Additional Benefits

MBTG grants to trainees

 

The MBTG program provides grants to trainees for professional development.  Due to NIH requirements, these funds are available to a trainee only when she/he is supported by the training grant, and not when he/she is supported by other means (e.g., a university fellowship or advisor’s research grant). There are three types of grants: 1) $1000 over the 3 years of support for travel to scientific conferences/courses or to a collaborator’s lab, 2) $1000 over the 3 years of support for research supplies specific to the trainee’s project, and 3) $100 each year of support for society memberships. To take full advantage of this last grant category, you should request funding each year that you are supported by the MBTG. (The grant fiscal year ends June 30, so requests should be made well before that time.)  More information on each category of grant is provided below.

 

Travel funds are intended to defray the cost of attendance of a scientific conference, course, or workshop in the trainee’s research area, or of travel to a collaborator’s lab to pursue work related to the trainee’s thesis research.  Request for travel funds should be emailed to Kim Voss (krvoss@wisc.edu) and should include the name of the meeting, location, and dates of travel. You should provide an estimate of costs associated with the travel and attendance at meeting events, such as registration, airfare, lodging, meals not covered in registration and miscellaneous ground travel. Identify other sources of funding if costs will exceed your available balance of travel allocation. If you have a poster, abstract or paper accepted by the meeting please provide the title and authors in your request; then please acknowledge training grant support in the presented material.  Remember, to qualify for travel funds you must be supported by the training grant at the time you attend the meeting.  Please plan ahead, so that you can utilize your travel allocation before your training grant support terminates.

 

Example request:

“I am requesting approval for MBTG support for travel to the designated American Society of Microbiology meeting, held on May 23-27, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.  I have submitted an abstract that I will present as a poster at this meeting. I plan on leaving Madison, WI on the morning or early afternoon on May 22, arriving in New Orleans that evening. The meeting concludes at May 27 at noon, after which I will depart for Madison. The approximate lodging cost will be $80 + tax for each of 5 nights and the airfare cost will be $250-$300 (based on Travelocity.com estimate with a Saturday night stay). Meal cost is estimated to be ~$200 for the 6 days of the meeting. My registration for this meeting, which is $105, will be paid by my home department, Medical Microbiology & Immunology.”

 

Supplies funds are intended to cover the cost of special materials or services required specifically for the trainee’s project, and the trainee must explain the how the purchase is expected to advance the project. This process gives the trainees some experience in justifying expenditures in writing, and more importantly, it allows the trainees to take some responsibility for the direction of their projects. The MBTG supplies funds give the trainees the freedom to try a risky approach that their thesis advisor may be reluctant to finance. The funds are intended for consumable supplies or services and not for equipment. However, some types of specialized equipment may be approved, such as reusable HPLC or FPLC columns, or a microscope objective lens needed for a procedure not normally done in the lab.  Requests for a computer or general computer equipment are unlikely to be approved, except in special circumstances.

 

Requests for supplies funds should be succinct; a paragraph or two is usually sufficient. The request should 1) identify the items or services to be purchased, 2) describe the experiments the requested items or services will support, and 3) state how the experiments are expected to advance your research project.  Include an estimate of the cost and the name of the vendor/supplier if possible.  Email the request to Christina Hull (cmhull@wisc.edu). Approval will come by reply email, copied to Kim Voss. Multiple separate requests up to the $1,000 limit are acceptable, although multiple small cost item requests do not generally meet the intent of these awards.

 

Example request:

“I would like to request MBTG supply funding to buy antibodies for my research. I study type four secretion in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Type four secretion systems are found in a number of pathogenic bacteria and they secrete protein and/or DNA substrates. The type four secretion system we study secretes DNA and contributes to natural genetic transformation of N. gonorrhoeae.  I am studying a protein, AtlA, that I believe is involved in the early steps of assembly of the type four secretion apparatus. To conduct localization studies with AtlA and study its potential association with other proteins involved in type four secretion, anti-AtlA antibodies would be extremely useful. I plan to use them for western blotting, co-immunoprecipitation, and possibly immunohistochemistry for microscopy. After researching companies that make custom antibodies, I have chosen Pacific Immunology to synthesize my antibodies. I received a quote from a sales representative there and the total cost for the project will be $895. With this package I will get two rabbits, all injections, four bleeds, protein G purification from the third bleed, and serum from a terminal bleed. This also covers shipping costs, care for the rabbits, and a termination fee. This purchase will facilitate key experiments for me to investigate the assembly of the type four secretion apparatus in N. gonorrhoeae.”

 

Society membership funds are intended to help trainees become integrated into the scientific community and receive the associated benefits (publications, meeting discounts, etc.).  Trainees should request the support each year that they are supported by the training grant in advance of renewal deadlines in an email to Kim Voss (krvoss@wisc.edu). The email should state the annual dues or the amount you are requesting. You may pay for the item from personal funds and get reimbursed, or an order can be processed through your departmental office; both will require approval, which releases the fund code. A sentence stating the relevance of the membership to your research is most helpful to the program efforts to request and justify these funds from the sponsor agency NIH.