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MLA Research Training Institute (RTI)

      Application process is closed for RTI '20

Submission Process

Why You Should Attend

The MLA Research Training Institute provides librarians 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 health sciences library professionals 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 13–17, 2020, and develop 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 the research topic submitted, 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
  • completed a graduate program in library and information studies or have equivalent graduate credentials in related information science disciplines
  • able to attend the Research Training Institute workshop in Chicago, July 13–17, 2020
  • ability to pay the institute registration fee of $1,525 by April 1, 2020, in order to hold their space in the institute
  • a citizen and have permanent residence status, in the United States
  • 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 January 17, 2020.
  • Applicants accepted to the institute will be notified in March 2020. 
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be reviewed.
  • Accepted applicants must confirm invitation to attend the institute by April 1, 2020.


The application process consists of submitting the following documents: 

  • application form
  • 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:
    • demographic questions on the form
    • response to questions on learning goals (no more than 300 words)
    • response to question on research topic (no more than 100 words)
    • responses to questions on why the proposed research topic is significant to health sciences librarianship (no more than 300 words)
  • See application 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. 

Application Preparation:

Applicants will need to provide extended answers to 3 questions on the RTI application.

  • Applicants will be asked to describe their learning goals. They 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. (no more than 300 words)
  • Applicants will be asked to describe the research topic that they would like to develop while in the RTI program. (no more than 100 words)
  • Applicants will be asked to answer questions about their research topic? (no more than 300 words)
    • Does research topic address an important issue in health sciences librarianship?
    • How will the findings contribute to the wider profession? 
    • How does research topic fill an existing gap and/or build on existing research? Please include sources and/or or relevant literature (1 or 2 citations) that support the significance of research topic to the wider profession.

PLEASE NOTE that the research topics of accepted applicants will be developed during the institute as they acquire knowledge and explore various approaches and methodologies. Participants will develoip and refine their proposals in collaboration with institute instructors and peers, with the goal of having a well-constructed research project soon after they return to their home institutions.


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

  • Does the applicant provide specific learning goals, reasons of interest, and outcomes from attending the program?
  • Does the applicant provide specific time management strategies?
  • Does the applicant provide a clear, focused and achievable research topic?
  • Does the research topic address an important issue in health sciences librarianship or fill a gap in the health sciences information sciences knowledgebase?
  • Are the literature citations relevant and supportive of need for the proposed research topic?
  • Are the applicant’s answers clear, logical, and well-written?

Ready to Submit an Application for the Research Training Institute?

  • Choose the 2020 Research Training Institute online application form. --CLOSED.
  • 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 January 17, 11:59 p.m. (central time).
  • Incomplete and late submissions will not be considered.
  • Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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