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Call for Applications to the

MLA Research Training Institute (RTI)

Applications must be received by December 8, 2017.

  • Find out more about the application process and requirements below.
  • Submit an online application.

Submission Process

Why You Should Attend

The MLA Research Training Institute provides librarians and library information professionals with the opportunity to work intensively for one week on research design and planning to conduct research that improves practice and adds to the professional knowledgebase. Institute training is geared for library professionals with novice or intermediate research and experience who have a strong interest in research but do not possess the skills and confidence to conduct research on their own. It also provides a unique opportunity to network with colleagues for future research learning, collaboration, and success.

Institute Activities

Participants will be expected to:

  • participate in pre-institute learning activities
  • attend the Research Training Institute workshop in Chicago from July 9–13, 2018, and revise their research proposal during the workshop
  • commit to conducting their research in the twelve months following the institute
  • participate regularly in the online community of practice that supports them after the workshop: update institute instructors and peers on the status of their research project and offer support to the others conducting their research
  • share their research by submitting it for an MLA annual meeting presentation or a peer-reviewed publication
  • participate in program assessment activities, providing the project director with periodic updates on research activities that have been completed and on presentations or publications resulting from their research

Application Procedures

Each institute is limited to twenty participants to ensure an environment that fosters group interaction, participation, and cohesion.  While there is no limit to the number of applications that may come from one institution, only one applicant will be selected from a single institution per year.

Using a competitive process, an MLA Research Training Institute Jury will review and select applicants based on scholarship and institute eligibility requirements. The selection criteria will focus on commitment to learning research skills, the quality and promise of a proposal, work experience, and professional contributions. All application materials and selection processes will be handled confidentially.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • employed as a health sciences library professional or as a library professional who provides health information, support, and services to health care professionals, researchers, educators, students, patients, consumers, or the public
  • a citizen of, or have permanent residence status, in the United States
  • able to attend the Research Training Institute workshop in Chicago, July 9–13, 2018
  • novice or intermediate research skills or experience; ineligible applicants include individuals with a doctorate in library and information sciences (LIS) or related fields, or those with extensive experience as first authors of research articles or reports in peer-reviewed publications
  • ability to pay the institute registration fee of $1,000 by May 1, 2018, in order to hold their space in the institute
  • membership in MLA is NOT required

Scholarships and Research Funding

A variety of scholarship opportunities are available to Research Training Institute applicants in need of financial support. MLA also offers an array of funding opportunities to enable practicing health sciences librarians to pursue research and professional development.

Applicants applying for scholarships or other research funding should note the following:

  • The research project proposed for the institute must not have been previously funded by MLA.
  • Applicants may apply for additional funding opportunities available through MLA or other funding institutions (i.e., MLA chapters, MLA sections, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), etc.).

Application Instructions 

Please thoroughly review the instructions below before beginning the application process.


  • Applications for the Research Training Institute are accepted until December 8, 2017.
  • Applicants accepted to the institute will be notified in March 2018. 
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be reviewed.
  • Accepted applicants must confirm invitation to attend the institute by May 1, 2018.


The application process consists of submitting the following documents: 

  • application form
  • research proposal
  • CV or biosketch
  • letter of support

Some information should be prepared for a blind review. This means that on designated blind documents, the applicant's name and institution should not be included in the file names, headers, or body of the text. 

Materials for Blind Review:

  • Some responses to application form questions, including the demographic questions for eligibility (designated on form).
  • Essay on learning goals (no more than 300 words). Applicants will be asked to explain why they are applying and what they hope to gain from participation in the institute; also, how they will manage their time and balance research tasks with workplace demands throughout the year-long process.
  • Research proposal. See Research Proposal Preparation for details on the components.

Non-Blind Materials:

  • Non-blinded questions on the application form, including a signed statement of terms and conditions.
  • Curriculum vitae or biographical sketch.  A good source of information for formatting CVs is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biosketch Format.
  • Letter of support from director, dean, or administrator indicating support for participation in the yearlong institute. 

Research Proposal Preparation:

The research proposal for the institute must be a new proposal (not yet implemented), and it must not have been previously funded by MLA. The proposal should be no more than 600 words and include the following elements:

  • Abstract: Provide a brief description of research project (up to 200 words).
  • Research question: Provide a clear problem statement and research question.
  • Literature review: Provide a brief overview of the scholarly literature related to your research proposal.
  • Significance of research: Describe the significance of the research project to library practice or to the profession of health sciences librarianship.
  • Proposed approach and methodology: Describe the approach and design that you anticipate will be employed to answer the research question. Note the targeted population and setting.
  • Timeline: Provide a timeline of your research plans, any resources needed, plans for disseminating results, etc.

PLEASE NOTE that the draft proposal of accepted applicants will continue to evolve during the institute as they acquire knowledge and explore various approaches and methodologies. Participants will revise and refine their proposals in collaboration with institute instructors and peers, with the goal of having a well-constructed research project to conduct once they return to their home institutions.


As you prepare and revise your proposal, perform a self-assessment or ask a colleague or mentor to consider the following questions about the proposal:

  • Is there a clear and focused research question or study purpose?
  • Is the literature review relevant and supportive of need for the proposed research?
  • How well does the proposed research project address an important issue in health sciences librarianship or fill a gap in the health sciences information sciences knowledgebase?
  • Is the methodology well-described and appropriate for this type of research question?
  • How clearly are the setting and participants, and needed resources defined?
  • Is the proposal clear, logical, and well-written?

Ready to Submit an Application for the Research Training Institute?

  • Choose the 2018 Research Training Institute online APPLICATION FORM
  • MLA members must login.  
  • Non MLA members must create a guest user profile to login.  See MLANET login page.
  • Complete online form and upload all documents no later than December 8, 11:59 p.m. (central time).
  • Incomplete and late submissions will not be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do I have to write a draft research proposal?

  • The draft research proposal serves two purposes: it allows you to demonstrate your current skills in conceptualizing a research project, and it starts you thinking through the project you will complete, should you be accepted into the institute. Proposals do not need to be flawless. Part of what you will learn in the institute is how to write a strong research proposal. If you are new to research, you may want to consult the resources in the Planning Your Research Project section of the Health Sciences Librarian Research Guide to find information on research concepts and terminology, formulating a research question, and research methodologies.

How does previous research apply versus brand new?

  • Your proposed research project for the institute must be a new project that you have not yet implemented. The institute will help you improve your proposal and plan the execution of your research. Having done some exploration of the project or pilot data collection is fine.

Are collaborative projects welcome?

  • In the case of a group research research project, only one applicant should apply to participate in the institute, and the applicant’s role should be clearly explained in the project proposal.

Are multiple applicants from the same institution allowed?

  • Multiple applicants from the same institution may apply with independent projects.  However, only one applicant from an institution will be selected to help ensure a diverse cohort for each institute.

How do I login to apply if I am not an MLA member?

  • Go to the login page on MLANET and choose “Register as a free guest” to obtain a username and password, which allow you to apply for the institute.

Can I apply to other MLA research or professional development grants?

  • Applicants are welcome to apply for additional funding from MLA and other sources to defray the costs of the proposed research project or of attending the institute. Please indicate this funding on the application form. Note that applicants for other MLA grants are generally notified in March of each year.

 Contact Maria Lopez at MLA with additional questions about the application process or the institute.

Institute Partners

MLA gratefully recognizes the following partners for their generous support: