-Natural History Collections: Drivers of Innovation-

 The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan invites nominations of outstanding scientists early in their careers to participate in an exciting symposium about innovative and unconventional uses of biological collections across scientific disciplines. The symposium events will take place from the 13-15 March 2020, on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Eight early career scientists will be selected to present their work and generate intriguing discussions at the 2020 ECSS symposium. In addition, two keynote speakers will be featured in the symposium. We welcome nominations of early career scientists who study and utilize natural history collections in new and potentially unexpected ways. We envision this symposium as a way to showcase the often-unrealized opportunities and non-traditional avenues of research that museum collections make possible to the entire scientific community, and emphasize some of the interdisciplinary ways in which collections are being or could be used. We hope to foster a broader understanding and expanded use of the incomparable resource that is a biological collection. This symposium aims to highlight the work of up-and-coming scientists whose research interests span a breadth of disciplines in collections work including but not limited to: comparative genomics, bioengineering, climate change, historical pathogen dynamics, and many, many more. We both advocate for and champion diversity and strongly encourage the nomination of members from groups traditionally underrepresented in science.

Early career scientists are considered senior graduate students (who stand to receive their Ph.D. within one year), postdoctoral researchers, and first- or second-year faculty. A colleague or advisor must provide the nomination.

Nomination materials must include a brief letter of recommendation addressing the nominee’s scientific promise and ability to give a compelling talk, nominee’s curriculum vitae, and a brief abstract of the proposed presentation (< 200 words, written by the nominee).

Nominations should be sent electronically as a single PDF file to using the subject line format, “nominee’s Last Name, First Name ECSS 2020 Nomination”.

Review of nominations will begin on January 7, 2020.

Selected participants will be contacted in mid-January and will have all expenses covered (registration, travel, and accommodation). An official announcement of the slate of speakers will be issued soon thereafter.

Information about Early Career Scientist Symposia held in past years can be found at For more information, please contact Linda Garcia at

The 2020 Early Career Scientists Symposium scientific committee includes:
Jenna Crowe-Riddell
Sonal Gupta
Hernán Lopez-Fernandez, chair
Benjamin Nicholas
Teresa Pegan
Brad Ruhfel
Cody Thompson
Taylor West