Consumer stipends

Cochrane is committed to the active involvement of consumers and consumer advocates in the preparation and dissemination of systematic reviews and in furthering the aims of Cochrane.

Stipends to help cover travel costs and other expenses associated with attending the
Cochrane Colloquium are available for consumers who are actively contributing to Cochrane from both developed and developing countries.

Funds are, however, very limited, so if you can find some or all the money you need from another source (such as your local consumer or self-help group, or the Cochrane group with which you are involved), please do so. Before submitting your application for a consumer stipend, please read the following criteria and application instructions carefully. 

Application criteria
Individuals who wish to apply for a stipend must be:

  1. active Cochrane contributors as a consumer or consumer advocate; active involvement must have started no later than one year before the Colloquium.
  2. able to attend the entire Colloquium. Make sure that the conference dates do not conflict with any other commitment you may have, and that your employer is happy for you to attend the Colloquium. We will not fund partial attendance of the Colloquium.
  3. strongly recommended by a Cochrane group (Review Group, Field, Network, Centre) or an individual highly involved with Cochrane. You will be asked to request a letter of support from the Cochrane group that you are most closely associated with (see below for details).

Who is considered a consumer or consumer advocate? 
Cochrane defines a health consumer as someone who is affected by a health condition, or who uses or is entitled to use a health-related service, and who is generally not a health professional or practitioner. A consumer advocate or representative is a consumer who is actively involved with other consumers and is able to represent the perspectives and concerns of that broader group of people.

Cochrane's Consumer Network considers its members to be people who contribute as consumers to Cochrane, particularly in giving their views on the relevance and readability of Cochrane Reviews, and who support the aims of the Consumer Network.

Application recommendations and limitations

  • Partial funding: to be able to fund as many people as possible to attend the Colloquium, our preference is to provide partial support only. Your chances of receiving a stipend are higher if you are able to cover part of the costs yourself or from other sources. The application form will ask for information on other organisations that you have contacted to obtain funding.
  • Geographical proximity: people from the region and neighbouring regions where the Colloquium is held (i.e. Europe) are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Cochrane employees: applicants who are employed - and paid - to do Cochrane work are eligible for partial funding only. For the purpose of their application, a Cochrane employee is anyone hired by any institution who has protected time on a weekly basis to work for a Cochrane group (Review Group, Methods Group, Field, Centre or Branch, and group satellites).

    As a guideline, applicants who have protected Cochrane work time for less than half time (less than 2.5 days per week) can apply for a maximum of 75% of funding support. Applicants who have protected Cochrane work time for more than 2.5 days per week should not request more than 50% funding support. If a person’s paid Cochrane work finishes before the start of the Colloquium, these eligibility criteria do not apply.

Newcomers and low- and middle-income country (LMIC) residents

Given sufficient funds, a limited number of stipends will be set aside to ensure the participation of newcomers to Cochrane and consumers from developing countries.

Assessment of applications

Applicants will be assessed according to the following criteria.

  • Contribution to Cochrane's work
  • Contribution to consumer activities in the community
  • Contribution to the Colloquium programme
  • Anticipated gains from attending the Colloquium
  • Ability to raise partial funds to support attendance
  • Geographical proximity to the Colloquium host country
  • Recommendation from a Cochrane entity
  • Previous receipt of a Colloquium stipend

What costs are covered?

Funds may be available for one or more of the following:

  • Travel to and from Vienna (most economical return air fare)
  • Ground travel expenses from your home to the airport
  • Visa and travel insurance
  • Accommodation at one of the Colloquium hotels for a maximum of seven nights
  • Registration fee, which entitles you to attend all sessions, conference materials, lunches and coffee breaks from 3-7 October 2015 including attendance at the social events
  • Allowance for ground travel and meals not included in the registration fee

How to apply

1. Submit your application
People who wish to be included in the selection process are required to complete the online application form and to create a user account on the Colloquium website. Once you created an account, log in and complete the application form under the menu ‘Make a submission’.

2. Letter of support
We require a letter of support from the Cochrane Group, or individual highly invovlved Cochrane, who can best explain the extent of your contributions to Cochrane. You will need to provide us with details of the Group or individual so that we can approach them to request a letter.

Deadline for applications:  20th May 2015

Notification of accepted applications:  24th June 2015

Please note: don’t register for the Colloquium before you receive notification of the result of your stipend application.

Selection and notification of stipend recipients
All submitted applications will be screened and those meeting the eligibility criteria will be considered by the Consumer Stipends Committee. The members of the Consumer Stipends Committee are:

Isolde Sommer, Austria (Co-Chair)
Richard Morley, UK (Co-Chair and Cochrane Consumer Co-Ordinator)
TBC, Korea
Anne Lyddiatt, Canada
Mingming Zhang, China

Further help
If you require assistance with your application, please contact Maria Burgess at