BCoN Seeks Emerging and Early Career Professionals to Join the Leadership Team of the BIOFAIR Data Network Project

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and with support from the National Science Foundation (Award No. 2303588), is organizing a community discussion series, entitled “Building an Integrated, Open, Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (BIOFAIR) Data Network.” Critical to this effort is engaging the next generation of biodiversity professionals. To that end, we invite you to consider or share this open call to recruit emerging and early career professionals to join the leadership team in facilitating these discussions. 

BCoN is recruiting three (3) emerging professionals (EP; current Master’s and PhD students) and three (3) early career professionals (ECP; within 2 years of completing a Master’s or PhD) to join the core Steering Committee to catalyze cross-domain discussions, identify a set of shared biodiversity data needs and goals, and define the next steps, shared milestones, and a collaborative plan that will inform cross-domain integration of digital data and scientific research. All members of the Steering Committee will facilitate and participate in a series of online discussions to engage an expansive set of stakeholders with the goal of building novel, timely collaborations that have the potential to synergize the development of an integrated, open, FAIR biological and environmental data network. 

The EP and ECP Steering Committee Members, along with the rest of the Steering Committee, will receive team science and inclusivity training. Each EP or ECP member will work with Steering Committee Leads on the planning and execution of one of six virtual Listening Sessions, organized around six broad data domains: 

  • Federal agencies
  • Ecological data
  • Climate and environmental data
  • Genetic data
  • Biodiversity informatics
  • One Health

The EP and ECP Steering Committee Members will be assigned to a domain that best aligns with their interests and expertise, as described in their application. In addition to the domain-focused Listening Sessions, the EP and ECP Steering Committee Members will participate in and help plan and facilitate the final online Workshop, with logistical support from AIBS. During the course of the two-year project, they will gain mentored experience planning and executing interdisciplinary meetings, facilitating productive discussions, summarizing meeting outcomes and generating professional reports, and writing collaborative synthesis manuscripts. 

This is an opportunity for EP and ECP Steering Committee Members to receive timely training in team science and inclusivity. The EP and ECP Steering Committee Members will be active participants in a collaborative network of scientists with diverse experiences and expertise. EP and ECP Steering Committee Members will work directly with leaders from across the biodiversity sciences and engage with a diversity of stakeholders to establish common ground and align approaches towards a common goal. Experience and training in such skills are increasingly valuable in an interdisciplinary and team science environment.

**Please note: The application deadline has been extended to September 30, 2023.** 


  • Open to current graduate students or professionals within two years of completing a graduate degree, who are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or based in the U.S. (as per NSF guidelines, see GPG Chapter I.E.5 and FAQs).
  • Experience working with open data resources; experience with biodiversity, ecological, and/or environmental data (broadly defined); and interest in data science, interdisciplinary and open science, and FAIR data practice. 
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders and fostering inclusion.
  • Applicants need not be affiliated with an academic institution or biodiversity collection.
  • A commitment to the two year project with endorsement from current advisor and/or employer.


  • Reliable and consistent internet access
  • Access to a computer and video for virtual participation
  • A letter of support from primary advisor or employer indicating support for engagement in the leadership team
  • Ability to meet for hour-long sessions between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Eastern Time

In line with NSF’s goal of broadening participation in STEM, we are committed to expanding this opportunity to historically excluded communities and people of all racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and to persons with disabilities.


Alongside other members of the Steering Committee recruited individuals will be asked to:

  • Complete both the team science and inclusivity training workshops
  • Participate in Steering Committee and planning meetings
  • Assist in planning and executing project activities, including the designated Listening Session, the final Workshop, and associated logistics
  • Co-facilitate implementation of designated Listening Session 
  • Participate in note taking and synthesis of Listening Sessions 
  • Participate in community discussions as pertinent 
  • Contribute to project deliverables 

Time Commitment:

The grant spans two years. Over that time frame, we anticipate that EP and ECP members will participate in monthly to bi-monthy one-hour planning meetings, two 1-2 day-long training sessions on team science and inclusivity, as well as the virtual Listening Sessions, the final online Workshop, and writing sessions.


A modest $1,500 Honorarium will be provided; $750 at the end of year one and $750 at the completion of the two-year commitment. The honorarium is contingent on active engagement with the training, mentoring and team building; contributions to written products; facilitation and participation in community discussions; and consistent engagement with the Steering Committee.

Successful applicants have the opportunity to be part of the Steering Committee for this project, receive professional development training, and co-author resulting publications. We recognize that while the EP and ECP members will bring unique perspectives and contributions to the project, they may also be navigating new professional spaces. The modest honorarium is provided in recognition that emerging professionals might not otherwise have the resources or time to be engaged in such an effort.


A Cover Letter and Biographical Sketch. Send as a single PDF titled LastNameApplicant_FirstName Applicant_Application to bcon@aibs.org. Completed applications are due no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on September 30, 2023. 

A cover letter (no more than 2 pages), including:

  • A description of your current position and future career goals.
  • A brief statement about your interest in and any relevant experience with biodiversity science, team science and fostering inclusive and accessible science.
  • A short section on how this position would directly benefit your professional development.
  • Identify and rank your top 3 Listening Session domains, based on your interest: Federal agencies; Ecological data; Climate and environmental data; Genetic data; Biodiversity informatics; and One Health.
  • A statement on how the applicant would contribute to the diversity of professionals participating in biodiversity science.
  • Up to date contact information including email and phone number where we can contact the applicant on the status of the position.

A two-page biographical sketch (can be generated through SciENcv, but this not a requirement), including: 

  • Professional preparation (Years, Degrees, Institutions)
  • Up to 10 relevant education, outreach and research products most closely related to the EP and ECP positions and the BIOFAIR Data Network project.
  • Up to five distinct examples that demonstrate the broader impact of the applicant’s professional and scholarly activities that focus on the integration and transfer of knowledge and community engagement. This can include (but is not limited to) service to the community and to a scientific society; workshops in areas that complement the goals of the BIOFAIR Data Network project (as participant or facilitator); outreach to specific communities; leadership and team building experiences, etc.

A Letter of Support from your current or most recent advisor or employer. Letters must be titled LastNameApplicant_FirstName Applicant_LOR_LastNameRecommender.  Completed letters of support should be sent directly to bcon@aibs.org no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on September 30, 2023. 

Letter of Support must include:

  • A statement of support for your application and participation.  
  • A candid assessment of the candidates communication skills and preparedness for the position. 
  • Specific examples of how the candidate has worked well with diverse individuals, built collaborative spaces, and practiced effective teamwork.

Applicants from historically excluded communities and people of all racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.