Liber Ero Fellowship Program

Fellowship FAQ

USE OF FUNDS:

What is the latest start date for the 2017 Liber Ero fellows?
Preferably by September 1, 2017, although extensions to October 1, 2017, will be allowed. Note that a PhD must be obtained before this start date, but students can apply before receiving their PhD.

Will there be another round of fellows next year?
Yes. We have funding for multiple years of Liber Ero Fellows.

How many fellows will there be?
Four new fellows each year. As the fellowship is two years long, there will thus be up to eight concurrent fellows.

Does the Liber Ero Program fund institutional overhead?
No, the Liber Ero Program does not fund institutional overhead costs.

What about deductions?
In keeping with the policies of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (Government of Canada), we consider the Liber Ero Fellowship to be a stipend (not a salary), in which case it is not eligible for:

• Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
• Employment Insurance (EI)
• other non-discretionary benefits

As noted by the Banting policy, however, the status of fellows and fellowship payments may differ according to specific legislation and/or institutional policies. Regardless, other than for taxation purposes, no part of the Liber Ero Fellowship can be withheld by the host institution without prior written consent from the fellow.

Can fellowship monies be used to travel and fund attendance at conferences?
Yes, where the travel and/or conference is relevant to research or training.

Can a researcher hold multiple awards?
The Liber Ero Program does allow multiple awards under some conditions. If the other awards are consistent with the Fellow’s proposed research, then multiple research and/or salary awards may be taken, with the proviso that the Liber Ero Program will contribute salary only up to a maximum total of $60,000 annually. For example, an external salary award of $45,000 would be topped up by the Liber Ero Program by $15,000 for a total of $60,000. In addition, Liber Ero Fellows must commit to participating fully in the program, including attending training retreats, regardless of their funding source.

To whom do I address my cover letter? “To the Liber Ero Fellowship committee,” is fine.

I see that the fellow would need to be based at a Canadian Institution, but would it be OK to have a mentoring team made up of one member from a Canadian institution and one from outside Canada?
It is expected that the post-doc will spend the majority of their time working in Canada and that two primary members of the mentorship team will be located in Canadian institutions. Additional members of the mentorship team may be from outside of Canada.

Can the conservation mentor for the Liber Ero Fellowship be from a government agency, such as DFO?
Yes.

Can I have more than one conservation mentor or more than one academic mentor?
Yes. The goal of the mentorship team is to provide the technical guidance to answer a conservation problem and the support to translate this work into practice. NOTE: Applicants should contact their proposed mentor(s) early on while preparing their proposals so that there is sufficient time to discuss goals and mutually beneficial activities with each mentor.

Is there an age limit or a limit on the number of years since my PhD?
No, there is no limit, although the amount of time since PhD will be factored in when assessing the accomplishments of an applicant.

What do you mean by a “conservation practitioner”? A conservation practitioner is somebody who is currently acting upon an issue of applied conservation concern, typically somebody in an NGO (non-profit) or governmental agency (i.e., somebody actively putting into practice what is learned by conservation scientists). Read an interesting discussion about the need for more dialogue between conservation scientists and practitioners.

Are there any expectations for the conservation relevance of the projects? Do projects need to produce a specific product or tool, or is advancing science relevant to decision-making equally competitive? The conservation relevance of the project and its potential to affect real on the ground change will be a very important part of the evaluation. This is what distinguishes this program from existing fellowship opportunities in Canada. The conservation mentor is ideally someone who is in a position to put the results of the work directly into practice in Canada and who will collaborate with the fellow on what information would be most useful/effective. Ideally, the letter of support from that mentor will speak to this issue directly. We interpret conservation relevance broadly; proposals that fill in a critical gap for policy, that create a practical ‘tool’, or that propose and evaluate solutions to conservation issues, among other topics, are all encouraged.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT:

Professional Development Retreats
Fellows must attend two program-sponsored professional development retreats annually. Typically, these are organized for a 1-week period each spring (April – May) and fall (October – November). The purpose of these retreats is for fellows to further develop their leadership and communications skills and to expand their policy awareness and professional networks.

Fellows’ Roles for Retreats
While the program organizes specific training sessions in collaboration with all fellows, for each retreat, fellows are expected to rotate in the role of a “host fellow.” A host fellow typically helps plan content for networking events, panel discussions or other related activities scheduled for the retreat agenda. We view this as a vital approach for ensuring retreats match the interests and needs of fellows. In all cases, the program will organize logistical details and provide additional support, as required.

OTHER DETAILS:

Prolonged Absence from Work
The fellow shall notify the Liber Ero Fellowship Program of any illness or other cause necessitating the absence of the applicant from work exceeding ninety successive days. Continuation of the award will be at the discretion of the Director.

Parental Leave
The Liber Ero Fellowship Program does not provide for paid parental leaves of absence. An applicant intending to be absent from work for parental leave will be permitted to have their funding suspended for the duration of the absence. The period of absence cannot exceed twelve months from the start of the leave. A written request for a parental leave of absence must be made within ninety days before the leave is to begin and should include the dates of the period of leave and the expected date of return. The award will be suspended for the duration of the leave and shall recommence when, and if, the recipient returns to the host institution.

Responsibility of Supervisor
It is anticipated that a Supervisor, in their agreement to take on the responsibility of supervising a fellow, agrees to act as supervisor for the entire duration of the project. In the event of extenuating circumstances where a supervisor cannot fulfill their obligation to complete the terms of the award, the Supervisor must notify the Liber Ero Program immediately with a clear explanation for the change.