Runway for sustainability: OLS awarded funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to power its next phase

- Bérénice, Emmy, Malvika, Yo

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

OLS is absolutely delighted to share the news that as of January 2022, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has awarded OLS a total of USD 574,945.30 over the next two years. This grant will provide OLS with a truly valuable opportunity to improve sustainability for the organisation and community, and allow enough time to focus on planning for the longer term.

Activities over 2022 and 2023 will include:

  1. Four open research mentoring and training cohorts: OLS-5 applications have closed, and we will run OLS-6 in the second half of 2022, followed by OLS-7 and OLS-8 in 2023. As in the last cohorts, OLS will continue to cater to researchers and the open-research curious from all backgrounds.

  2. New Open Source Software module in the OLS curriculum: OLS team will co-design a new module on Open Source Software to be delivered as an additional skill-up enhancement for those who have software and code-related projects and wish to attend it.

  3. Sustainability and business model planning: Until recently, OLS was fully volunteer-driven. For cohorts 3 and 4, we were able to offer small payments in the form of honoraria to some of our mentors and call facilitators. This will be a core offering over 2022 and 2023, as well as dedicated time to pay the OLS core team to work on OLS.

In addition to paying mentors, call facilitators, experts, and directors, we intend to use this time to develop a sustainability plan beyond the end of 2023 - not only financial but community sustainability. Our community is the centre of OLS, and we want to figure out ways to keep it healthy and thriving, serving its members and furthering our mission of open, equitable, and community-driven research.

While we’ve been a registered company for some time now, we’re having to do a lot of growing up, too: establishing a payroll, learning about international tax and employment laws, meeting with accountants and writing policies.

How can you be part of this work?

We’d love to work with you over the next 2 years.

For all of these - please do contact to set up a chat!

In conclusion:

We’re delighted to be able to direct paid staff time to look forwards, rather than merely existing in the day-to-day to run the program, and we wouldn’t have been able to do this without the generous grant from CZI. Huge thanks in particular to Carly Strasser, Dario Taraborelli, and everyone on the CZI Open Science team who recognise the importance of both training and mentorship in open research practices, as well as providing well-needed financial stability to initiatives that previously have primarily been volunteer efforts. And as always - thank you to our community of mentors, experts, project leads, co-facilitators, partners and friends, who have supported and shaped OLS, tolerated our blunders and sustained our growth.

Our grant application documentation, including a budget plan, is available on Zenodo. Please cite them as: Open Life Science Team. (2022). Open Life Science Proposal for the next phase of funding and support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: 2021 project report. Zenodo.