Washington Research Foundation established the Washington Research Foundation and Benjamin Hall Endowment for Graduate Student Excellence in Biology to support fellowships that would enable extraordinary educational opportunities for UW Biology graduate students. Such opportunities may come in a variety of forms. For example, rotating through labs outside the Department of Biology or the UW to learn new approaches to answering questions, to learn new techniques, or to work with novel equipment. Opportunities may also be in the form of launching new, cross-disciplinary research projects fostering creative, new ideas and generating new grants. New research projects with high Intellectual Property potential are considered particularly exceptional.
Opportunities may also take the form of internships at outside institutions, such as The Nature Conservancy, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, FHCRC, or any number of other groups. Such opportunities are considered exceptional, because they provide the fellowship recipient with experience working outside academia, and strengthen ties between UW Biology and our regional partners.
When considering a proposal for a WRF-Hall Fellowship, think big, think broad. Some questions to consider when brainstorming proposal ideas:
1. How will this fellowship allow you to do something that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise?
2. Is this something that scientists in your field of research would not normally do?
3. Is this something beyond the requirements of your dissertation?
4. Will this fellowship be transformative for your career?
5. What will you bring back to the department having had this fellowship experience?
Consider some of the past proposals that have been awarded:
· Kimberly Sheldon attended a capstone workshop in Kenya hosted by the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science to learn quantitative approaches to conservation biology. In addition, she worked with a group from the workshop on a specific project (separate from her dissertation) and the corresponding manuscript. (Her travel was funded by an award from the Center.)
· Ailene Kane used her fellowship to intern with The Nature Conservancy in downtown Seattle. Aileen was considering pursuing a research position in an NGO after graduating, so this fellowship allowed her to build connections with a premier conservation NGO, and to learn about what working there would be like. And it strengthens ties between UW Biology and TNC.
· Adam Huttenlocker spent a quarter working with the world's foremost expert on therapsid bone histology, which is the focus of his research. Working in her lab in South Africa, Adam had access to state-of-the-art facilities and a collection of samples that would boost his research. The fellowship enabled him to spend time learning from a world-renowned expert, forging new collaborations, and learning new techniques, which could all possibly lead to new research.