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Consumer Stipends

Application deadline for stipends has passed. Notifications will be sent out by Monday 4 July 2011.

The Cochrane Collaboration is committed to the active involvement of consumers and consumer advocates in the preparation and dissemination of systematic reviews and in furthering the aims of The Cochrane Collaboration.

Stipends to help cover travel costs and other expenses associated with attending the Cochrane Colloquium in Madrid, Spain, 19-22 October 2011, are available for consumers from both developed and developing countries that are actively contributing to The Cochrane Collaboration. Funds are, however, very limited, so if you can find some or all the money you need from another source (such as your local consumer or self-help group, or the Cochrane entity with which you are involved), please do so. Before submitting your application for a consumer stipend, please read the following criteria and application instructions carefully. Please note that the application form has been partly changed since last year.

Application criteria
Individuals who wish to apply for a stipend must be:

  1. active contributors to The Cochrane Collaboration as a consumer or consumer advocate; active involvement must have started no later than one year before the Colloquium.
  2. able to attend the entire Colloquium. Make sure that the conference dates do not conflict with any other commitment you may have, and that your employer is happy for you to attend the Colloquium. We will not fund partial attendance of the Colloquium.
  3. strongly recommended by a Cochrane entity (Review Group, Field, Network, Centre) or an individual highly involved with Cochrane. You will be asked to request a letter of support from the Cochrane entity that you are most closely associated with (see below for details).

Who is considered a consumer or consumer advocate?
The Cochrane Collaboration defines a health consumer as someone who is affected by a health condition, or who uses or is entitled to use a health related service, and who is generally not a health professional or practitioner. A consumer advocate or representative is a consumer who is actively involved with other consumers and is able to represent the perspectives and concerns of that broader group of people.

The Cochrane Consumer Network considers its members to be people who contribute as consumers to The Cochrane Collaboration, particularly in giving their views on the relevance and readability of Cochrane reviews, and who support the aims of the Consumer Network.

Application recommendations and limitations

  • Partial funding: To be able to fund as many people as possible to attend the Colloquium, our preference is to provide partial support only. Your chances of receiving a stipend are higher if you are able to cover part of the costs yourself or from other sources. The application form will ask for information on other organisations that you have contacted to obtain funding.
  • Geographical and cultural proximity: People from the region and neighbouring regions where the Collloquium is held or that have a cultural relation to the host country (i.e. Europe, Northern Africa and Latin America) are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Cochrane employees: Applicants that are employed and paid by a Cochrane entity are expected to cover at least 25% of their costs themselves.  
  • Newcomers and low and middle income country residents: Given sufficient funds, a limited number of stipends will be set aside to ensure the participation of newcomers to The Cochrane Collaboration and consumers from developing countries.

Judgement of applications
Applicants will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • contribution to the work of The Cochrane Collaboration
  • contribution to consumer activities in the community
  • contribution to the Colloquium programme
  • anticipated gains from attending the Colloquium
  • ability to raise partial funds to support attendance
  • geographical proximity to the Colloquium host country
  • recommendation from a Cochrane entity
  • previous receipt of a Colloquium stipend

What costs are covered?
Funds may be available for one or more of the following:

  • Travel to and from Madrid (most economical return air fare)
  • Ground travel expenses from your home to the airport
  • Visa and travel insurance
  • Accommodation at one of the Colloquium hotels for a maximum of 6 nights
  • Registration fee, which entitles you to attend all sessions, conference materials, lunches and coffee breaks from 19-22 October 2011 incl. attendance at the social events
  • Allowance for ground travel and meals not included in the registration fee

How to apply

1. Submit your application

People who wish to be included in the selection process are required to complete the online application form and to create a user account on the Colloquium website. Once you created an account, log in and complete the application form under the menu ‘Make a submission’. Application deadline is Monday 30 May 2011.

2. Request a letter of support

Request a letter of support from the Cochrane entity that you are most closely associated with and that can best explain the extent of your contributions to The Cochrane Collaboration. Alternatively, you can request a letter of support from an individual that is highly involved with Cochrane, if you feel that this person is better suited to support your application than any entity. Please don’t request more than one letter of support. The committee will not consider more than that.

Make sure to contact your nominated entity or individual early in the process to request your letter of support. Guidelines for entities on how to compose support letters have been sent out to all Cochrane entities through the entity mailing lists. Letters of support must be sent directly from the Cochrane entity or individual to the Colloquium Stipends Secretariat at consumerstipends@cochrane.org. Deadline for sending letters of support is Monday 30 May 2011.

Please note: Don’t register for the Colloquium before you receive notification of the result of your stipend application.

Selection and notification of stipend recipients
All submitted applications will be screened and those meeting the eligibility criteria will be considered by the Consumer Stipends Committee. The members of the Consumer Stipends Committee are:

Catherine McIlwain, UK (Co-Chair)
Caroline Rouse, UK (Co-Chair)
David Rigau, Spain
Liz Whamond, Canada
Mingming Zhang, China

You will be notified of the results of your application by Monday 4 July 2011.

Further help
If you require assistance with your application, please contact Caroline Rouse and Juliane Ried at consumerstipends@cochrane.org.