Planning starts early for the next year's FEBS Advanced Courses – the first deadline for applications for funding for events running in 2019 will be 1st March 2018. The FEBS Advanced Courses programme is under the direction of the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee, made up of scientists elected by FEBS Council. Here, as Chair of this Committee, I explain the aims of the programme and what it offers for event organizers, and introduce the application and evaluation process for course submissions. The Advanced Courses Committee looks forward to receiving proposals for 2019 events!
Vision of the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee
The mission of the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee is to promote education on the latest research approaches and findings to early-career researchers in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and related disciplines throughout the Constituent Societies of FEBS and beyond. As the Chair of this Committee I wish to emphasize that I am truly convinced that this is a highly significant endeavour for supporting young scientists. In order to serve this honourable goal, each year the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee funds a range of courses with the sum of €20,000–40,000, plus up to €10,000 dedicated to enhance participation of young scientists through FEBS Youth Travel Fund (YTF) grants. Aside from the benefit to scientists in the early stages of their career, these courses also provide a great opportunity for organizers to extend their scientific network and contribute to the advancement of their field.
Which kind of courses are in the FEBS portfolio?
FEBS Advanced Courses include ‘Lecture courses’, ‘Practical courses’,‘Workshops’ and ‘Special Meetings’. For Lecture courses the major emphasis is teaching and training, and lecturers are asked to present introductory lectures followed by state-of-the-art presentations. The number of participants at these events should not exceed 120, including up to 20 speakers. We also provide the possibility to organize Joint FEBS/EMBO Lecture Courses, where events benefit from funding and assistance from both FEBS and EMBO. At Practical courses of advanced experimental and computational methods, the focus is on hands-on experiments so that young scientists can apply these methods in their home laboratories. To better serve this purpose the number of participants is limited to 24. Our framework also offers the possibility to organize a combined Practical and Lecture course. In addition to these five- to ten-day courses, we also promote shorter, more-focused Workshop events that address topics of high scientific interest and facilitate enhanced interactions among lecturers and students. The Special Meeting category applies to those rare cases when a topic is met with outstanding wide interest to accommodate around 200 participants.
What makes FEBS Advanced Courses special?
Over and above the basic course grant funding, FEBS also provides YTF grants to support the participation of a number of young scientists (PhD students and postdoctoral fellows) at the event. Following the allocation of a set sum for YTF grants by FEBS, the organizer selects the candidates on merit, bearing in mind a few eligibility criteria set by FEBS. YTF grants can be awarded to a maximum of 20–50% of the participants (depending on the course type) which substantially enhances the number of applications for FEBS courses.
In addition, it should be emphasized that, due to a highly fruitful collaboration between IUBMB and FEBS, organizers of FEBS events can also apply for IUBMB-sponsored speakers and trans-YTF funds.
FEBS also initiates course applications by promoting the events through FEBS News, the FEBS website, and other FEBS communication channels, and on printed FEBS posters and flyers. Besides this support, our main goal has been to keep the level of administration as low as possible, in order to let the organizers focus on the arrangement of the high-level scientific content and the establishment of the optimal conditions of these events. Towards this aim, we delegate one member of our Committee as a ‘Member-In-Charge’ to each of the events to ease communication and interaction of the organizers with FEBS.
How to apply
Internationally recognized scientists may apply as a main organizer by submitting course application forms and a CV through the FEBS online application system – accessed via the Course Organizers page of the FEBS website. The deadlines for applications in 2018 are 1st March and 1st August 2018. More details about the course application process can be found in the ‘FEBS Advanced Courses Guidelines’ downloadable from the Course Organizers webpage. In the meantime we would be pleased to provide more information for applicants through the firstname.lastname@example.org email.
What happens after you submit a proposal for a FEBS Advanced Course?
Your application will be reviewed by at least two members of our Committee. Committee members are nominated by FEBS Constituent Societies and are elected by the FEBS Council for a term of four years. Applications are discussed in a panel jury meeting of the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee, based on the reports of the reviewers and comments from the Committee members. The Committee meeting ends with a graded list of applications, and grants to courses are awarded in the order of this graded list. Applicants will receive the decision letter with helpful comments, if needed. The FEBS Advanced Courses budget will allow funding for approximately 20 courses in 2019.
I look forward to receiving your comments and applications!
Updated from an article first published in FEBS News November 2016, page 5: http://www.febs.org/news/newsletter