We invite participants for an event that will pioneer the mining of the Encyclopedia of Life (http://eol.org) and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org) to address outstanding and novel questions about the ecology and evolution of biodiversity. We aim to identify questions and data for which biologists may lack informatics skills and resources to address or analyze successfully; and symmetrically, to guide informaticians to pressing ecological and evolutionary questions. We seek to make actual discoveries through joint activities and to test the “computability” of major biodiversity databases.
We invite proposals for synthetic research on any aspect of biological science that will leverage EOL and BHL resources. Successful applicants will be matched with an informatician, in 2 person teams, and receive support to travel to and work on-site at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center for 4 days.
Applications for participation will be evaluated on the extent to which they
- address an important and outstanding biological question,
- are “risky” endeavors but with a reasonable chance of success,
- reflect EOL’s mission to empower scientific research by providing comprehensive and trusted biodiversity data and/or NESCent’s scientific mission to advance research that addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary science. Both organizations promote the integration of methods, concepts, and data within and across disciplines (for more on the context and a classification of synthesis in evolutionary science please read Linking Big: The Continuing Promise of Evolutionary Synthesis),
- provide evidence that sufficient data are available to tackle the question,
- provide evidence that appropriate analytical tools are available or will be developed during the event,
- generate products that typically fall into three broad categories (in order of importance):
- Synthetic papers and reviews,
- Software or mathematical tools that solve a major analytical problem.
- New open data for Encyclopedia of Life allowing others to build on your foundation.
We will not support collection of original data or field research, but encourage the mining of public and private databases such as EOL and BHL. NESCent is committed to making data, databases, software and other products that are developed as part of NESCent activities available to the broader scientific community. Applicants should review the Data And Software Policy for NESCent.
Proposals will be evaluated in terms of both the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant. Visitors will receive support for travel to and from NESCent, lodging, and a per diem for meals not provided.
Before you Apply
All applicants are encouraged to contact Craig McClain, Assistant Director of Science of NESCent, or Cynthia Parr, Chief Scientist of Encyclopedia of Life, for feedback on project ideas. Proposals will be considered through November 15. The event will likely take place February 3-7, 2014. Please review our Reporting Requirements, Travel Guidelines, and Data and Software Policy before applying.
Proposals are short and not to exceed 2 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages, plus a 2-page CV. Proposals should be organized as follows:
Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single pdf file. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Note that proposals should be submitted as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above, including the CV. Email your proposal to Craig McClain and Cynthia Parr, by November 15, 2013.
Data, Software and Publication Policy
The open availability of data, software source code, methods, and results is good scientific practice and a key ingredient of synthetic research. NESCent expects that all data and software created through NESCent-sponsored activities be made publicly available no later than one year after the conclusion of the NESCent award, or immediately upon publication of an associated article, whichever comes earlier. For more information please visit our Data, Software and Publication Policy.
Funding for this opportunity is generously provided by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.