.

    "Collaborative, interdisciplinary teams are vital to the future of scientific research," said university Chancellor Dr. Henry T. Yang, "and the central role women scientists will play in shaping our future is indispensable."
  • African Network of Portuguese speaking women in Tropical Health, Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Portugal.

    This project will improve tropical health career development for women scientists in five African Portuguese speaking countries: Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea, St. Tome and Principe. With a focus on improving integration into the wider scientific community, the project will be led by the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (IHMT) in Lisbon to develop a critical mass of African women scientists and connect them with mentoring Portuguese academics and the European Platform of Women Scientists. In addition, relevant transferable skills will be offered through distance learning, an in-person workshop will be held in each country, a dedicated mobile phone-accessible website and expertise driven database will be developed and childcare grants offered to promote professional visibility.

    The network proposed here will be the first to include African Portuguese speaking countries, and in an area of research — tropical health — that is particularly relevant to many low and middle income countries. The project addresses the geographic and linguistic isolation of these women scientists and shows great potential as a model for international collaboration, particularly in an area of significant health concern.

    Professor Isabel Mauricio said, "We are very excited with this opportunity to bring together Portuguese-speaking women in Tropical Health research and reinforce their role in their own countries and the wider international scientific community."
  • Cambridge Equality Collaboration: Advancing Women in Science within and beyond Cambridge, University of Cambridge.

    The Cambridge Equality Collaborations (C=C) project aims to develop a comprehensive approach to the advancement of women in STEM, aligning the university's many existing initiatives into an integrated program with lasting potential. Over a three-year period, primary research investigating the transition from early career researcher to tenure will be conducted as well as resources developed through the expansion of a leadership development program; high impact opportunities for the professional and personal development of women in STEM; local and national events to develop a support network for parents and carers; collaboration with previous New Scholars grant recipients (Portia and the National Postdoctoral Association); and profiling visible women role models, including delivery of a prestigious annual event and wide dissemination of book/web/virtual resources celebrating women of Cambridge.
  • Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr. Jeremy Sanders, said the funding "will enable us to expand and extend some of our most exciting collaborative gender equality projects over the next two years. The University of Cambridge is committed to supporting the advancement of women in STEM disciplines in recruitment, retention and promotion. Our aim is to develop the best possible practice in this area and the funding from Elsevier will allow us to continue this innovative and partnership work."

  • Motivating Enrollment of Women into STEM Majors, LaGuardia Community College.

    The first two years of a college career are considered key predictors for students who wish to major in STEM fields. This project targets women in community colleges, an overlooked demographic providing critical STEM career entry points to student s— especially women students—of lower socioeconomic status.  LaGuardia Community College (LGCC) has a student population that is 58% female — out of all degrees awarded (in the 2012 academic year), less than 5% of the degrees were awarded to women. Of these students, more than 80% report household income of less than $25,000, hence financial might dictate the low graduation rates in women. 

    Within two-year colleges in particular, the shortage of affordable childcare services and common gender stereotypes discourage women from pursuing careers in STEM.  This project is open to all LaGuardia Community College students and will implement a series of workshops, research internships, assistance for scholarships and childcare to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM.  Program data will be analyzed and submitted for publication, forming the foundation for a subsequent full grant application to a key NSF program directed at community colleges. For the New Scholars program, this proposal represents a new space—or segment in the academic pipeline.

    "Currently, there is a significant void in the number of women pursuing careers in STEM fields at the national level," said Dr. Preethi Radhakrishnan, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Science. "This New Scholar Grant will enable us to act as a critical stepping-stone enabling women to gain access to STEM majors both in terms of gaining research experience and in successfully graduating with a STEM degree in hand. What makes this an exciting endeavor is that community colleges such as LaGuardia Community College, which have traditionally been overlooked, act as a great training ground to help women overcome barriers such as costs associated with childcare, because of their accessibility and affordability."
  • Womens IS Network, Worcester Polytechnic University.

    The Information System Women's Network (ISWN) supported by WPI has four goals: to collect global data on what women in IS academia need to flourish in their careers; to provide an outlet for current research on women in IS; to grow awareness, membership and visibility within the international IS community and to establish a successful self-supported workshop format sponsored by academic and industrial sponsors. 

    "Information Systems is the backbone of our global innovation economy and vital to our future," said Eric W. Overstrom, Provost and Senior VP of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "With women making up more and more of the workforce, women should be increasingly taking leadership roles in Information Systems. ... We are proud to be leading an initiative to support women researchers and thought leaders in the critical field of information systems."

    This is an interesting, and potentially high-impact approach to a global issue in information systems and presents a clear plan to address the issue in a safe context for women in this area.

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The Author

Ylann SchemmYlann Schemm (@ylannschemm) manages Elsevier's corporate responsibility program, which focuses on advancing women in science and developing research access in the developing world. She also oversees the Elsevier Foundation's New Scholars program, which supports projects to expand the participation of women in STEM, and the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program, which supports capacity-building projects in science, technology and medicine.



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1 Archived Comment

Phalguni December 21, 2013 at 5:12 am

I'm a mid career scientist interested in applying for funds to conduct research in Neuroscience. I would like to know about the funding opportunities from Elsevier for Women scientists in India. Thanks

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