SILVERTHORNE, CO - August 11, 2015 - Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology has received a fifth three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help fund conferences in its Global Health Series as well as Travel Awards for scientific investigators and clinicians from low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to attend. At the conferences based in LMICs, the grant also funds registration costs for local delegates who would not otherwise be able to afford the participation costs.
Consisting of $2.25 million in funding over three years - or $750,000 per year - the grant provides support for conferences in calendar years 2016, 2017and 2018. It can fund conferences on a broad array of global health topics including infectious disease, nutrition and health, child and maternal health and development, and veterinary and agricultural challenges. Approximately half of the grant is used to fund Global Health Travel Awards for investigators, clinicians, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from LMICs where the topics of the meetings are endemic. To date, more than 1,800 individuals from more than 50 countries have participated in Keystone Symposia conferences as a result of Global Health Travel Awards.
A Colorado, USA-based nonprofit organization, Keystone Symposia received four previous grants from the Foundation, beginning in 2004. Current funding ends in 2015 for the Keystone Symposia conference on "Human Nutrition, Environment and Health" in Beijing, China that convenes October 14-18, 2015 prior to the 2015 Grand Challenges meeting for that program's grantees. Keystone Symposia typically holds one Global Health Series conference each year in conjunction with the Grand Challenges meeting.
The May 2016 Keystone Symposia conference on "New Approaches to Vaccines for Human and Tropical Veterinary Diseases" in Cape Town, South Africa will be funded with Gates Foundation support. Additionally, travel awards will be awarded for the following meetings: "Tuberculosis: Co-Morbidities and Immunopathogenesis" in Keystone, Colorado, USA in February 2016, and "HIV Persistence: Pathogenesis and Eradication" and the joint conference on "HIV Vaccines" in Olympic Valley, California, USA in March 2016. Conferences to be funded in Keystone Symposia's fiscal year 2017 (July 2016 to June 2017) will be announced later in 2015.
A unique component of the Global Health Series meetings that the funding also supports is a pre-meeting workshop for Travel Awardees in which three to four speakers provide an overview of the field and the latest research findings. These workshops have proved extremely valuable to those participants engaged in field work or clinical care and therefore not as close to the latest basic research. The grant will also help fund some registration costs for local scientists, postdoctoral associates and students.
Finally, a new component of the 2016-2018 grant is that it will fund visits for Travel Awardees to a local research institute near the conference site for further learning and collaboration-building. And it will fund costs of digitally recording and broadcasting the Travel Awardee pre-meeting workshops so that the content can be shared more broadly with the scientific community.
Dr. Jane L. Peterson Chief Executive Officer of Keystone Symposia, said of the grant: "We are enormously grateful to the Gates Foundation for its generous funding of our Global Health Series. The conferences and other programs funded by this grant directly enable the vital building of science capacity in low and middle-income countries."
Dr. David Woodland, Keystone Symposia's Chief Scientific Officer, added: "Support from the foundation promotes the global collaboration and cooperation that are essential for tackling the key health challenges of our time. In particular, participants are able to share data and ideas, forge new cross-disciplinary collaborations with investigators from all over the world, and obtain valuable guidance and mentoring."
About Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology
Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been conducting internationally renowned, open scientific conferences since 1972 and has been headquartered in Summit County, Colorado since 1990, when the organization left the University of California at Los Angeles. Annually, Keystone Symposia holds more than 50 meetings involving more than 13,000 scientists from around the world. Registration fees are supplemented by generous monetary support from corporate, foundation and individual donors as well as government grants.
The organization will convene 59 conferences in its 2015-2016 season. In addition to the Global Health Series conferences, other meetings cover diverse topics in the areas of basic cell biology; cancer; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; development and stem cells; drug discovery; genetics, genomics and epigenetics; immunology; molecular biology; neuroscience; and plant biology.