Supporting a trainee or early career professional’s research project as they transition toward an independent position in the field of human milk and lactation.
Helping an awardee gain national or international exposure.
Establishing collaborations and building a career-centered portfolio in an aspect of human milk and lactation that was not the focus of their prior training.
Trainee Bridge Fund
The Trainee Bridge Fund (TBF) aims to provide awardees with a bridge toward becoming an independent professional in a career focused on an aspect of human milk and lactation research that was outside the focus of an awardee’s doctoral program (or other academic program/training), or to allow an awardee to move into the field of human milk and lactation, even if that was not the focus of the awardee’s doctoral program (or other academic program/training). The TBF will cover long-term activities, achievable within one year.
TBF-funded initiatives could include, for example:
The TBF covers up to USD $100,000 per awardee for visa-related costs, roundtrip transportation to/from the activity destination, accommodation and personal expenses (food, local transportation). Basic activity expenses are also covered, such as: laboratory costs, conference fees, workshop fees, flights to collaboration sites and ISRHML conference travel/accommodation for presentation of results and experience. The registration fee for the ISRHML conference is excluded, as ISRHML will waive the registration fee.
The final 3-5 candidates will be invited to an online presentation to present their projects and allow for questions during the Counsel Board meeting, for about 20 minutes each including questions. The Counsel Board meeting usually happens mid of December. 1-2 awards will be granted per year.
To be eligible for a Trainee Bridge Fund, the applicant must:
- Be an ISRHML member in good standing (no pending dues at application deadline date) at the time of application deadline and at the time of the proposed expansion (bridge). For applicants from LMIC countries according to the World Bank list, membership is currently free but might be covered by grant funds in case membership fees are added.
- Fulfill at least one of the following criteria at application deadline:
Awardees are selected based on evidence that the proposed project and hosting environment will provide the necessary training to support them to progress through early career transitions on the way to an independent position in the field of human milk and lactation. Awardees will also be selected based on evident potential for career growth in the field of human milk and lactation.
- The applicant’s academic record is of high quality.
- The applicant’s career goals are related to, and have the potential to advance, human milk and lactation research and/or practice.
- The applicant is able to both excel at and benefit from the proposed project.
- The applicant has the potential to develop into a productive, independent scholar in the field of human milk and lactation.
- Evidence of service to the field of human milk and lactation research is advantageous.
- The project plan is clearly and logically articulated. The applicant’s role in the project is explicitly stated.
- The need for, and value of, the proposed project for advancement of the field of human milk and lactation is clear.
- The project timeline is logically justified in relation to both learning objectives and project specific aims.
- The project is feasible, given the applicant’s academic and research background and proposed timeline.
- The budget is fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed project.
- The list of deliverables (e.g., academic presentation, article, program development) is specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time bound.
- The project plan includes a suggestion for the field of study/research it is set in to support appropriate selection of reviewers.
- The project plan includes a clear outline of the impact the project and the applicant aim to bring to the scientific field and practice of human milk and lactation.
Quality of the proposed training expansion:
- The learning objectives document a clear need for, and value of, the bridge expansion program to the applicant.
- It is clear which components of the proposed project were not the focus of the applicant’s previous training.
- The project is specific to the learning objectives and is relevant to the applicant’s career goals in the field of human milk and lactation.
- The application materials show that the outlined project and learning objectives will develop the applicant’s ability to engage in interdisciplinary research in human milk and lactation.
- The candidate articulates how the proposed training activities will enable them to become productive, independent scholars in the field of human milk and lactation.
- Explain how the TBF advances the career in the field of breastfeeding and breastmilk.
- The applicant clearly and logically justifies the choice of proposed training institution and mentor.
- The hosting supervisor has clearly committed (a) to actively mentor the trainee and (b) to provide a research environment required to successfully complete the bridge expansion program.
- The available space, facilities, equipment, and personnel support are appropriate given (a) the applicant’s academic and research background and (b) the project plan.
- The hosting supervisor has an excellent mentorship track record and provides a clear mentorship plan for the applicant.
When submitting required documents, i.e., Budget Form and Type of Training, the pre-defined templates MUST BE USED (see below). Documents will not be accepted in any other format.
Some answers to questions often asked about the TBF
It says “up to” which means you will not be awarded more than USD $100,000. Therefore, additional funding to run samples would potentially be necessary or the host institution may provide this in-kind. This is important to address as reviewers will be judging feasibility of the project. However, one cannot claim twice for the same expenses i.e., on the TEP grant and the other source of funding. Any leftover money must be transferred back to ISRHML.
Yes, there is a dedicated line in the budget form for salaries. Make sure to align your salary with your host and the host institution’s usual Postdoc salaries and norms.
Yes, there is a dedicated line in the budget form for medical health insurance.
Anything within reason – we have not approved requests for mobile phones or computers. Ensure telecommunication costs are reasonable bearing in mind you will have access to Wi-Fi at the host university or institution.
We encourage you to do so. Nevertheless, the project should be placed within human milk/breastfeeding research and your proposed mentor should be an expert in the field.
Yes, this is possible. Your proposed project should help you become an independent researcher and it is critical that your research is different to that of your PhD or current research.
This depends on your time schedule and if you would like your TBF project to start directly after your PhD. Due to the single deadlines and differences in PhD finish dates you are also encouraged to apply shortly after your PhD if appropriate. Please be aware that there is only one application period per year.
The project should be achievable within one year. It is highly unusual to be less than a year given that this is a track to independence.
Start date is flexible and dependent upon both the recipient and host institutions – justification is usually required in these cases.
It is critical your research is different to that of your PhD or current research. We encourage to explain why it makes sense for you to stay at your university but transition to another lab to become an independent researcher.
No, your proposed mentor doesn’t have to be an ISRHML member. But it’s important that the mentor is an expert in the field you are planning to do your project in.
Amount of time is more relevant to this award as publications notoriously take a longer time than expected.