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MLA Librarians without Borders®/ Elsevier Foundation/ Research4Life Grants

The Medical Library Association (MLA) has established the MLA Librarians without Borders® / Elsevier Foundation/ Research4Life Grants for 2016 to 2021. Funded by the Elsevier Foundation, up to five awards per year will support HINARI/R4L training activities that promote the use of the programs’ scientific research resources in emerging/low income countries. The grants will benefit the users in the eligible countries as these individuals will obtain skills to effectively and efficiently use the HINARI/R4L resources and become a training resource for their institutions or country. 

This grant is an expansion of the Elsevier Foundation funded Librarians without Borders®/E-library Training Initiative that has conducted HINARI/R4L training activities and developed/updated training material since January 2007. The MLA objective is to develop a community of librarians that will continue to support HINARI/R4L training and related development of instructional material.

  • Find more information on MLA's global initiative at the Librarians without Borders® web page and blog.
  • The MLA Research Mentoring Program offers research assistance and advice to MLA members.
  • Discounted MLA Membership fees are offered to international health information practitioners from HINARI-eligible Group A or Group B countries.   

Examples of possible proposals include:

  • Conduct workshops either as co-teacher with current E-library Training Initiative coordinator or at an institution where the applicant/organization has ties or currently is employed. Such proposals could include transportation and per-diem plus ‘in-country’ expenses for a workshop and a discretionary fund to support subsequent in-country training.
    • Trainer will need to demonstrate institutional support and a commitment to continue to work with key contact(s) in the workshop’s institution or country– as a facilitator for further activities.
  • Organize and teach R4L distance learning courses for specific audiences.
  • Organize a regional U.S. based workshop for information specialists interested in HINARI/R4L activities and/or researchers, faculty or students from institutions that have linkages with R4L registered organizations.
  • Create a new training module, distance learning course or training video or develop other distance learning formats.
  • Increase mechanisms for promoting/marketing of HINARI & R4L programs and their training resources.
  • Develop measurement tools regarding outcomes of training activities.
  • Raise awareness of MLA members.


  • Applicants are required to hold a professional library or information science qualification, but in the case of exceptional candidates this criterion may be waived. Transcripts or a copy of the diploma should be sent with all applications.
  • Applicants must be currently employed in a health and/or sciences/law library or a related science/legal information organization or retirees from such establishments, or individuals in ‘information science’ academic positions or from non-governmental agencies focusing on R4L disciplines.
  • Applications will be accepted from previously funded individuals or institutions.
  • Individuals and/or institutions are eligible to submit proposals.
  • Applicants are not required to be members of MLA.  


  • The grant award is contingent upon completion of the project within 15 months of notification of the award.
  • Agreement to submit an interim (9 month) and final reports to MLA’s Librarians Without Borders® The final report that focuses on the results of the project will be posted on the LWB Blog and may be published in other health/science-related information venues or journals.
  • More than one grant may be offered in a year. Grants range from $1500 to $5000 and are distributed in one payment.
  • To maximize the impact of the grant funds in emerging/low income countries, MLA will not accept institutional overhead fees/indirect costs in project budgets.
  • Projects that require travel will be reimbursed only for actual travel after the trip; expense statements and receipts must be submitted to MLA. 
  • Grant funds (excluding travel) are distributed in June following the MLA annual meeting..
  • If there are no appropriate applications, as reviewed by the jury, the association may elect not to fund a grant or multiple grants in a given year.
  • MLA will acknowledge applications upon receipt via email.

Application Checklist

  • A detailed proposal limited to six single spaced pages and if applicable, a spreadsheet and timeline appendices. The proposal must explain the following:
    • The objectives of the project in the context of HINARI/R4L training activities.
    • A project timeline that clearly notes the proposed activities to be conducted within 15 months.Detailed information on how the grant funds will be used. Note: allowable expenses depend on the project submitted. In the case of a workshop, it can include international travel and per diem for a trainer and other costs associated with completion of the program.
    • Detailed budget information, including additional funding sources.
    • Inclusion of measurement/evaluation tools during the project and, if possible, post-project outputs.
    • Plans for reporting on the project, such as an MLA annual meeting paper or poster or health/science related venues including relevant journals.
  • Current curriculum vitae of the applicant or principal contact.
  • Academic transcripts, or a copy of diploma, from the applicant or principal contact.
  • Three references letters from individuals, not related to the applicant, that include observations regarding the project’s feasibility.
  • Additional documentation related to the applicant’s qualifications to complete the project.  
  • Inclusion of in-kind contributions or additional direct funding from the institution or organization and/or identification of key participants besides those submitting the grant.
  • The completed online application and all additional documentation must be received no later than December 1.

NOTE:  Incomplete submissions will not be considered. 

Ready to Submit an Application?

  • Choose the 2020 Librarians without Borders® / Elsevier Foundation/ Research4LifeGrant application.  
  • Once saved, the application remains open for changes or to upload supporting documents until December 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. (CDT). 
  • Incomplete and late submissions will not be considered.

Past Grant Projects

2019 Grant Recipients

  • Karin Saric, Norris Library, University of Southern California–Los Angeles; Sarah Young, Hunt Library, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; Erin RB Eldermire, Flower-Sprecher Library, Veterinary College, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Masimba Clyde Muziringa, College of Health Sciences Library, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; and Israel Mbekezeli Dabengwa, Library, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
    • HINARI and Systematic Review Training in Zimbabwe
  • Alan Fricker, St. Thomas’ House Library, St. Thomas’ Hospital, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
    • HINARI Training in Sierra Leone

  • Ebele Nkiru Anyaoku, Medical Library, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria
    • Search for Health Care Literature Training in Nigeria

2018 Grant Recipients

  • Emily J. Glenn, McGoogan Library of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center–Omaha
    • Project will conduct training on HINARI and R4L resources in Gitwe, Rwanda/February 2019 for University of Gitwe students, faculty and staff, Gitwe Hospital clinicians, and regional librarians. Trainer will be embedded with the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology team's fourth year Medical Student rotation to University of Gitwe.

  • Xan Goodman, AHIP, Lied Library, University of Nevada–Las Vegas and Jill Barr-Walker, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Library, University of California, San Francisco
    • By conducting training at the organization’s conference, project will enhance research capacity for members of the Nigeria Implementation Science Initiative (NISA). This builds on the established partnership between NISA and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (See September 2018 Report and Evaluation)

  • Phuntsho Norbu, Faculty of Nursing and Public Health Library, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan, Thimphu, Bhutan
    • R4Life training workshop for the librarians of tertiary institutions in Bhutan to improve access to R4Life programs.
    • Project will hold a three-day “train the trainers” workshop targeting library workers of the tertiary institutions within the country and the National Library and Archives of Bhutan. The training will enhance scholarly information access skills for institution’s librarians and have a downstream effect once the participants return to their organizations. See November 2018 Report.

  • Mboni Amiri Ruzegea, Library Services, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    • Developing Research4Life interactive online training videos and open learning platform (OLP) to enhance research, teaching-learning experiences in higher learning institutions.
    • Using this interactive OLP, project will develop R4L training videos that will enhance knowledge retention and self-paced learning. At the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences and the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (Tanzania), face-to face workshops will be conducted for librarians and faculty members.

2017 Grant Recipients

  • Israel Mbekezeli Dabengwa, Library, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
    • Information Literacy Skills Training and Digital Fluency in HINARI/Research4Life Resources for Healthcare Practitioners 
    • The project aims to strengthen the healthcare trainers in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces to become information literate and digitally fluent in the use of HINARI/Research4Life resources in order to teach other healthcare practitioners to improve outcomes in patients care, teaching, learning and research. See April 2018 report.

  • Irena G. Dryankova-Bond, Blais Family Library, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Science–Worcester, USA and Nguyen Hai Ha, Library and Information Center, Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
    • Improving Access and Use of HINARI/Research 4Life Resources by Health Professionals in Vietnam
    • Deliver training to health professionals in Vietnam, including public health professionals and pharmacists, and develop a new drug information module, improve existing EBM training module and exercises, and explore the development of open source educational technologies module to facilitate use of HINARI resources. See October 2018 report.
  • Lydia Hull Witman, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia–Charlottesville, USA
    • Develop and deliver an integrated program of in-person and remote-site HINARI/R4L training to the faculty and staff of a regional Guatemala public teaching hospital, students of its associated medical schools, and caregivers and staff of several area NGO’s, all located in the western Altiplanos region of Guatemala; this process will include the development of an online portal to provide efficient access to HINARI/R4L materials, as well as other valuable information resources. See October 2018 report.

  • Sarah Young, Mellon Institute Library, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    • Building Systematic Review Capacity in Developing World Librarians Using Research4Life Databases
    • This project will enhance the use of HINARI/Research4Life resources and increase outreach activities and training opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa by building capacity amongst librarians to perform systematic reviews of questions relevant to health and agriculture. See June 2018 report.

2016 Grant Recipients

  • Martha Cecilia Garcia, Coordinator National Library of Medicine, Honduras, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras
    • E-Library Training and Access Enhancement to Research For Health Resources, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, 2016-2017
    • The project plans to train trainers on HINARI/R4L resources, on reference management and knowledge organization tools, including personnel at UNAH and other public and private universities. Additionally, to train information users (pre-grade/postgraduate students, faculty, researchers and health workers) on HINARI/R4L information resources. Finally, to constitute a library network of training centers for HINARI/R4L. See May 2018 report.
  • Karin Saric, Information Services Librarian, Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California, USA
    • Coordinate and conduct three HINARI workshops that support use of HINARI by specific user groups, and certify local trainers in Ghana, a Research4Life Group A country. Two of the workshops will support HINARI/R4L training activities that promote use of the programs’ scientific research and clinical resources by Allied Health students/professionals in Ghana. A broader HINARI Train the Trainers workshop will serve to certify local trainers from a variety of professional groups who can go on to train others at their institutions. See April 2017 report.
  • Alemayehu Bisrat, Health Informatics Expert and Project Coordinator, Center for eHealth, College of Health Sciences, Tikur Anbessa Specialized Teaching and Referral Hospital, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
    • HINARI/R4L Training Workshop for Postgraduate students of College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
    • The project team will organize and conduct a HINARI/R4L Training workshop for postgraduate students. The major objective is to enhance the quality of research and education through effective use of free and low cost electronic information resources available to developing countries focusing on the HINARI/R4L Database and resources. See April 2018 report.
  • Dativa Tibyampansha, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Tanzania and Megan von Isenburg, Duke University, North Carolina, USA
    • Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College – Duke University Collaboration for Online Videos
    • This jointly administered project will update the online tutorials at videos to facilitate just-in-time, self-directed learning independent of HINARI training workshops. These videos will be updated to reflect new interface changes and migrated to a new platform to simplify future updates. See March 2017 report.

Have a question? Contact MLA's grants coordinator.