OpenWorm Studentships

Support for C. elegans Ph.D. students and postdocs to get involved with the project

We know that there is a huge amount of research which happens which is relevant to the goals of the OpenWorm project, but is not in an immediately usable/compatible format. Many researchers/labs may wish to contribute to the project, but the day to day work of experiments/analysis/publishing take priority.

OpenWorm Studentships are a new way to incentivize contribution to the project, offering small stipends and recognition to junior researchers who want to spend time bringing their research into the OpenWorm project and making it more accessible for the wider community.

Anyone involved in C. elegans research who has (or whose lab has) produced data, models or software, which has been publicly released and which would be useful for the OpenWorm project.

While it's not absolutely necessary that the recipient was personally involved in generating the data, there should be some connection to those who produced the data, to ensure that any questions about the data and any clarifying queries are quickly answered during the period of the project. For this reason a PhD student/postdoc in the lab which published the data would be an ideal candidate for this project.

The proposed work should focus on translating existing research outputs to open formats, and integrating them with OpenWorm’s resources/repositories/documentation. It is assumed that the model/application/dataset will already be published (even in preprint form), and the time will be spent in making this as accessible/reusable as possible.

The Studentship recipient should outline their plans in the application (see below) and if selected, spend 2-3 months working to incorporate the resources into OpenWorm. They will be assigned a mentor from the project to help ensure the resources are well integrated with our existing online content.

Examples of potential activities include:

  • Converting datasets from original formats (Excel spreadsheets, MAT files) into more open, standardised forms (e.g. NWB), ideally with rich metadata embedded
  • Creating Jupyter notebooks outlining how to explore/analyse data or models
  • Adding models/simulation code to GitHub, adding installation/usage documentation, adding continuous integration/testing
  • Converting models to standardised NeuroML format

While in exceptional cases an applicant could propose to use data that is not yet released, we fully acknowledge the importance of getting peer reviewed publications as part of a PhD/postdoc, and these activities should take priority when deciding how/when data should be released. Given the short timeline for the studentship projects, there is a need to avoid a situation where public release of data by a lab is held up due to publication delays. Therefore it is best if the data is already in the public domain at the time of application.

  • A stipend of $500 on successful completion of the project.
  • A chance for the student to learn many Open Science best practices and technologies.
  • An opportunity to present your work to the OpenWorm community with an online talk hosted by the project.
  • Listed as a recipient of an OpenWorm Studentship on the OpenWorm website (and on your CV!).

The applications will be judged based on:

  1. The scientific significance of the original work
  2. How much the proposed work contributes to the overall aims of the OpenWorm project
  3. The student’s plans for making the work more open/accessible
  4. How useful the resource would be for the wider C. elegans research community

Applications for the 2021 Studentship Call are now closed.

The 2022 Studentship Call will be opening soon. For any questions, please contact padraig -at- openworm -dot- org.