Early-Career Vocational Opportunities Workshops


The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) Council invites proposals for grants up to $3,000 to help support Society-sponsored Early-career Vocational Opportunities (EVO) Workshops. This is a new program conceived by the SSE Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC), and supported by the SSE Council, to provide valuable learning opportunities for Society graduate students and postdocs. The topic of the workshop can be anything and material can be presented in any format, as long as it is interactive and its content serves to provide foundational skills that are appropriate for early-career SSE members in the areas of conceptual understanding, data collection, data analysis, or professional development. Not all participants must be SSE members, but the organizing applicant must be and the workshop should appeal to SSE members in general. The workshop can take place at any time or location, but should be open to learners across large geographic areas.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants must provide a 2-3 page workshop proposal, uploaded as part of their application.

To apply, please complete the form here.

Workshop proposals should be a maximum of three pages and include:
(1) a synopsis of the workshop theme and learning goals;
(2) a tentative list of workshop instructors, including institutional affiliations and topics;
(3) a proposed location and date;
(4) a rationale for why the workshop topics and the group of instructors are particularly appropriate for a Society-sponsored workshop;
(5) a statement that potential instructors have been contacted and have agreed to participate in the development and presentation of the workshop;
(6) a detailed budget outlining the costs for conducting the workshop and details on other sources of funding; and
(7) a plan for evaluating the success of the workshop. If a similar workshop has been held before (especially by the proposed instructors), please describe when, where, approximate attendance, and any information about impact of this workshop that is available.

The SSE Workshop Selection Committee will evaluate proposals based upon the following criteria: (1) relevance to the study of evolution and to providing important, tangible skills to assist learners in this study; (2) the ability of the instructors and organizers to accomplish the goals of the workshop; and (3) evidence of, or potential for, positive impact on attendees. Proposals will also be evaluated on the degree to which they emphasize diversity at all levels (organizers to learners), including accounting for gender, nationality, and other aspects traditionally underrepresented in Society-sponsored events, and on the extent to which the training can be readily applied in the future (e.g., using open-source materials or software). Budgets can include direct workshop costs, travel support for organizers and instructors, and financial aid to help offset attendance costs; typical budget requests from SSE per proposal are expected to be $1,000-$3,000.

The Workshop Selection Committee will select proposals on a rolling basis for funding based upon budgetary allocations, and SSE expects to award 3-5 workshops each year. All applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision within 30 days, but are encouraged to submit proposals well in advance of the proposed workshop.

Funded Projects

Graduate Student Workshop in Evolutionary Biology
Mountain Lake Biological Station, June 2019
Organizers: Amanda K. Gibson, University of Virginia; Lynda F. Delph, Indiana University; Curtis M. Lively, Indiana University

This workshop provided early career graduate students with intensive training in the fundamentals of scientific thought and communication. This workshop complemented the students’ traditional graduate training with focused, hands-on collaboration between a small group of students and faculty from diverse institutions. Students worked in groups to develop, write, and present a research proposal, participated in multiple writing workshops, and brainstormed major questions in evolutionary biology. This workshop received funding for six $500 travel grants to encourage a diverse inaugural class.

RADcamp-NYC 2019: Robust and reproducible library preparation, sequencing, assembly, and analysis of RADseq datasets
Columbia University, Fall 2019
Organizers: Isaac Overcast, City University of New York; Deren Eaton, Columbia University; Sandra Hoffberg, Columbia University; Natalia Bayona Vasquez, University of Georgia; Laura Bertola, City College of New York

This two-part workshop serves students and researchers in the New York Metro Area by teaching wet-lab and bioinformatic methods. The first part involves generating real sequence data using the 3RAD method. The second part focuses on how to analyze those data. Attendees will learn about equipment and reagents needed to prepare 3RAD libraries; the process of preparing and sequencing the libraries; bioinformatic methods for assembling the data; and downstream methods for phylogenetic and population-genetic analysis in a reproducible and highly parallelized framework. This workshop received $1,500 in funding from SSE for workshop materials.

Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics Workshop
University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, June 2019
Organizers: Joe Felsenstein, University of Washington; Stevan Arnold, Oregon State University

The workshop reviewed the basics of theory in the field of evolutionary quantitative genetics and its connections to evolution observed at various time scales. The aim of the workshop was to build a bridge between the traditionally separate disciplines of quantitative genetics and phylogenetic comparative biology. SSE provided $200 registration discounts for more than a dozen SSE members to participate in the workshop.

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