BCoN Travel Awards for Communications Training

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BCoN Travel Awards for Communications Training

In 2016, the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) published a workshop report, Building a More Networked System for Communicating about Natural History Collections, that called for a renewed community focus on communications – both within the biodiversity sciences community and with outside stakeholder groups (e.g. policymakers, news media, civic organization leaders, university administrators).  That report also recognized a need for new professional development training opportunities related to communications.  In response, the American Institute of Biological Sciences developed a two-day Communications Boot Camp for Scientists that has helped prepare more than 1,800 individuals become better prepared to talk to news reporters, policymakers, other scientists, and other non-technical audiences.   
To advance the recommendations in our 2016 report, BCoN is offering a limited number of travel awards to help early career biodiversity scientists (broadly defined), collection managers, educators, and other biodiversity-collection professionals participate in the October 7-8, 2019 AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists.  This professional development training course is being held in Washington, DC.

  1. Graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, or employed less than 3 years.
  2. An individual who works in a clearly articulable way to conduct or enable biodiversity-related research or education. 
  3. Individuals need not be affiliated with a biodiversity collection.
  4. Individuals must be able to travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the October 7-8, 2019 training program.
  5. Must pay the course registration fee.


  1. Up to $1,000 in reimbursement for basic travel costs (ground transportation, air/rail travel, hotel).
  2. Award funds will be reimbursed after the individual has completed the Communications Boot Camp and provided BCoN with travel receipts and a short (one page maximum) summary report describing how they did/didn’t benefit from the training course.


  1. Submit a completed application no later than 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, September 6, 2019.
  2. Send as one PDF document:
  • A cover letter (500 words maximum) describing why you want to participate in this training course and how it will contribute to your professional development. Cover letters must also affirm that you will attend the training in Washington, DC, on October 7-8, 2019, and that you will pay the course registration fee.  The registration may not be reimbursed or paid from the BCoN Travel Award. 
  • A two-page resume.
  • A budget describing travel costs for which you are seeking assistance.  BCoN is only able to reimburse costs for the most affordable travel to/from your location and Washington, DC.  Lodging costs may be reimbursed at the Federal government’s approved rate for Washington, DC.  Travel costs above $1,000 will not be considered. 
  • A brief description of your work (no more than 250 words).
  • E-mail completed application to with the subject line: BCoN travel award [last name].

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