sDiv has just opened its first call for workshops, postdoctoral fellowships and sabbaticals. You can download the guidelines below and we will provide the templates here as well soon. Feel free to contact our sDiv coordinator, Dr. Marten Winter, if there are any questions.
Please submit your proposals before April 1, 2013.
sDiv – Call for Research Proposals
1 About iDiv
The central mission of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in biodiversity sciences and to provide the scientific foundation for a sustainable management of biodiversity. iDiv is one of the seven National Research Centres funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG FZT 118). It is located in the city of Leipzig, jointly hosted by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU), the Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg (MLU), the University of Leipzig (UL), and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ. It is furthermore supported by the Leibniz Association, the Max Planck Society, the Klaus-Tschira foundation, and the Free State of Saxony.
The four overarching iDiv questions of biodiversity science are:
- How can we detect and quantify biodiversity (‘detection’)?
- How does biodiversity emerge (‘emergence’)?
- What are the consequences of biodiversity for the functioning of ecosystems (‘consequences’)?
- How can we safeguard biodiversity (‘conservation’)?
2 Goals of sDiv – the tool to create synergy
Addressing these questions and integrating their answers into a comprehensive theory of biodiversity and successful real-world applications represent a major technological and intellectual challenge. To master this challenge, iDiv will – in addition to conducting and promoting excellent science – explore new territory with respect to communication structures and outreach. One of our main measures taken to ensure close collaboration between theoreticians, empiricists, and practitioners inside and outside of iDiv is the establishment and maintenance of networks within the scientific community and with the public. Initiating collaborations between scientists across the world is one of the central tasks of the Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences (sDiv) (Figure 1).
Building upon experiences gained in other successful synthesis programmes, we have established sDiv that offers national and international workshops, short-term postdoc positions and a sabbatical programme to foster theoretical and synthetic thinking and to boost scientific developments. sDiv is an important instrument of iDiv to foster theoretical and synthetic thinking in biodiversity sciences by bringing together researchers from different projects and disciplines and providing conditions that promote the creative process.
As a unique feature, sDiv is physically integrated in the active research centre of iDiv where over 100 scientists cover a wide spectrum of modern integrative biodiversity research. It is at the core of the iDiv philosophy that synergy arises from the fact that sDiv visitors and resident scientists interact. This will be achieved formally by inclusion of at least on iDiv member in each working group and by mandatory reporting sessions open to all iDiv scientists during the course of each workshop. Interaction will be informally promoted by social rooms (recreation area, cafeteria, library). sDiv visitors will bring in fresh ideas and views and may be interested in collaborations with iDiv scientists beyond the scope of their workshop. The body of resident scientists in turn represents a unique concentration of expertise in biodiversity science and sDiv visitors are encouraged to approach them for help and discussions.
sDiv will fund up to twelve working groups per year. Working groups are established for one year and are supposed to typically organize one workshop in this period. Working groups will address key topics in biodiversity research, particularly in areas where synergies are to be expected from bringing together ideas, expertise and data. Outputs of these working groups will be high-impact publications, proposals for the acquisition of innovative research grants, standard protocols and experimental designs for all aspects of biodiversity research.
The postdoc programme will allow early-stage scientists to conduct synthesis projects in a stimulating and supportive international environment. Ideally, they will be integrated into iDiv working groups and will be responsible for crafting their results and ideas into high-impact publications. They will benefit from considerable autonomy e.g. to use iDiv resources.
By offering leading scientists the possibility for sabbaticals in an intellectually attractive environment, iDiv will contribute to the integration of biodiversity research that is still scattered and hindered by disciplinary boundaries worldwide.
sDiv will operate as a partner to the USA’s NCEAS successor SeSynC, where Prof. William (Bill) Fagan from the University of Maryland, one of our scientific advisory board members, serves as the associate Director of Research. sDiv plans to enlarge the existing cooperation network to other similar synthesis centers. The cooperation will include a mutual consultancy, exchange of applications and evaluation tools and, most importantly, joint working groups via cooperation workshops, particularly with respect to projects of high societal relevance.
sDiv is coordinated by Dr. Marten Winter, a scientist with a strong background in biodiversity research, supported by a full-time secretary. sDiv is supported with top priority by iDiv’s General IT Support Unit, the Bioinformatics and Biodiversity Informatics Unit as well as by the staff of iDiv’s theory and synthesis groups and the center’s administration.
An sDiv executive committee consisting of one member of each of the four iDiv founding institutions (FSU, MLU, UL, UFZ), four external German scientists (leading figures of German biodiversity sciences), the sDiv coordinator and the iDiv Managing Director will evaluate applications for working groups and postdocs, either directly or by inviting external ad-hoc reviews from experts in the field. The sabbatical scientists may either be selected from applications or be directly invited by the executive committee. The sDiv executive committee will be appointed by the iDiv directorate. The appointment is for two years. It is possible to serve on the executive committee for consecutive appointment periods.
Working groups and workshops
sDiv will fund up to twelve working groups per year. Working groups are established for one year and are supposed to typically organize one workshop in this period. In well justified cases also two smaller targeted workshops are possible within one year or funding for an extension can be applied for. Workshops are expected to be composed of 10 to 25 participants and to last for a few days to two weeks. In general, longer stays are considered more effective. sDiv offers all established working groups within this programme a strong support with administration, IT, Bioinformatics, student helpers etc. as well as scientific support. Additionally, the application for a working group can include support by a postdoc (see below).
Application is open to all scientists worldwide. The maximum number of applicants is two. The main applicant is responsible for the communication with iDiv. It is expected that the workshop applicants provide a list of at least 10 participants who have tentatively agreed to participate, including the applicants themselves and at least one iDiv member. The list of current iDiv members is provided in Appendix I and on the iDiv homepage (feel free to ask the sDiv coordinator for assistance). Admission of up to five further participants will be done jointly by the sDiv executive committee and the applicants; after approval of a workshop, application for participation will be open for four weeks. The admission criteria will be the participants' particular competences and its contribution to maximize complementarity of skills of all participants. Following the spirit of iDiv, an appropriate mix of people should be presented among the participants, i.e. applicants should include internationally and/or nationally renowned scientists as well as young and curious iDiv PhD students and postdocs eager to publish the outcome of the workshop. It is generally a good idea to include participants with extraordinary quantitative skills so that preliminary analyses can be quickly done and discussed during the limited timeframes of the workshops. The applicant should also be aware of gender balance among participants.
The workshops will be officially announced and advertised on the iDiv homepage. The majority of workshops will be international, and the participation of scientists from abroad is also desired in national workshops. Workshops will take place at the iDiv centre in Leipzig.
- Postdoc fellowships for sDiv
sDiv postdocs are either supporting a specific working group (see above) or fellows who applied for a position themselves, independent of specific working groups. Here, these general fellowships are described in more detail.
The aim of sDiv postdoc fellowships is to allow early-stage scientists to conduct synthesis projects in a stimulating and supportive international environment. The projects should be related to one of the four key questions of iDiv. After the recent decade of successful platform building and data generation, we perceive a need to synthesize biodiversity knowledge in order to develop a more coherent theoretical framework for biodiversity science. Therefore, postdoc proposals addressing synthesis and theory projects, preferably those capitalizing on data available through iDiv platforms, will be preferentially considered. The postdoc fellows are expected to contribute to working groups where it makes sense, for example by attending workshops and supporting producing the working groups’ deliverables.
Post-doctoral fellows can be funded for a maximum of 24 months and will be employed by the University of Leipzig. All employees within sDiv are fully integrated into iDiv and adhere to the general regulations and code of conduct within iDiv. They are expected to contribute to synergistic activities within the center and they have the right to make use of and receive support by iDiv facilities (e.g. Biodiversity Informatics Unit, Bioinformatics Unit, General IT Support Unit) and participate in institutional programmes (e.g. family care structural fund, career fund for women).
- Sabbatical programme
The sabbatical programme is designed to attract leading scientists in biodiversity research for a period from one month up to one year. Scientist can be directly invited by the steering committee or selected from applications made directly to this programme by individuals. For details regarding funding options, please contact the sDiv coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To ensure mutual benefits and efficient communication between iDiv scientists and sDiv participants, sabbatical scientists should give a presentation in the first month after arrival. Sabbaticals will also act as mentors for sDiv postdocs and will be expected to give ad-hoc presentations about their own research.