ISRHML
The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation
ISRHML
The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation

TRAINEE BRIDGE FUND (TBF)

The Trainee Bridge Fund (TBF) aims to provide awardees with a bridge toward becoming an independent professional in a career focused on an aspect of human milk and lactation research that was outside the focus of an awardee’s doctoral program (or other academic program/training), OR to allow an awardee to move into the field of human milk and lactation, even if that was not the focus of the awardee’s doctoral program (or other academic program/training). The TBF will cover long-term activities, achievable within one year.

TBF-funded initiatives could include, for example:

  • Supporting a trainee or early career professional’s research project as she/he transitions toward an independent position in the field of human milk and lactation
  • Helping an awardee gain national or international exposure
  • Establishing collaborations and building a career-centered portfolio in an aspect of human milk and lactation that was not the focus of their prior training

The TBF covers up to USD $100,000 per awardee for visa-related costs, roundtrip transportation to/from the activity destination, accommodation and personal expenses (food, local transportation). Basic activity expenses are also covered, such as: laboratory costs, conference fees, workshop fees, flights to collaboration sites and ISRHML conference travel/accommodation for presentation of results and experience. The registration fee for the ISRHML conference is excluded, as ISRHML will waive the registration fee.

The final 3-5 candidates will be invited to an online presentation to present their projects and allow for questions during the Counsel Board meeting, for about 20 minutes each including questions. The Counsel Board meeting usually happens mid of December. 1-2 awards will be granted per year.

To be eligible for a Trainee Bridge Fund, the applicant must:

  • Be an ISRHML member in good standing (no pending dues at application deadline date) at the time of application deadline and at the time of the proposed expansion (bridge). For applicants from LMIC countries according to the World Bank list, membership is currently free but might be covered by grant funds in case membership fees are added.
  • Fulfill at least one of the following criteria at application deadline:
    • Be enrolled in an academic program for a Master’s, PhD or MD (or equivalent) that will be completed by start date of the TBF project, OR
    • have completed an academic program for a Master’s, PhD or MD (or equivalent) within the last 5 years, OR
    • be enrolled in a postdoctoral training program, clinical training program, medical residency, medical fellowship or other suitable training programme, OR
    • have completed a postdoctoral research program, clinical training program, medical residency or medical fellowship or other suitable training programme within the last 12 months
    • be enrolled in an academic program as mentioned above in other fields, such as Public Health, Health Economics and other health-related topic in the field of human milk and lactation
  • Propose a project that is relevant to research in human milk and lactation
  • For those transitioning into the field: demonstrate a commitment to the field of human milk and lactation in earnest

Awardees are selected based on evidence that the proposed project and hosting environment will provide the necessary training to support her/him to progress through early career transitions on the way to an independent position in the field of human milk and lactation. Awardees will also be selected based on evident potential for career growth in the field of human milk and lactation.

Applicant:

  • The applicant’s academic record is of high quality.
  • The applicant’s career goals are related to, and have the potential to advance, human milk and lactation research and/or practice.
  • The applicant is able to both excel at and benefit from the proposed project.
  • The applicant has the potential to develop into a productive, independent scholar in the field of human milk and lactation.
  • Evidence of service to the field of human milk and lactation research is advantageous.

Proposed project:

  • The project plan is clearly and logically articulated. The applicant’s role in the project is explicitly stated.
  • The need for, and value of, the proposed project for advancement of the field of human milk and lactation is clear.
  • The project timeline is logically justified in relation to both learning objectives and project specific aims.
  • The project is feasible, given the applicant’s academic and research background and proposed timeline.
  • The budget is fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed project.
  • The list of deliverables (e.g., academic presentation, article, program development) is specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time bound.
  • The project plan includes a suggestion for the field of study/research it is set in to support appropriate selection of reviewers.
  • The project plan includes a clear outline of the impact the project and the applicant aim to bring to the scientific fields and practice of human milk and lactation.

Quality of the proposed training expansion:

  • The learning objectives document a clear need for, and value of, the bridge expansion program to the applicant.
  • It is clear which components of the proposed project were not the focus of the applicant’s previous training.
  • The project is specific to the learning objectives and is relevant to the applicant’s career goals in the field of human milk and lactation.
  • The application materials show that the outlined project and learning objectives will develop the applicant’s ability to engage in interdisciplinary research in human milk and lactation.
  • The candidate articulates how the proposed training activities will enable her/him to become a productive, independent scholar in the field of human milk and lactation.

Career Trajectory:

  • Explain how the TBF advances the career in the field of breastfeeding and breastmilk

Environment:

  • The applicant clearly and logically justifies the choice of proposed training institution and mentor.
  • The hosting supervisor has clearly committed (a) to actively mentor the trainee and (b) to provide a research environment required to successfully complete the bridge expansion program.
  • The available space, facilities, equipment, and personnel support are appropriate given (a) the applicant’s academic and research background and (b) the project plan.
  • The hosting supervisor has an excellent mentorship track record and provides a clear mentorship plan for the applicant.

Any  Trainee Bridge Fund awardee needs to comply with the following obligations:

  • Begin the project by April 1st of the year following receiving the award and use the funding within twelve months as of its award.
  • Extension of start date or duration is possible, details have to be negotiated on an individual basis with the TEP responsible at ISRHML.
  • The grant recipients and their institutions shall be responsible for obtaining and maintaining all necessary approvals from relevant ethics committees, animal review boards and data protection officers as required for the conduct of the project, and for reporting and submitting copies of these approvals to ISRHML or its service provider.
  • Timely notification of all changes and deviations from the contract (start date, duration, end date, persons or institutions, etc.).
  • Reimbursement of any unused amount to ISRHML.
  • Delivery of a half-term report to ISRHML six months after commencement of the Bridge Fund, according to the Awardee Report Template.
  • Delivery of a final report to ISRHML within three months from completion of the funded activity, according to the Awardee Report Template.
  • Acknowledge the support of ISRHML and FLRF in any publications, abstracts or other reports created in relation to the funded work.
  • Presentation of results and experience at ISRHML Conference (travel costs to be covered from the amount awarded under the TBF, ISRHML will forego the conference registration fee).
  • Participate in the TEP Alumni Club to support and mentor others once their project is completed. FLRF and ISRHML will collaborate in creating and supporting the TEP Alumni Club.

Potential Awardees shall complete the online application via the ISRHML website; the application shall include the following information:

  • Online application form
  • Curriculum vitae (including publications and prior funding, if available) Please use the EUROPASS format
  • Completed type of training form
  • Copy of transcript for current studies or most recently completed degree
  • Copy of certificate for highest academic degree received (include date of degree conferral)
  • Proof of current enrollment letter from academic or training institution (include expected date of program completion) (if applicable)
  • Letter from academic or training institution confirming date on which most recent training program was completed (e.g., postdoctoral fellow, clinical fellowship) (if applicable)
  • Support letter and a curriculum vitae (including publications and funding sources) from hosting mentor (support letter to include a confirmation of applicant acceptance at the hosting institution, a mentorship track record, and a description of the mentorship plan)
  • Documentation of active ISRHML membership or trainee membership
  • Budget
  • Contact details of three referees.

All required documents listed above will be submitted via the ISRHML website.

If you have any questions about the TBF, please send them to [email protected]

*Applicants please take note of the agreement templates, we advise that your institution(s) is also aware of the agreement templates.