SMBE IDEA Taskforce - Call for Nominations AND Call for Proposals

SMBE is excited to launch the SMBE IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Initiative. The goals of this initiative are twofold: 1) to increase representation and inclusion in our membership along all axes of diversity; and 2) to collect data on and/or address systemic racism, sexism, colonialism, and other exclusion in our society (see for instance the publication on Progress and Prospects in Gender Visibility at SMBE Annual Meetings

A budget of up to $25,000 will be dedicated each year for this call. Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to members of the molecular evolution research community, at least one of whom must be a member of SMBE. SMBE is now calling for proposals for activities to take place between January 2 2022 and May 30 2022.


Inclusion, Diversity Equity and Access (IDEA) Task Force

Charge: The IDEA Task Force was created to address the challenges faced by under-represented groups in SMBE, in particular, as well as science in general, including providing concrete recommendations for broadening representation and inclusion in all aspects of the society. This group will survey membership about priorities, solicit and be receptive to ideas and suggestions, investigate and discuss possibilities and logistics, and present recommendations to Council on a quarterly basis. Members of Council may also reach out to the IDEA Task Force with questions and suggestions for them to consider. By definition, then, the specific charges of this task force will evolve. Immediate tasks will be to identify priorities for initiatives and programming, recommend recipients of the IDEA awards (formerly Equal Opportunity Awards), and review the criteria and names of our existing awards to better reflect the values of our society.

Structure: The IDEA task force will be advisory to the SMBE Council, and will have 10 members. Two of these members shall be SMBE Councillors. The remaining 8 members-at-large will be selected from SMBE membership external to the Council. To encourage broad participation, former members of Council may not join the task force until a year has passed since their service on Council. There shall be two co-chairs, neither of whom may be Council members. We shall strive to maximize diversity on all axes among the membership.

Process: Members of the Task Force will be solicited from nominees (self-nominations are encouraged) from the SMBE membership. To be considered, nominees must submit a statement of interest that includes a brief description (no more than one page) of why that individual is interested in participating by email to Council will select the members of the task force from among the nominees, considering both their statements and representation. Membership will rotate, such that volunteers will serve for staggered terms of three years.

We call for nominations (including self-nominations) by 15 July 2021. Nominees will be contacted immediately thereafter and asked to provide statements by 15 August 2021. Initial appointment terms will include two 1-year positions, three 2-year positions, and three 3-year positions; if you have a preference for a shorter term, please indicate this when you submit your statement; otherwise terms will be decided arbitrarily by Council.


• A broad range of project types will be considered. Such activities could include organizing workshops or symposia at the annual SMBE meeting. Proposals can also be focused on increasing representation within our membership, such as projects to expand our Society membership along one or more axis of diversity including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, etc. As noted above, proposals can be aimed at data collection in the context of exclusion or activities aimed at addressing exclusion. Specific actions aimed at facilitating inclusion are also appropriate for this initiative. 

• A detailed projected budget must be submitted with the application. Items included will be specific to the activity proposed. Examples include costs related to research actions such as sponsoring a student to gather data that will help describe current trends in diversity and gender within the molecular evolution research community; travel/food/lodging/registration costs for invited speakers or workshop facilitators who do not typically attend the SMBE conference (for instance people from social sciences); etc. 

• Proposals are encouraged to include details for plans about the recruitment of speakers and participants that will ensure broad representation across SMBE membership, including gender and geographical location. 

• Proposals will be received and reviewed by three SMBE Council Members that will make a recommendation to SMBE Council, whose decision is final. The SMBE Council may decide not to support any meetings in any particular year. A proposal that was unsuccessful can be invited for revision and reapplication. 


IDEA proposals should be sent to the Chair of the SMBE IDEA Committee, care of the Secretary (

The deadline for submission of proposals for activities to take place between January 2 2022 and May 30 2022 is September 1 2021.

1. Provide the name(s) and full contact information for all organizer(s) and institution(s) involved. Universities/ organizations providing additional financial support, if involved, should also be listed. If additional funding is being simultaneously applied for, please state the status of that request as well.

2. IDEA summary (4 single-spaced pages max). Describe the rationale for your proposal. In doing so, be sure to clearly state: 

the proposed structure of your activity (e.g., standalone symposium, list of proposed invited speakers, discussions forum, publication, etc.).

            (2) the anticipated short-term and long-term impact of the proposed activity/activities  to improve or assess issues related to inclusion, diversity, equity and access in our community, including measurable outcomes when appropriate; 

(3) the importance and relevance of the activity/activities with respect to observed discriminations;

3. Budget. Please summarize your financial request, including estimated total budget, registration costs (if any), travel support for speakers / trainees / researchers, and details of non-SMBE funds to be used.

4. Conditions of award. Various conditions of the award relevant to the specific activity proposed (i.e. conference insurance, recognition of SMBE, details of reimbursement, time limits for fund usage, etc.) will be discussed with prospective awardees following the selection process and prior to administering the award. The below points apply to all awards. 

• Organizers will be required to submit a copy of the final symposium/session program and a short (~2 page) summary of the symposium/session/research highlights to SMBE Council within 3 months of the event.  The summary should be sent to the Secretary and the Past President of SMBE. 

• Organizers will be required to submit a brief report on their meeting for publication on the SMBE website or, alternatively, in one of the SMBE journals after consultation with the editorial board and appropriate review process.

  • Tuesday, July 06, 2021
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