International Committee

Students at Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar. Photo courtesy of Philippe Cohen.

In 1989, the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) created an International Committee. The OBFS International Committee (IC) serves as the voice for OBFS-member international field stations (IFSs: Stations located outside of the United States) by representing their circumstances, needs, interests, and ways they can contribute to fulfilling the OBFS mission. 

The IC offers IFSs the opportunity to increase the effectiveness of their research, outreach and education initiatives by promoting collaboration, networking, best practices and communication among field stations wherever they are located. The IC also works to recruit IFSs to join the OBFS community.


  • Monthly Meetings - we meet the first Friday of every month to network, share ideas, plan programming
  • The Matching Program - Brings groups of three or more stations together to work on a three-year project or program of their choosing
  • Virtual Cafés - One hour, quarterly virtual meetings to bring stations together to discuss topics of interest (guest speakers and ideas are welcome and encouraged!)
  • Virtual Regional Meetings - Initiated in 2023, these meetings encourage stations within regions to meet and find ways to help each other through OBFS. Regions currently include Europe/Africa, Latin America, and Canada. Additional regions welcome - contact the OBFS IC committee.
  • Travel Awards - These are offered to help stations and early career professionals come to the annual OBFS in-person meetings. 


  • David Maneli, Co-Chair and Matching Program Committee
  • Rhonda Struminger, Co-Chair and Matching Program Committee
  • Jen Gee, Matching Program Committee


The Matching Program

  • Fall: Stations apply to the program
    • Calls for applications are sent out over the OBFS listserv
  • Spring: Matching Program Workshop 
    • Stations meet each other, talk ideas/interests/priorities and identify which stations they most want to partner with
    • The Matching Committee makes the matches!
  • The groups are matched and supported by the program for up to 3 years
  • The years are generally organized as follows:
    • Year 1: Planning
    • Year 2: Development
    • Year 3: Implementation and Deliverables
  • Expected deliverables:
    • Report to the Matching Program Committee and the OBFS Board
      • Summary of the outcomes (e.g., project, mentorship) 
      • What were the benefits and/or challenges of the collaboration?
      • Suggestions?
    • Publish an article in the OBFS Newsletter about the group’s experience with the Matching Program OR Testimonial for the Matching Program to be used on the OBFS Web Site and social media platforms (both should include at least two photos)
    • Present during a concurrent session at the annual OBFS meeting & conference OR a Virtual Café presentation (especially if attendance at the OBFS meeting & conference is not possible)
  • Each group has an annual budget of US$5,000 for up to three years (we encourage groups to find matching funding, use this as seed money for additional funding, and donations back to the program are encouraged!!)
  • OBFS will support up to 6 groups annually. 
  • The matching program committee facilitates the partnerships but each team works independently.
  • Have questions? Contact IC leadership

Virtual Cafés

  • One hour, Quarterly - bring your choice of drink! 
  • When they are scheduled we announce them on the listserv or will add the event to the OBFS calendar.
  • Features station presentations or conversations on topics of interest 
  • We encourage series and use of the program for regional topics!
  • Let IC leadership know if you have some ideas for a guest speaker.

International and Early Career/Student Travel Awards

  • These awards are meant to support attendance at the OBFS Annual Meeting for international and early career/student members.  

Submission Requirements: 

  • Letter of interest from Director of station,
  • Justification of need, (Please designate which award you are applying for)
  • Link to station’s webpage or information,
  • Membership in good standing of OBFS.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Maximum of $2,250 USD per application,
  • A total of 4 awards will be given,
  • 2 awards will be given to international field stations or stations with limited resources**
  • 2 awards will be given to student/early career applicants**
  • To qualify for the student/early career awards you must be enrolled as a student or within 7 years since your graduate degree,
  • Only one award per applying institution,
  • Previous recipients of meeting awards (travel grants) will be considered but priority will be given to new applicants,
  • Stations with limited resources will be considered but priority will be given to international field stations,
  • These awards are provided on a reimbursement basis only (i.e., no funds will be provided ahead of expenses).
  • Allowable expenses include Economy airfare to the meeting location, normal travel expenses (visas, meals, in-route lodging, car rental, train) and registration and workshop fee,
  • Original receipts will be required for reimbursement of allowed expenses,
  • Legible scanned copies of receipts can be emailed to the OBFS treasurer for reimbursement,
  • Membership fees are not reimbursable or allowed as part of the meeting awards.

** If the minimum of 2 applications for the international field stations or if the minimum of 2 applications for the student/early career applicants has not been fulfilled then the selection committee reserves the right to adjust the distribution of awards.