Short-Term Visitors (next deadline August 1, 2014)


Short-term visitors are supported to enable synthetic research on any aspect of evolutionary science. Visitors will receive support to travel to and work on-site at NESCent for periods of 2 weeks to 3 months. Proposals can include any type of synthetic evolutionary project, but we particularly welcome collaborative projects. Such collaborations might include collaborations with NESCent in-house scientists or informaticians; joint proposals from two or more investigators to spend time together at NESCent; or proposals from leaders of working groups to work on their project with NESCent informatics staff. 

Applications for Short Term Visitorships will be evaluated on the extent to which they

  • address an important and outstanding evolutionary question,
  • are "risky" endeavors but with a reasonable chance of success,
  • reflect NESCent’s scientific mission to advance research that addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary science by integrating methods, concepts, and data within and across disciplines (For more on the context and a classification of synthesis in evolutionary science please read Linking Big: The Continuing Promise of Evolutionary Synthesis),
  • provide evidence that sufficient data are available to tackle the question,
  • provide evidence that appropriate analytical tools are available or will be developed during the project,
  • generate products that typically fall into three broad categories (but are not restricted to):
    • Synthetic papers and reviews,
    • Databases allowing others to build on your foundation,
    • Software or mathematical tools that solve a major analytical problem.

NESCent will not support collection of new data or field research, but encourages the mining of public and private databases. NESCent is committed to making data, databases, software and other products that are developed as part of NESCent activities available to the broader scientific community. Applicants should review the Data And Software Policy for NESCent. Examples of recently supported short term visitors can be found on NESCent’s funded project page.


Proposals will be evaluated in terms of both the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant. Visitors will receive support for travel to and from NESCent, a housing allowance, and a meal per diem. 

Before you Apply

All applicants are encouraged to contact Allen Rodrigo, Director of NESCent, or Susan Alberts, Associate Director of Science and Synthesis, for feedback on project ideas. The next deadline is August 1, 2014. The earliest start date is two and a half months after proposal submission. Please review our Reporting Requirements, Travel Guidelines, and Data and Software Policy before applying. 

Proposals for Short-term Visitors

Proposals for short-term visitors are short, not to exceed 2 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages, plus a 2-page CV.  If joint proposal is being submitted, each investigator is required to submit an individual proposal.  Proposals should be organized as follows:

  1. Title (80 characters max)
  2. Name and contact information
  3. Project Summary (250 words max)
  4. Public Summary (250 words max) – written for the public and visible on the NESCent web site
  5. Introduction and Goals – A statement of the outstanding question in evolutionary science being addressed and a concise review of the concept and the literature to place the project in context.
  6. Proposed Activities - A clear statement of any specific data (include citations or urls) and analytical tools that will be required for the project.  The proposal should also include a clear statement on how synthesis will occur.  Letters of support are required from the proprietor of datasets, analytical tools, or software not publically available or not owned by the applicant.
  7. Rationale for NESCent support - Why can this activity be most effectively conducted at NESCent?
  8. Collaborations – We greatly encourage synergy between sabbatical scholars, short-term visitors, working groups, catalysis groups, and postdoctoral fellows at NESCent.  If you plan for such collaboration please provide specifics. Please contact expected collaborators before proposal submission and indicate this within the body of the proposal.
  9. Proposed Timetable - You must include your expected start and end dates for your residence at NESCent.  Note that projects may start no earlier than 2.5 months after the submission date.
  10. Anticipated IT Needs - Briefly describe any needs for IT support that are important to the success of the proposed project. Please indicate whether development of a database or software will be required. Also, briefly describe your plans to make resulting data and software available; including any conditions that might limit your ability to make these available.
  11. Anticipated Results - include a clear statement of anticipated papers, data and software products, and anticipated public release of data and products
  12. Short CV of the applicant (2 pages)


Proposal Submission

Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single pdf file. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Note that proposals should be submitted as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above, including the CV. Proposals are submitted electronically. Please login first if you have already created a profile. For technical support, write help@nescent.org.

Data, Software and Publication Policy

The open availability of data, software source code, methods, and results is good scientific practice and a key ingredient of synthetic research. NESCent expects that all data and software created through NESCent-sponsored activities be made publicly available no later than one year after the conclusion of the NESCent award, or immediately upon publication of an associated article, whichever comes earlier. For more information please visit our Data, Software and Publication Policy.