Two annual awards of 2,000 € will highlight the achievements of under-represented early-career researchers (ECRs) who have faced difficult circumstances while conducting their work. The difficult circumstances are primarily, but not solely, disabilities, single parenting, and caring responsibilities that have created unequal opportunities.
The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation is supporting this initiative.
Call for Applications
Next deadline: to be announced in autumn 2022
The award is open to PhD students, postdoctoral scientists or non-tenure-track research fellows who do not hold a permanent academic position and have achieved their research while facing difficult circumstances.
- Applications may be submitted by the person benefiting from the grant, or by a colleague/supervisor when a letter is included from the nominee approving their nomination.
- The person submitting the application must be an ESEB member (to become a member of ESEB, please visit our membership page first)
- Applicants who have previously received this award are not eligible.
- The award stipend (2000 €) will be spent at the discretion of the nominee. Nominees will be required to write a short summary of their achievement to be highlighted on the ESEB Equal Opportunities website and ESEB newsletter.
Applications should be sent as a single PDF file to Ute Friedrich at the ESEB office, firstname.lastname@example.org. It should include
- A cover letter with the nominee’s name, current status and institution, PhD start date, duration and reason for any career breaks, nominee’s or nominator’s ESEB membership number, and a signed statement on what the nominee has achieved and why you considered the nominee achieved it under difficult circumstances. The difficult circumstances are primarily, but not solely, disabilities, single parenting, and caring responsibilities. The letter should not exceed 2 pages.
- A short CV of the nominee (1–2 pages)
- Proof of the nominee’s achievement: this can be for instance a PhD diploma, a publication, or an outreach initiative.
- A letter of support from the nominee’s host institution or a colleague.
Applications will be evaluated by the Equal Opportunity Committee.
Winners in 2022
Kelley Leung, University of Groningen, NL – Polyploidization is detrimental to the individual because of problems of sterility, gigantism, and gene expression. And yet, polyploidy is now recognized as a major evolutionary driver in the ancestry of most Eukaryota, associated with gene network diversification, mass speciation, and higher adaptability. How initial disadvantage and downstream advantage are bridged has been difficult to study in animals because of inviability. In my PhD with Leo W. Beukeboom of the University of Groningen, I exploited multiple pathways of heritable polyploidization in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis to develop it into an animal polyploid model. I am honored to now be recognized by the ESEB Under-represented ECR award. I come from Chicago gang territory and a low-income family. I went through a divorce halfway through my PhD. In the final stages, I became unexpectedly pregnant with twins with someone who abandoned them before they were born. But I was able to publish papers, write successful grants, and defend my PhD throughout. I am now raising my beautiful children as a single mother and am a postdoc at the University of Groningen, continuing my work in polyploid evolution as well as biological control and host specificity. I thank my childhood teachers, family and friends, childcare providers, colleagues, and advisors for helping me prove that community is what keeps determined women in the sciences. I hope to live up to being a recipient of this award by increasing the visibility of and creating opportunities for students and scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Öncü Maraci, University of Bielefeld, DE – The gastrointestinal tracks of the animals are home to diverse and dynamic microbial communities, collectively known as gut microbiota. The discoveries in the last two decades have left no doubt that gut microbiota has mutual connections with several aspects of host physiology, fundamentally altering our understanding of animal biology. Today it is well-established that microbial symbionts are functionally involved in countless processes and adaptations of their hosts. Nevertheless, we still lack a proper understanding of the factors shaping the gut microbiota, particularly in birds. I am a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Barbara Caspers at Bielefeld University, the Department of Behavioural Ecology, which has become a refuge to me since 2016. I received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which enabled me to study fascinating interactions between animals and their microbial symbionts. In a broad sense, I aim to understand the causes and consequences of individual-specific microbiomes. In particular, I studied the relative impacts of host selection and social transmission on gut microbiota across different developmental stages in zebra finches. Furthermore, in a collaborative project with Marta Szulkin from the University of Warsaw, I also investigated the impact of urbanisation on the gut microbiota of great tits. My research demonstrated that host-specific factors and environmental modifications collectively shape animal-associated microbial communities leading to tremendous individual variations. As a next step, I aim to understand how individual variation in microbial communities translates into cognitive and behavioural differences.