IBTN-ISBM LMIC Travel Awards

Advanced Training in the Development, Testing, and Implementation of Behavioural Interventions

Updated February 25, 2020


The overall goal of this US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded program is to provide a continuum of interactive and skill-based mentored research training for a group of New Investigators from low and middle-income countries (LMIC) in the development and testing of behavioural interventions.

Awardees will be provided funds to be able to:

  • Attend the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN) 2020 Summer School (Montreal, Canada, May 24-30, 2020);
  • Undertake a series of web-based meetings with assigned IBTN-ISBM mentors that focus on applying the skills learned during the IBTN summer school to a specific project protocol (May until August 2020);
  • Attend the International Congress of Behavioural Medicine (ICBM) 2020 Meeting, hosted by ISBM, including a specific LMIC trainee-targeted pre-conference ISBM-IBTN workshop (Glasgow, Scotland, August 19-22, 2020);
  • Present a webinar in their country alongside one of their IBTN-ISBM mentors and their defined local mentor, see application process (September to December 2020).

Description of the IBTN-ISBM Training Program Activities

  1. The IBTN Summer School: The Summer School is a weeklong program (May 24-30, 2020) for a highly selected, limited number of outstanding international early career investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. Throughout the Summer School, individuals are placed into teams of 6 based on their content areas of interest (e.g., physical activity interventions, smoking cessation, weight management). Teams are led by an internationally recognized mentor with experience in behavioural interventions.
  2. Web-based meetings: After the Summer School, each LMIC trainee will be assigned to one of the IBTN-ISBM mentors from the Summer School. The assigned mentor will be selected to align with the content or methodological focus of the trainee. Between the Summer School (May 2020) and the ICBM meeting (August 2020), the mentor will meet with the trainee at least twice via web conference. The goal will be for the mentor to assist the trainee in further developing and adapting the protocol that they worked on during the Summer School to their specific environment and situation.
  3. International Congress of Behavioural Medicine: The LMIC trainees will participate in the ICBM, the ISBM’s biennial conference. In addition to participating in the main meeting (see details here), there will be an ISBM-IBTN led half-day pre-conference session that will be held specifically for the LMIC trainees. During this session, each trainee will present their protocol to the panel of mentors, for which they will get immediate and written feedback. Then, the second half of the session will be dedicated to learning practical skills for grant writing, with a focus on how to turn their protocol into a competitive grant application that may be adapted for local funding opportunities.
  4. National webinar presentation: Finally, before the end of 2020, each LMIC trainee will deliver a webinar in their country alongside their IBTN-ISBM and local mentors. This would allow the trainee to gain exposure within their own country as well as forwarding IBTN’s and ISBM’s goals of improving behavioural medicine capacity and research more broadly. The webinar infrastructure would be provided by IBTN and publicity would be coordinated between IBTN, ISBM, and the trainee to gain as broad an audience as possible.


  • Applicants need to be early career professionals (e.g., fellows, faculty) within 5 years of starting their first independent academic position (not including career interruptions such as parental leave). Though the definition of an independent academic position varies across country it is intended that the position would be one which would allow the applicant to be able to apply, as the nominated principal investigator, for research funding to conduct studies.
  • Current full-time Master’s and PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible for this training award.
  • Applicants need to be currently employed in an institution in a low or middle-income country (please refer to the list of low and middle-income countries based on the World Bank classification)
  • Applicants need to identify a local mentor who will write them a letter as part of the application process. Ideally, this person would be a senior member of their institution who will be able to provide guidance on how to set up studies and apply for local funding. The local mentor also needs to confirm the applicant has an independent academic position and commit to participating in the webinar that the trainee will give after the ICBM conference.
  • There are no restrictions as to the applicant’s age.
  • Applicants with no history of external project funding will be given priority over applicants with a history of considerable external project funding.
  • Applicants do not need to have a history of conducting behavioural interventions, but must have an interest and plan to conduct them in the future.

Terms of the Award

  • Applicants must commit to participate in all elements of the described IBTN-ISBM training program (see above).
  • Applicants are responsible for making necessary arrangements related to any required travel or other visas, in consultation with IBTN and ISBM.
  • The local mentor must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to work with the applicant after the end of the program.
  • The following expenses may be eligible for reimbursement:
    • Economy-class airfare to Montreal and Glasgow (arrival and departure within one day of training activity);
    • Meals per Diem in Montreal and Glasgow;
    • Lodging per Diem in Montreal and Glasgow;
    • Visa fees for Canada and Scotland;
    • Ground transport (taxi from airport to training venue and back in Montreal and Glasgow);
    • Medical insurance for travel in Canada and Scotland.
  • All trainees will be required to submit their reimbursement requests within 2 weeks of the end of the IBTN Summer School and Conference (i.e. by June 12, 2020), and of the ICBM Meeting (i.e. September 4, 2020).
  • One year after receiving the award, the trainee will complete a 2-3 page form for the IBTN-ISBM Travel Award Committee detailing the impact the program has had on their academic growth and achievement including: goals achieved; collaborations formed; projects developed; projects funded; publications; students trained; etc. Successful applicants will receive a link to the form one year following receipt of the award.
  • If they are not already IBTN members, successful applicants will be asked to become IBTN members in order to accept their offer of admission to the IBTN Summer School.

Application Documents

The Applicant must complete the online application form, which will ask to upload the following:

  1. A maximum 2-page Biosketch CV
  2. A maximum 2-page letter of motivation (11 pt. font, ½ inch (1.27 cm) margins) in which the applicant must:
    • a. Describe the purpose and anticipated benefit of their participation in the IBTN-ICBM training program;
    • b. Identify their relevant background;
    • c. Outline their long term research (career) goals;
    • d. Provide evidence of communication with the local research mentor (prior communication/discussion with the local mentor is expected);
    • e. Outline of plan for continued collaboration with the local research mentor.
  3. A letter of support from a local research mentor (which should be about one-page), in which he or she:
    • a. Commits to providing ongoing local support;
    • b. Agrees to participate in the national webinar;
    • c. Testifies to any previous communication with applicant as well as the applicant’s qualifications and current job status;
    • d. Confirms that he or she has sufficient time and resources to support continued mentorship.

Selection Process

Applicants will be competitively considered for funding by a committee composed of IBTN and ISBM representatives. With a specific emphasis on the following elements:

  1. relevance of applicant’s background and long term research (career) goals;
  2. potential of applicant for conducting research in their own country and region;
  3. qualification of applicant;
  4. support of the local mentor;
  5. potential for continued scientific collaboration and networking.


Applicants will be notified via email regarding the outcome of their applications by March 9, 2020.

Application Form

The deadline to apply for the 2020 competition has passed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a research mentor? A research mentor is an experienced researcher who provides guidance, advice, and support in your development as an independent researcher. This can mean helping you define and achieve your research goals; discussing your progress; introducing you to collaborators and colleagues to help you build your own networks; providing feedback on your scientific work; etc.

Does my local mentor need to be in my institution? It would be optimal for your local mentor to be at the same institution to you, though it is not essential. Mentors outside your institution will need to describe how they intend to maintain their mentorship role.

Can my local mentor obtain funding from this award? No. This award only provides funding for the participation of new investigators in the IBTN-ISBM training program (described above).

When is the deadline for applications? Applications for the 2020 competition are due March 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. (your local time).

How do I submit my application? Complete the online form, and follow the form’s instructions for uploading all required documents, including the support letter from your mentor.

Are periods of career disruption counted when calculating eligibility? Yes. For example, if you started your first independent position in January 2015 and you took a period of 6 months maternity/parental leave in 2015, that would be calculated as 5 years since starting your position as of May 2020.

Does the mentor’s letter of support need to be submitted separately? No. It is a requirement that all application documentation is submitted at once through the online application form.

When will I be notified of the outcome of my application? Applicants will be notified, by email, of the outcome of their application by March 9, 2020.


If you have additional questions, please contact us at team@ibtnetwork.org.