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Elsevier Foundation Awards 2011 Grants to Advance Women in Science and Support Libraries in Developing Countries

AMSTERDAM, January 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

$650,000 awarded to Innovative Libraries, New Scholars and Nurse Faculty Programs

The Elsevier Foundation announced today the 2011 grant recipients for the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries and New Scholars award programs. In total, $650,000 has been committed to nine institutions around the world in addition to seven ongoing multiyear grants and the Nurse Faculty program.  The Elsevier Foundation is funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

"Each of the diverse projects supported by the Elsevier Foundation has the potential for an immediate and enduring impact on our health and science communities," said David Ruth, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation and Senior Vice President Global Communications, Elsevier.  "We welcome the chance to support these organizations' efforts to foster new ways to leverage science and health information for development and to facilitate career development in STM fields."

Innovative Libraries

The Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program awards grants to libraries for innovation in improving access and use of scientific, technical and medical information. Past projects include: expanding information resources through digitization and knowledge preservation; training and education for librarians and researchers, and developed-developing world partnerships providing longer term technical assistance and training.  

The 2011 library grant recipients address real developing world issues through the use of STM information resources and include:

  • A Solution in Sight: Eight Developing Country Resource Centers Improve Access to the World's Ophthalmic Information,Seva Foundation, US
  • Strengthening Agricultural Researchers and Extension Staff's Skills for Access to, Use and sharing of Agricultural Information Resources in Tanzania, Sokoine National Agricultural Library, Tanzania
  • Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare, Library Training, Royal Tropical Institute  (KIT), Netherlands
  • Nuclear Claims Tribunal Records Preservation, Nuclear Claims Tribunal, Republic of the MarshallIsland 
  • Improving Library Resource Sharing Through the Union Catalogue Among Laos Libraries Central Library, National University of Laos, Laos

"With access to scientific information revolutionized in the Global South through diverse access initiatives, embedding the daily use of high quality peer reviewed journals within universities, remains the key challenge," said Jan Donner, President of the Royal Tropical Institute in the Netherlands (KIT). "The Elsevier Foundation's library grants are so important because they emphasize the critical role that librarians play in supporting researchers, doctors and nurses in implementing evidence based work."  

New Scholars

The New Scholars Program supports projects to help early- to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and addresses the attrition rate of talented women scientists. Recent grants have promoted institutional research, advocacy, and policy development to retain, recruit and develop women in science and have enabled researchers to attend conferences critical to their careers by assisting with childcare, mentorship and networking.

The 2011 grants include

"The attrition of top talent from the scientific workforce severely hampers countries' ability to lead in innovation and stay globally competitive in these disciplines," said Janet Bandows Koster, Executive Director & CEO of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). "We know that professional women with the skills needed for successful careers in these fields are available, yet often choose to leave the workforce because of outmoded institutional structures. The New Scholars program has been integral to exploring innovative approaches for a more family friendly academia.  We look forward to working with the program to spearhead a fresh, forward-looking dialogue with global thought leaders." 

In 2011, the Elsevier Foundation's Nurse Faculty Program also awarded a multiyear grant to Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing to develop an 18 month leadership academy and alleviate the nursing faculty shortage through retaining and transitioning new nurse educators to the faculty role.  

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About The Elsevier Foundation

The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate charity funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge centered institutions around the world, with a focus on developing world libraries, nurse faculty and scholars in the early stages of their careers.  Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than 60 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Nursing Consult, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Elsevier Foundation

2011 Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries

Grant Awards

A Solution in Sight: Eight Developing Country Resource Centers Improve Access to the World's Ophthalmic Information, Seva Foundation,US
80% of the world's blindness is avoidable through treatment or prevention. The WHO's Vision 2020: the Right to Sight campaign targets curable blindness in their global campaign to impact vision loss.  The Seva Foundation has proposed a compelling project aimed at benefiting hundreds of eye hospitals that lack organized resource centers and trained librarians. Eight collaborating resource centers in major recognized eye care institutions: Al Noor Magrabi Foundation in Egypt; Visualiza in Guatemala; Aravind Eye Care System, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya, & Vivekananda Mission Asram Netra Niramay Niketan in India; Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology in Tanzania; and Lumbini Eye Institute in Nepal will work with the Seva Foundation and the Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL) to provide training, mentoring, and tool development to significantly enhance the librarians' ability to make relevant scientific, technical, and medical information available to eye doctors and health care workers locally, regionally, and globally.

Strengthening Agricultural Researchers and Extension Staff's Skills for Access to, Use and Sharing of Agricultural Information Resources in Tanzania,  Sokoine National Agricultural Library, Tanzania
While information and communication technologies have become more widely available in many developing countries, the skills needed to take full advantage of e-resources are still under-developed. The work of agricultural researchers and extension staff, who play a central role in economic development, is significantly enhanced by tailored training in the search, use and sharing of the information that is now accessible through these technologies. Sokoine National Agricultural Library, a university and national library with a mandate to disseminate agricultural information to Tanzania's diverse stakeholders, has developed a project with the potential for major impact on food production and security. It will strengthen the agricultural network within the country and will specifically target farmers--the most challenging link in the information literacy chain.

Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare, Library Training, Royal Tropical Institute
Evidence Based Health Care or Medicine (EBHC) is major priority in medical faculties, schools of public health, national ministries in wealthier countries and in the WHO. This project focuses on the key role played by information specialists in the practice and implementation of EBHC in the developing world. Medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers across eight African countries will be taught the skills of searching and retrieving, evaluating and implementing medical literature and evidence into clinical and public health to improve patient care. Courses will be conducted in medical schools, schools of public health and libraries in Ethiopia, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, with a continuously growing group of partners. The project is driven by the Royal Tropical Institute in the Netherlands (KIT), the central partner in the Collaboration for Evidence Based Healthcare in Africa (CEBHA), a network of faculties of medicine, schools of public health, ministries and NGOs that support an African healthcare system based on informed and evidence-based decisions. CEBHA will also provide the expertise to adapt the program to issues that are commonly found in the developing world such as feasibility, limited resources, medication compliance issues and alternative and complementary medicine.

Nuclear Claims Tribunal Records Preservation, Nuclear Claims Tribunal
On March 1st 1954, Bravo, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever tested by the US government, was detonated in the Marshall Islands.  One thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, it led to significant radiological contamination and international concern about atmospheric thermonuclear testing which continued in the Islands for another four years. With a grant from the Elsevier Foundation this project will preserve the library of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). The Tribunal was established in 1987 as part of a settlement agreement between RMI and the US government. It gave the Tribunal exclusive jurisdiction to settle all claims arising from the Nuclear Testing Program. The library contains unique holdings with hundreds of scientific and medical reports, papers, articles and other documents relating to the nuclear weapons testing program conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. The goals of the proposed project are to organize, stabilize, and digitize the library holdings and official files of the Tribunal in order to ensure that those records can be made available to future researchers, students, decision-makers, and other interested parties.

Improving Library Resource Sharing Through the Union Catalogue among Laotian Libraries, Central Library, National University of Laos, Laos

With a grant from the Elsevier Foundation, the National University of Laos will provide the Laos Library and Information Consortium (LALIC) with a unified and comprehensive open source digital library information system to increase library staff and users' access to scientific, technical, and medical information and materials. Researchers from across the 20 member library consortium will be able to access one search engine that compiles all metadata from the library collections' network and electronic databases; access library collections across member libraries; and specifies the location (e.g., university, library) to access publications.

The Elsevier Foundation

2011 New Scholars Grant Awards

Scenario Toolkit for Advancing Careers in Science, Portia Ltd  (EU)          

The European Commission's recent public consultation on strengthening the role of women in science yielded professional development feedback: the need for career models and pathways; balancing career aspirations and family responsibilities; childcare issues and costs, mobility, dual career couples, and returning after career breaks. The Scenario Toolkit for Advancing Careers in Science targets this call to action to help European women scientists navigate the complex relationships between events and decisions that shape a scientist's professional development through the doctoral and postdoc stages. Portia, a UK-based non-profit, will pilot the scenario method through workshops delivered with two partners; the Technical University Berlin and Tel Aviv University. Portia's scenario toolkit moves beyond traditional mentorship to provide an innovative new strategy for improving the career success of female scientists and engineers. 

STEM CIC Writing Retreat, University of Nebraska, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US                                    

With a grant from the Elsevier Foundation, the University of Nebraska aims to retain women scientists by improving research productivity and promoting critical networks through a model STEM writing retreat. A week-long, multi-disciplinary, multi-rank writing retreat at the University of Nebraska (UNL) will be offered to STEM faculty across the "Big 10" universities.  With a concerted focus on writing success and social connections, this program has the potential to serve as a model that can be easily replicated across institutions and disciplines to help retain STEM women in academia.

Get Ahead with Optics: Career Development for Women in Science, University of Carthage,Engineering School of Communications, Tunisia  

Over the last years, optics research has become an indispensable part of daily life. Fiber optics for telecoms, medical imaging and cancer research, optical parts in cars, computer and 3D screens are at the core of the world's technical infrastructure. This interdisciplinary proposal from Tunisia aims to orient young women scientists in the dynamic and rapidly evolving field of optics and photonics while providing them with professional development skills and a deeper understanding of what is needed to succeed as a woman scientist.  The ten day summer school in optics is a partnership between the University of Carthage's Engineering School of Communications, Tunisia and Philipps University from Marburg, Germany and offers recent Tunisian and German graduate students with scientific orientation, career coaching and international exchange to lay the groundwork for a successful scientific career.

Rethinking the Future of the STEM Workforce:  Best Practices in Work-Life Effectiveness, Association of Women in Science, US           
While women comprise roughly half the US work force, they hold just 24% of STEM jobs according the Department of Commerce. Whether the root causes lie in a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, or a lack of family friendly flexibility, the resulting attrition in the academic pipeline means that the US is halving its potential for innovation. The Elsevier Foundation New Scholars program has focused on the holistic, work-life dimension of the STEM workplace including dependent care, dual career relationships, mentoring and travel to professional meetings. The Association of Women in Science (AWIS) will collaborate with the New Scholars program to leverage best practice testimony to impel systemic change in the global STEM workplace. Through an international work-life satisfaction survey and a New Scholars Roundtable, AWIS aims distill recommendations into a report that will serve as an action plan to help employers, working women, and policymakers identify, create and sustain systemic changes.

Media contact
Ylann Schemm
Corporate Relations, Elsevier

SOURCE Elsevier
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