Overview of the COBRA Early Career Accelerator Stipend
COBRA’s mission is to accelerate the research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to inform decision making and to train the next generation of leaders in ocean exploration, science, and policy. In pursuit of this mission, we award small accelerator stipends for early career participants to accelerate their training. Accelerator stipends can be used for any type of training activity, such as – but not limited to – learning a new skill or getting a new experience, visiting a lab to learn a new method or analyze samples, or attending a professional society conference or policy-maker meeting. These stipends are for early career members of the community – including senior graduate students, postdocs, junior faculty, or junior professionals – that would like to gain new skills and experiences that can be applied to COBRA themes. These training opportunities are expected to establish direct linkages among individuals, which are intended to result in a more well-connected community and the development of future COBRA researchers and leaders.
We anticipate ~10 awards of US$2,500 in 2024 (Year 3 of COBRA). This stipend funding is available to individuals sponsored in both US institutions and abroad. For individuals not based at a US institution, the training opportunity must be tied to a US-based organization or activity. COBRA must consider appropriate balance in funding to reflect that the funding is US-based.
Application & Selection
The application form will ask for the following mandatory information:
- Name and contact information
- Current institution, country of institution, and career stage
- Name of supervisor, if applicable
- Anticipated start and end dates of the proposed activities
- Your background in oceanography, marine science, ocean engineering, marine policy, or related field (200 words maximum)
- Your intended training activity and describe how it will advance your career direction or opportunities (300 words maximum)
- How your intended training activity aligns with COBRA themes and mission, i.e. how the training could contribute to advancing research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to inform decision making while training the next generation of leaders in ocean exploration, science, and policy (200 words maximum)
- How you and/or your training opportunity is tied to a US-based organization or activity (e.g., you are based at a US institution, your training opportunity or collaborators are hosted by a US-based organization or activity) (200 words maximum)
- The use of funds and approximate costs (200 words maximum)
- A 2-page PDF document with applicant’s current resumé or curriculum vitae including:
- Education background
- Professional affiliations
- Awards or honors
- Service to or participation in scientific, education, mentoring or policy activities
- Up to 5 relevant publications or other types of professional activities
- Note: if you have not created a 2-page CV before, refer to this guidance from COBRA
The application form will also ask for the following voluntary information:
- How do you currently describe your gender identity?
- How do you describe your race and/or ethnicity?
- What is your country of citizenship?
- What is your current country of residence?
- Can we have your permission to use the demographic information that you voluntarily provided above to help connect you with programs and opportunities that we are aware of? This is a service that COBRA would like to be able to provide to early career researchers, to help you expand your network and benefit from opportunities of COBRA partners.
Why do we ask for this information? Applicants are asked to provide some personal identity information to help COBRA to understand the demographics of the applicant pool to assess if our efforts to recruit diverse audiences are effective. We also request this information to help connect early career researchers with opportunities of our partners. COBRA strives to increase representation of diverse genders, races and ethnicities, and nations in deep-sea research. Provision of this demographic information is voluntary, and the information will not be used in the decision-making process. Aggregated and anonymized demographic data may also be used in COBRA’s annual reports.
A successful application will meet the following criteria:
- Have a background in oceanography, marine science, ocean engineering, marine policy, or related field
- Be a graduate student, postdoctoral scientist/researcher, untenured faculty, or an early career employee of a government, NGO, or industry with sufficient experience to benefit from the training opportunity
- Provide compelling reasons that the training will accelerate the applicant’s career opportunities
- Provide compelling rationale for how the training could contribute to advancing research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to inform decision making while training the next generation of leaders in ocean exploration, science, and policy
- Provide a clear statement on how you and/or your training opportunity is tied to a US-based organization or activity
- Provide a clear statement on the use of stipend funds
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, there is no deadline to apply. We anticipate making decisions on funding within 3 months following submission, with successfully proposed activities starting between 1-10 months following notification. The COBRA Co-Investigator leadership team (Orcutt, Huber, Wheat, Rotjan, and Fisher) will make selections based on responses to the eligibility criteria described above.
Stipend Award Expectations
A training stipend of $2,500 will be distributed in two lump sums via direct transfer to the selected participant. One sum will be awarded at the start of the training, and the second six months later after receiving a brief summary of the training opportunity outcomes. If awarded, funds will be offered as either a bank account or PayPal transfer after submission of US Internal Revenue Service Forms W9 or W8, as appropriate depending on taxpayer status, to COBRA’s Managing Director. The COBRA Managing Director and other COBRA Co-Investigators on the team are not eligible for additional compensation.
2023 Accelerator Awardees
Steven Auscavitch, Boston University Postdoctoral Researcher. Training at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center to learn next generation molecular skillsets and create a genetic reference library of deep-sea corals from recent ocean exploration cruises in the central Pacific Ocean.
Kristen Johannes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography / Ocean Discovery League Early Career Researcher. Continuing development, improvement, and testing of an interactive web-tool – the Seafloor Observation Scenario Exploration Tool – to support collaborative deep-seafloor exploration planning and inclusive conservation decision making.
Wendolyn Matamoros Calderón, University of Costa Rica Professor and Masters Student. Participating in Octopus Odyssey expedition of Schmidt Ocean Institute to gain training in deep-sea expedition leadership.
Beatriz Naranjo-Elizondo, Pelagos Okeanos Researcher. Participating in Octopus Odyssey expedition of Schmidt Ocean Institute to learn benthic annotation techniques and gain training in deep-sea expedition leadership.
Florian Neumann, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam Postdoctoral Researcher. Testing and training on a new state-of-the-art, multi-penetration heat flow measurement system offshore the coast of Oregon.
Maila Paisano Guilhon e Sá, Nippon Foundation University of Edinburgh Ocean Voices Programme Postdoctoral Researcher. Participating in Octopus Odyssey expedition of Schmidt Ocean Institute to gain training in deep-sea expedition leadership.
Gustavo Ramirez, California State University Los Angeles Junior Faculty. Participating in Octopus Odyssey expedition of Schmidt Ocean Institute to gain training in deep-sea expedition leadership.
Johanna Weston, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Postdoctoral Researcher. Participating in training with Chilean scientists to advance hadal biology. New techniques and research will benefit ECR while strengthening connections between US and Chile in deep-sea science.
For questions regarding the general scope of this call and proposal submission, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.