EDI Fellowships Q&A

How many host sites can EDI usually support?

We will support about 10 host sites with a fellow.

What is the application process for host sites?

Host sites need to fill out an application form which will be reviewed by the EDI team. See question (4) for characteristics of a competitive application and question (3) regarding expectations for the host sites during the fellowship program.

What are the deadlines and related paperwork needed for this process?

Once the application process begins, important dates will be outlined on our webpage: https://environmentaldatainitiative.org/edi-summer-fellowship-program/. Host sites need to fill out an application form. This is the typical timeline for the application process for host sites:

  1. Application deadline for host sites: mid-December of the year before the fellowship program.
  2. EDI decision: Beginning of January.
  3. Application process for fellows begins in March
  4. Training workshop for fellows early June.
  5. Fellowship program mid-June to mid-August.

What is EDI looking for in a good project proposal?

  • Clear outline of the fellow’s tasks aligning with one of three topics EDI is supporting:
    1. Scope and number of datasets that the fellow will be archiving and publishing.
    2. Detailed workflow for data processing that enables reuse of data that the fellow will be programming.
    3. Harmonization project: data packages that should be converted into a standardized format and details of the format.
  • Naming a mentor who is readily available to answer the fellow’s questions regarding data and metadata for the entire duration of the fellowship.
  • Strong indication of the intent to develop a sustainable data publishing strategy with the help of the fellow and the EDI team, by identifying specific EDI data curation services that match the project’s needs.

What is EDI’s selection process for host sites?

The EDI team will review the applications and rank them by the quality of the application, the need for data publishing support as well as the potential impact on data publishing. See question (4) for what the criteria for a good application are.

What are EDI’s expectations as to the support of the host sites for the fellows during the fellowship program?

  • Host site mentor to be readily available to answer questions about the data and metadata, for example about methods, personnel, duration of observations, units, interpretation of notes and error flags. This is especially important if historical data will be archived and the original collectors are no longer working with the project.
  • Provide a welcoming and supportive work environment.
  • Providing room and board if the stite/station is located in a remote area.
  • Computer and reliable internet connection, unless the station is located very remotely in which case the fellow might need to divide time between the station and an office or home base.

Does the host organization have to have an existing data management plan or personnel for data management?

No. The purpose of the fellowship is to help projects develop a data management and publishing strategy that takes into account the project’s specific situation with respect to information management staff, types and amount of data. The goal is to match the project’s needs for data publishing support with EDI’s relatively wide range of services.

You have an example on your website of a fellow working at NES-LTER. How strict is the requirement that there be no data management plan established at the host institution?

The NES-LTER fellow programmed a workflow that processes marine imaging data into a format that makes the data easily usable. EDI does not exclude projects that have a data management plan in place and personnel for data publishing, but we prioritize projects that need more support.

Is it a must for the fellow to use the EDI data repository? What about other repositories, for example CUAHSI? 

We expect the data the fellow is processing to be published in EDI since we are organizing and funding the fellowships.

What are the funding needs for an applicant while working at a host site and how is this evaluated and established?

The fellows will receive a stipend of $5000 administered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison in two increments, one at the beginning of the fellowship, the second half at the halfway point, with the precondition of excellent performance as evaluated by EDI and the host site mentor. This stipend is intended to support the fellow’s room and board at the host site as well as travel back home. EDI will pay for the fellow’s travel from the data publishing workshop at UNM in Albuquerque to the host site.

Is  the stipend of $5000 enough for two months? What is EDI’s experience in the last two years of this program?

For the past two years the stipend was sufficient for all fellows to be able to stay at the sites. Most of the sites were located in remote areas, not major urban areas. In the latter case, if living costs are very high, there might be the option to amend the EDI stipend with funding from the host institution. Another option would be for the fellow to work remotely for part of the fellowship, given regular online meetings. The fellow could also reside for the time of the fellowship in Madison, working at UW Madison with EDI personal for the host site.

Do we need to have a fellow identified when we submit the project?

No, there will be an independent application process for the fellows beginning in March 2020. EDI will announce the fellowships. Fellows can apply for as many host sites as they wish and will be selected based on interviews with the host site mentor.

Is it typical for fellows to remain involved with hosts after the summer period? Is there an expectation?

There is no expectation that the fellows stay involved with the hosts after the fellowship. In the past, some fellows were hired by their host sites or remained connected based on research collaborations.