OLS Fellowships; Announcing our next generation of community changemakers

- Yo, Patricia, Mayya

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash ()

In September 2022, OLS had a leadership retreat in Scotland, where all four directors gathered together to discuss future plans and strategic director for our organisation. One of the key activities we identified was a desire to work with community members in a more official capacity, beyond the mentorship program that is our core. As a young organisation with funding, we have a relatively high level of flexibility when it comes to defining our mission and how we deliver it.

A plan: let’s recruit “Resident Fellows”

Out of these discussions, we developed a new plan: to launch a program that would allow valued community members to spend paid time working with OLS, but also have paid time to explore things that interest them - whether that be research, community management, coaching, consultancy, or anything else that is OLS-aligned.

Resident fellows are set a fixed budget and employed (if in the UK) or offered a consultant/contractor position, if outside the UK. This budget flexes to suit the fellow - it could be a short-term full time position, or a longer-term part time position of up to 12 months - so long as either way, up to 50% of the time is on OLS-specific tasks specified by the directors or community. Some of the budget can be spent directly (e.g. on books or training or software) rather than used to pay for work time.

Fellows are encouraged to use their creativity to explore what interests them, and are welcome to apply for grant or contract funding as a PI working under the OLS umbrella.

Meet the fellows

A pink background with faint sketch of leaves. Header: OLS Resident Fellows, 2022-23. OLS Fellowship is an opportunity for Open Leaders to explore, create and forge ahead in areas of work that interest them. On the left is the picture of Mayya Sundukova: A European women, with black shoulder length hair, smiling for the camera. She is wearing a white T shirt with colourful pattern, and a blue blazer. On the right is the picture of Patricia Herterich: A European women, with golden hair below shoulder, a part of hair is styled and clipped to her left. She is indoor, looking over her shoulder and smiling for the camera. She is wearing a brown top. On the top left is the OLS logo depicted as a hybrid of DNA helix and a leaf as a metaphor for life. The title is Open Life Science. Footer: If you are interested in capacity building in open science and would like to help fund additional Resident Fellows or run a similar fellowship in-house at your organisation, contact team@openlifesci.org

Patricia Herterich

Patricia has a 10 year career in Open Science with focus on research data management. She holds a MA in Library and Information Science from Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany (2013) and has worked at CERN’s Scientific Information Service, the University of Birmingham and the Digital Curation Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Patricia is a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2019 and was a mentor for OLS cohorts 1, 2, and 5.

Patricia will work on a new module on open source software and growing the OLS fellows community. She also plans to explore consultancy services and is always up for well-facilitated and interesting virtual events. You can find Patricia crocheting in meetings to help her focus. She loves to listen to podcasts and audiobooks while working, will try out any kind of dance based exercise and is working hard at keeping all her house plants alive and thriving.

Mayya Sundukova

Mayya has 12+ years of research experience in biophysics and neurobiology. She holds a Master in Physics from Russia, PhD in Neuroscience obtained in SISSA (Italy), and spent 5 years at European Molecular Biology Laboratory as an interdisciplinary postdoc fellow.

Mayya has a long-standing interest in supporting mental well-being and “productivity” by creative/performative arts and writing/journaling. In 2020 Mayya joined the eLife Innovation Leaders program as a mentee (a Mozilla Open Leaders programme like OLS), to reflect on transitions in the “journeys” of researchers and creative ways to support them in uncertain times. Since then Mayya contributed various OLS: cohorts - OLS-3 as the first facilitator, OLS-5 and OLS-6 as mentor. In 2022, Mayya facilitates journaling and writing, is applying for certification as a Narrative Coach and enrols into Master student in Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the University of Extremadura in Spain - to work in transformative ways with her companions and their stories. Mayya is committed to improving the well-being of researchers through Researcher Mental Health Observatory (ReMO) COST action, where she leads a community-sourced project on developing policy briefs on mental health in academia in different countries (within OLS-6 as mentee) and ambassadorship at the Dragonfly Mental Health initiative. Mayya also serves as mentor pro bono in programs for career transition beyond academia and well-being of researchers.

During OLS residency Mayya will work with OLS on the marketing and communications, e.g. exploring Linkedin platform and multimedia storytelling based on the inputs from the community of practice itself. She will also develop practical steps of supporting the OLS community through coaching and writing/journaling.

Once a fellow, always a fellow

After initial fellowship terms complete, we’re taking a leaf from the Software Sustainability Institute’s “Once a fellow, always a fellow” book. Whilst this initial cohort of Resident Fellows is highly experimental (and we’re grateful to Mayya and Patricia for being kind enough to let us learn about the process with their help), we hope this will only be the start of something exciting and longer term around rewarding our community members, working closely with people we care about, and building capacity in open and compassionate research community building.

If you’re interested in becoming a fellow in the future, or learning more about Open Life Science’s mentorship program, please consider applying for OLS-7 (if you haven’t joined as a community member in a previous cohort), or contact team@openlifesci.org to discuss your ideas.

If you’re interested in capacity building in open science and would like to help fund additional Resident Fellows or run a similar fellowship in-house at your organisation, we’re all ears. Contact team@openlifesci.org and we’ll set up a chat!