eLife recognises underrepresented researchers

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eLife has announced the launch of the 2023 Ben Barres Spotlight Awards – an award scheme that provides visibility and funding for researchers from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in biology and medicine, or who work in countries with limited research support.

This year, the organisation has made the awards even more inclusive by expanding the eligibility criteria to specifically include neurodivergent researchers for the first time.

The awards are named in honour of Ben Barres, a transgender researcher who advocated for equality in the scientific community. Barres was a member of eLife’s Board of Reviewing Editors (BRE) from 2015 to 2016. He resigned from the BRE when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which eventually took his life. Similar to the last two years, the awards are open to eligible authors of publicly reviewed preprints, as well as authors who have published peer-reviewed articles or Reviewed Preprints with eLife. The awards are open to researchers from all career stages who meet the eligibility criteria based on their country of work, disability, ethnicity, gender, neurodivergence, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background.

Over the past four years, successful applicants have used the awarded funds for diverse purposes, empowering them to overcome barriers and seize new opportunities for their research, careers and communities.

Previous winners include Charles Agoti (Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme), who used his 2022 award to fund a month-long trip to a collaborator in Belgium. He said: "My visit sparked new connections, stimulating discussions on new analyses and collaborative grant applications. Spending time in a different lab has profoundly enriched my skills and changed how I lead my team back in Kenya too."

Maria Cecilia Martinez (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina) also won an award last year. She said: “The prize allowed me to acquire equipment needed to start new research lines, which has boosted my career as an independent researcher. Given Ben Barres’ esteemed legacy, receiving an award bearing his name is a genuine honour.”

For further details, go to: https://elifesciences.org/inside-elife/f56fb3c2/ben-barres-spotlight-awards-applications-open-for-2023.


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