FAQs

What are COMBINE’s eligibility criteria?
Applicants should be University of Maryland, College Park graduate students (in a Ph.D. program) whose research relates to network biology or who are interested in adding a network biology component to their research. Applicants should have at least two years remaining in graduate school in order to fulfill the program’s requirements. Exceptions to this can be made if the applicant can demonstrate they will be able to fulfill the program requirements prior to graduating. Contact combine@umd.edu for more info. To be eligible for an NSF stipend, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Can I apply to the program even if I’m not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident?
Yes! We encourage students to apply to be COMBINE fellows even if they are not eligible to receive an NSF stipend, as they will receive all other COMBINE benefits (including funds for travel to present at conferences).

I’m in a Ph.D. program that wasn’t listed (i.e., not in the physical, mathematical, computer or life sciences). Could I still be eligible? Students from other programs whose research relates to network biology are encouraged to apply. We’ve had students from the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health and from the iSchool as well. If you are unsure about whether or not COMBINE would be a good fit for you, reach out to combine@umd.edu.

My research relates to network biology, but that’s not my primary focus. Should I still apply?
For many COMBINE fellows, network biology will be the primary focus of their dissertation. For others, it will serve to augment and enhance related investigations. We expect that network biology will be an important component in at least one chapter of each COMBINE fellow’s dissertation.

 

What do I get for being a COMBINE fellow?

  • Funding:
    • $34,000 one-year stipends available (on a competitive basis) to applicants who are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents
    • Conference travel funding available to all accepted fellows (including those not receiving stipends)
  • Skills and knowledge:
    • Interdisciplinary training in physical, mathematical, and computational tools needed to do research in network biology
    • COMBINE coursework in network analysis and interdisciplinary communication
    • National and international internship opportunities
    • Professional development, networking, and leadership opportunities
    • Outreach opportunities
  • Receive the Computation and Mathematics for Biological Networks Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

 

What are my responsibilities as a COMBINE fellow? Combine fellows must agree to complete all the required COMBINE components listed below. Typically, our fellows complete these requirements over a 2-year period. 

  • Completion of the following courses:
    • PHYS798T – Interdisciplinary Network Science Seminar (1-credit, Fall only)
    • PHYS798U – Interdisciplinary Network Science Research in Progress (1-credit, Spring only)
    • PHYS798N – Data Practicum at the Intersection of the Physical, Computer, and Life Sciences of the Physical, Computer, and Life Sciences(3 credits, Spring only)
    • CMSC828O – Advanced Topics in Information Processing Computational and Mathematical Analysis of Biological Networks across Scales(3 credits, Fall only)
    • 1-credit elective outside your field of study
    • 3-credit elective outside your field of study
  • Participation in at least one outreach activity
  • Planning of at least one peer-to-peer tutorial
  • Attending COMBINE fellow meetings (about 2 per semester), the COMBINE Annual Symposium, and the COMBINE Career Workshop – barring excused absences (e.g., class conflict, conference, etc.)
  • Engaging in peer mentoring activities, which will involve approximately one meeting per semester and a brief report for each meeting
  • Providing program input through surveys and focus group activities for program evaluation/assessment

If I receive a 12-month stipend, is there flexibility about when it starts?
Yes, for Fall 2019 applicants:

  • Advanced graduate students (in their second year and beyond), who would be ready to take our Data Practicum course in Spring 2020 and join the program in Jan 2020, can request the start date of their funding to be anytime from January 2020 through August 2020.
  • Early graduate students (typically in their first and second years), who would officially join the program in June 2020, can request a stipend start date between June 2020 and September 2020.

 

How do I apply?
We are now accepting applications for Spring/Summer 2020. Applications must be received by December 2, 2019 for full consideration. Apply using the application link to submit:

  1. A current CV
  2. A statement of interest in COMBINE
  3. A statement of prior, current, and future research interests
  4. UMD and undergrad institution transcripts (unofficial is acceptable)
  5. One or two letters of reference