The Elsevier Foundation awards grants to advance women in science and support libraries in developing countries

10 January 2012

The Elsevier Foundation has recently announced the next round of grant recipients for the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries and New Scholars award programmes.  In total, $650,000 has been committed to nine institutions around the world in addition to seven ongoing multiyear grants and the Nurse Faculty programme.

“Each of the diverse projects supported by the Elsevier Foundation has the potential for an immediate and enduring impact on our health and science communities,” said David Ruth, executive director of the Elsevier Foundation and senior vice president global communications, Elsevier.  “We welcome the chance to support these organisations’ efforts to foster new ways to leverage science and health information for development and to facilitate career development in STM fields.”

Innovative Libraries

Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries awards grants to libraries for innovation in improving access and use of scientific, technical and medical information.  Past projects include: expanding information resources through digitisation and knowledge preservation; training and education for librarians and researchers; and developed-developing world partnerships providing longer term technical assistance and training.

The latest round of library grant recipients address real developing world issues through the use of health, science and technology information resources and include:

  • A Solution in Sight: Eight Developing Country Resource Centers Improve Access to the World’s Ophthalmic Information, Seva Foundation, US
  • Strengthening Agricultural Researchers and Extension Staff‘s Skills for Access to, Use and sharing of Agricultural Information Resources in Tanzania, Sokoine National Agricultural Library, Tanzania
  • Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare, Library Training, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Netherlands
  • Nuclear Claims Tribunal Records Preservation, Nuclear Claims Tribunal, Republic of the Marshall Island
  • Improving Library Resource Sharing Through the Union Catalogue Among Laos Libraries Central Library, National University of Laos, Laos

"With access to scientific information…through diverse access initiatives, embedding the daily use of high quality peer reviewed journals within universities, remains the key challenge," said Jan Donner, president of the Royal Tropical Institute in the Netherlands (KIT).  "The Elsevier Foundation's library grants are so important because they emphasise the critical role that librarians play in supporting researchers, doctors and nurses in implementing evidence based work.” 

New Scholars

New Scholars supports projects to help early to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and addresses the attrition rate of talented women scientists.  Recent grants have promoted institutional research, advocacy, and policy development to retain, recruit and develop women in science, and have enabled researchers to attend conferences critical to their careers by assisting with childcare, mentorship and networking.

The most recent grants include:

  • Scenario Toolkit for Advancing Careers in Science, Portia Ltd  (EU)
  • STEM CIC Writing Retreat Board of Regents, University of Nebraska, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US
  • Get Ahead with Optics: Career Development for Women in Science, University of Carthage, Engineering School of Communications, Tunisia
  • Rethinking the Future of the STEM Workforce:  Best Practices in Work-Life Effectiveness, Association of Women in Science, US

"The attrition of top talent from the scientific workforce severely hampers countries’ ability to lead in innovation and stay globally competitive in these disciplines,” said Janet Bandows Koster, executive director & CEO of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).  “We know that professional women with the skills needed for successful careers in these fields are available, yet often choose to leave the workforce because of outmoded institutional structures.  The New Scholars program has been integral to exploring innovative approaches for a more family friendly academia.  We look forward to working with the programme to spearhead a fresh, forward-looking dialogue with global thought leaders."

In 2011, the Elsevier Foundation’s Nurse Faculty programme also awarded a multiyear grant to Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing to develop an 18 month leadership academy and alleviate the nursing faculty shortage through retaining and transitioning new nurse educators to the faculty role.

You can find out more about The Elsevier Foundation here.