Funded Travelling Fellowships seek people involved in the Science, Technology and Innovation – apply now

In 2015, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing £1.2 million in British citizens, by awarding a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships, in order to mark its 50th anniversary.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

One of the categories is Science, Technology and Innovation , and the application process is now open.

They are particularly interested in applications from people who work in the communication of science and technology, and anyone interested in new ways to encourage interest and participation in science by the public, including via internet dialogues. People also looking at the fusion of arts and science, are encouraged to apply.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employers often also see great benefits with employees returning with new knowledge, skills and ideas to share with others within the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to UK residents over the age of 18, of any ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately 6 weeks overseas.

The deadline for the 2015 applications is 5pm on 23rd September 2014.

Google Wave – first steps

You may have been hearing about this thing called Google Wave; Google’s latest, and very effectively hyped, development.

Google Wave is online communication re-imagined. Google has described it as ‘what email would be like if invented today’. It approaches online communication as a collaborative and ongoing conversation rather than the asynchronous exchange of static messages. One aspect of email that Google Wave rejects is the compose-send-receive workflow that we’ve all become accustomed to.

But rather than think of it as a new version of email, it is perhaps more helpful to approach Google Wave as a collaboration tool, one that draws heavily from instant messaging, document sharing and even RSS feeds – all happening in real time.

What this actually means for web communication will not become clear anytime soon. Access is still by invite only and it is very much a work in progress. Even in these early days, there is clear potential for libraries to use Waves to better facilitate communication with library users.

There is some new terminology to get used to. A ‘wave’ is the conversation channel. These can be public or private. And the name? Well, it’s not a throwback to the 90s internet metaphor of ‘surfing’ but rather a slightly more up-to-date pop culture reference. Characters in Sci-Fi television show Firefly communicated in ‘waves’ and this is reportedly behind the name. Google Wave is also responsible for one of my least-favourite new linguistic inventions; ‘blips’, used to refer to individual contributions or messages.

If you have managed to score an invite, the first steps can be confusing and a touch lonely as many on your contact list may not have access. Public waves are the simplest way of finding your feet. To get started there is one key command you need to know (with:public). From there, you can search, find and follow public waves of interest. There is a handy cheat sheet available. It is also well worth working your way through The Complete Guide to Google Wave.

There are already various waves for librarians in the UK and internationally. But, if it gets too much, you can always take a break by exploring things that are Easier to Understand than Wave.