Applications to the SSI Fellowship Programme 2022 now open

Posted by j.laird on 9 September 2021 - 10:00am

Collage of FellowsWe are pleased to announce that applications to the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2022 are now open! This round will also be a pilot for opening up the programme to international applicants. The deadline to apply is 31 October 2021. Continue reading to find out more about the programme, how to apply, and what to expect during recruitment.

About the Fellowship Programme

The Fellowship Programme provides funding for individuals who want to improve how research software is done in their domains and/or area of work. Being a Fellow also helps individuals develop skills and knowledge in their area of software sustainability, empowers them to speak about software sustainability issues, and network with like-minded individuals from a wide variety of research areas. Visit our Fellows’ profiles to read more about those awarded Fellowships in previous years and have a look at some of our Fellows’ blog posts for examples of activities funded by the Fellowship Programme.

Successful applicants will be allocated £3,000 to spend over 15 months beginning 1 January 2022. The funding is flexible to support activities that are beneficial to both the Fellow and the Institute. For example, the funding can be used to:

  • Attend conferences.
  • Organise and run workshops.
  • Facilitate software sustainability sessions at domain conferences.
  • Nurture or contribute to communities of practice.
  • Collaborate with other Fellows.
  • Host, organise or teach training events, such as through the Carpentries.

Please visit the Fellowship Programme page for important dates and further information. You can also sign up here to receive updates and reminders.

How to Apply

Each year we try to improve our selection process with the goals of making it faster, fairer and aligned with the long term goals of the Institute. The application form has six parts: 

  • About you: personal information (such as name and contact information) and demographic information.
  • You and your work: information about where you work and your research domain.
  • You and software: information we routinely collect to understand the context and environments of those involved in research software.
  • Your funding: information about financial support for your research/work.
  • Application: information about your plans for the Fellowship.
  • More about you (optional section): optional additional personal information such as online profiles.

We encourage applications from anyone who is eligible and is excited by the potential of research software. We particularly encourage applications from people from underrepresented backgrounds and institutions.

Screencast Application

The main application is a six-minute voiceover of a slide presentation screencast and reviewers will base the bulk of their decision on it. During shortlisting, applicants will be assessed on their plans for the Fellowship (50%), ambassadorship (25%), and the style and content of their presentation (25%). 

Below is a suggested format for structuring the screencast:

  1. Who you are professionally (1 minute suggested)
  2. What you do (1 minute suggested)
  3. Your plans for the Fellowship (4 minutes suggested)

We know that recording ourselves can be uncomfortable, so to help you we have created an Application Video Guide and A Guide on Recording Screencasts, Online Training and Events and Live Streaming. Some of the 2021 Fellows have also agreed to share their successful screencast applications on YouTube to inspire you to apply for the programme, you can view the playlist here. We will also be sharing more advice on how to make a great screencast application in the coming weeks.

In light of the ongoing situation around COVID-19, we highly encourage applicants to consider that travel and in-person events may not always be feasible, and we particularly welcome plans with online-based activities.

Online Selection Day

Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to participate in the Online Selection Day: a full day of group activities where candidates will be assessed on their skills relating to communication and interaction, collaboration and group work, event planning, and how they engage within the activities. This year the Online Selection Day will take place on Thursday 2 December from 10:30 - 16:00 GMT (we will provide breaks throughout) - so please save the date!

The final selection of Fellows will be made based on the combined assessment of the candidates’ performances during the Online Selection Day and the Fellowship Plans proposed in the screencast applications. 

All shortlisted candidates will also be invited to attend Collaborations Workshop 2022 for free.

International Applications

We are also pleased to announce that during the Fellowship Programme 2022 round, there will be up to three places for successful international applicants (applicants based outside the UK or without a formal affiliation with a UK-based institution or office). 

Because the Institute is UK-funded, applicants who are not based in the UK or who do not have a formal affiliation with a UK-based institution or office will need to demonstrate that their plans for the Fellowship:

  1. Have a focus on improving UK capability, and
  2. Promote UK-based approaches abroad.

How will the goals of your plans benefit the UK research community? For example, your plans might have a focus on:

  • Feeding in successful research software related initiatives/approaches from abroad into UK-based projects, ​​
  • Adding capacity to do particular tasks and to collaborate with UK-based teams, and
  • Promoting UK-based initiatives, projects or ways of working abroad.

We note that this round is a pilot to help us identify and address challenges for opening and scaling up the Programme internationally in the future, particularly around finances and logistics. As such, there may be changes to eligibility subject to new information we learn along the way.

Financially, there may be exclusion of some countries/regions due to restrictions around the movement of funds. There will likely be some additional steps in the administration of funds and small discrepancies in the reimbursement of expenses due to differing currency exchange rates.

You should also demonstrate how your Fellowship can successfully deliver on its plans if there are potential challenges related to time zones, language barriers or the cost of having to travel large distances.

These are all areas that we are looking to explore and address through this pilot.

Fellowship Programme 2022 Launch Webinar 

The upcoming Fellows 2022 Launch Webinar will take place on Thursday 23 September from 15:00-16:00 BST. You will be able to find out more about the programme, the application process, hear existing Fellows’ experiences and have your questions answered. Please click here for more information about the Launch Webinar.

If you have questions about the Programme, please contact Rachael Ainsworth, Institute Community Manager at fellows-management@software.ac.uk.


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