Scholarships

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Scholarship applications are now closed. All applicants were notified of final decisions by 12 April 2015. The final list of recipients is available at meta:Grants:TPS/Wikimania scholars.

Wikimania 2015, the 11th annual international conference of the Wikimedia movement, is being held between 15 and 19 July 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. The Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program is offering a limited number of scholarships to offset the cost of selected individuals' attendance at Wikimania using funding provided by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF).

Important dates

The anticipated timeline for the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program is as follows:

  • Scholarship applications open: Monday 19 January 2015
  • Deadline for applying for scholarships: Monday 16 February 2015 23:59 UTC
  • Phase 1 eligibility assessment by the WMF: Last two weeks of February 2015
  • Applicants are notified about Phase 1 decisions: Early March 2015
  • Phase 2 in-depth evaluations by the Scholarship Committee: March – April 2015
  • Applicants are notified about final decisions: During the week of April 6-12, 2015
  • The final list of recipients is announced: Mid-April 2015

Goals

  • To make Wikimania 2015 a successful and productive international conference, by promoting experience sharing between participants on both on-wiki and off-wiki topics
  • To enrich the conference by enabling a diverse group of participants from across the Wikimedia movement to attend
  • To facilitate the broader enrichment of wiki communities, by having participants share their Wikimania experiences and lessons learned with their home communities
  • To enable new collaborations, creations and improvements

Scholarship details

Scholarships awarded by the WMF will cover expenses for:

  • Round trip travel
  • Shared accommodation
  • Conference registration fees

Partial scholarships are no longer offered by the WMF. Please see the FAQ for more information on what expenses are covered by scholarships, and which expenses recipients are expected to cover at their own expense.

Eligibility to apply

Any active contributor to a Wikimedia project, or Wikimedia volunteer in any other capacity, from anywhere in the world, is considered eligible for a scholarship. As the program supports volunteer participation, individuals whose participation is tied to paid work are not eligible for a scholarship.

Unlike in previous years, activity within the Wikimedia movement will be the main criteria for evaluation. Participation in non-Wikimedia free knowledge, free software, collaborative or educational initiatives is a plus but is no longer a requirement; individuals who solely contribute to such areas are no longer encouraged to apply. Please see the FAQ for more information on eligibility.

Selection process

The selection process for the 2015 Wikimania Scholarship Program has been updated after collecting, discussing, and integrating feedback from scholarship applicants, recipients, Wikimania organizers, the Scholarship Committee and WMF staff. As such, the 2015 selection process will follow three phases of assessment and evaluation, to determine the final recipients, as follows:

  1. Phase 1 – Eligibility assessment
    • All applications will be reviewed by a staff member of the WMF, with a score of zero (fail) or one (pass) awarded on an application-by-application basis using the Phase 1 selection criteria. All applicants will be notified by e-mail on whether their application has passed or failed once this phase of review is completed.
  2. Phase 2 – In-depth evaluation
    • All applications that pass Phase 1 will be reviewed in more detail by the Scholarship Committee, with a minimum of three reviewers per application. Each reviewer will independently review and score each application against the Phase 2 selection criteria, in order to reach a final score for each application.
  3. Phase 3 – Final approval
    • Based on the applicant's home country, each applicant will be categorized as either a Global North or Global South applicant, with the total number of scholarships distributed between the Global North and Global South being set at 25% and 75% respectively.
    • For both Global North and Global South groups, based on the applicant's "primary language community on wiki" (self-reported in the application), applicants will be separated by the size of the active editor community on their most active Wikimedia project, as determined by the average number of active Wikimedians per month (over the time period September 2013 to September 2014). Scholarships will be allocated equally across these sub-groups, defined as follows:
      • Large language community – Average number of active Wikimedians per month is above 1000
      • Medium language community – Average number of active Wikimedians per month is below 1000 but above 100
      • Small language community – Average number of active Wikimedians per month is below 100
      • Multilingual community – Applicants whose most active Wikimedia project is Commons, Species, Data, Incubator, MediaWiki or Tool Labs (where "most active project" is self-reported on the application) will be placed into this category, as language communities aren't as relevant.
    • The WMF will determine the total budget available and make estimations on per-applicant costs (for example, someone attending Wikimania 2015 from South Africa will require different levels of financial assistance than someone attending from Panama). Top scoring Phase 2 applicants in each sub-group will be awarded a scholarship.
      • For applicants within 10% of the "cutoff", preference will be first given to the non-male applicant, and secondary preference to applicants from Latin America.
        • The "cutoff" will be the score associated with the last scholarship awarded in each sub-group
      • Unused scholarships being reallocated through the following process:
        • A minimum score will be determined for each sub-group (different for each sub-group), below which applicants will not be considered for final selection. In the event of insufficient applicants with a high-enough score in a particular sub-group, unused scholarships will be equally reallocated to the other sub-groups.
        • In the event where there are insufficient applicants with a high-enough score across all sub-groups, unused scholarships will be reallocated to other group (and distributed equally among sub-groups).

Following the completion of Phase 3, a decision will be issued by e-mail to all remaining applicants as to whether their application has been successful or unsuccessful. Those with a successful application will be given the opportunity to confirm their attendance at Wikimania 2015 and their acceptance of the awarded scholarship. A few applicants will be placed on a waiting list; these applications may be awarded a scholarship at a later date depending on the acceptance rate of successful applicants and whether resource use by scholarship recipients is as estimated.

Selection criteria

Phase 1

Applications will fail Phase 1 if any of the following failing criteria apply:

  1. The applicant is a 2014 scholarship recipient that did not complete their post-conference report.
  2. The application entirely or primarily consists of content which is off-topic or abusive.
  3. The applicant has failed to make a reasonable effort to answer the questions on the application form.
  4. The applicant has failed to provide evidence of English language abilities that are at a level which would enable them to participate in Wikimania, a conference which is primarily conducted in English. Sufficient English abilities could be demonstrated in the application itself or elsewhere.
  5. The applicant has failed to demonstrate any significant Wikimedia contributions or activities which may merit the awarding of a scholarship.
    • Examples of "significant Wikimedia contribution or activities" are as follows:
      • Active contributor to a Wikimedia project (e.g. Wikipedia, Commons or Wikisource), with at least 50 contributions (edits)
      • Mediawiki code contributor, gadget or other tool-builder for Wikimedia projects
      • Involvement in some form of Wikimedia organization (chapter, thematic organization or user group)
      • Wikimedia CheckUser, Admin, Bureaucrat, Steward or OTRS volunteer (current or former)
      • Wikimedia Foundation Grantee
      • Wikimedia Researcher
      • Participant in a Wikimedia program (e.g. GLAM partnership or education program)
      • Participant in Wikimedia organized events (e.g. photographer contributing to Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM), workshop attendee)
      • Organizer of Wikimedia events (e.g. WLM, edit-a-thons)

Applications for which no failing criteria apply will pass into Phase 2 for further evaluation.

Phase 2

During phase two, applicants will be assessed on two main dimensions – relevant experience and enrichment – with each applicant being awarded a score on a scale of zero to ten for each criterion. These scores are then averaged to give an applicant's final Phase 2 score. These criteria have been selected with the objective of highlighting applicants who have compelling Wikimedia-related experiences and demonstrate a particular ability to use their experience/learning to enrich their home community.

Relevant experience

Activity within Wikimedia projects or organizations (chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups) indicates that an applicant will add value to Wikimania through the experiences and knowledge they have gained from contributing. Applicants are encouraged to write about both their online and offline experiences within their applications.

An applicant's activities will be evaluated along the following three dimensions:

  1. Collaboration – The degree of collaboration with other individuals or organizations in order to execute activities
  2. Impact – Online or offline results due to Wikimedia activities, described either quantitatively or qualitatively
  3. Community leadership – Role(s) played and scope of activities within the Wikimedia movement, e.g. members who serve on committees or project leaders

To assist applicants, the following examples of "Impact" have been provided. However, applicants should feel free to provide examples beyond what is included below:

Online Impact Offline Impact
Qualitative
  • Increased awareness on the importance of reliable sources
  • Increased/Improved skills of on-wiki contributors (e.g organized editing workshops)
  • Made it easier for readers and new/experienced editors to engage (e.g. created or participated in on-wiki mentoring spaces)
  • Improved the ability for editors to be more productive on-wiki (e.g. improved or created new MediaWiki features)
  • Increased awareness about the Wikimedia projects through off-wiki channels (e.g. posted articles in blogs or newspapers, or gave a presentation at non-Wikimedia conferences)
  • Improved the public perception of Wikimedia as a source of reliable information (e.g. gave a talk about Wikipedia processes and policies that ensure reliability)
  • Improved gender, language, or geographic diversity off-wiki (e.g. organized an event targeted at raising awareness for under-represented groups or languages)
  • Increased/Improved skills of off-wiki volunteers (e.g. organized an event where volunteers gained knowledge on policy advocacy or event organization)
Quantitative
  • Identified/Addressed content or category gaps (e.g. number of new/improved articles in underdeveloped or missing categories)
  • Made reliable sources available to editors (e.g. gained and shared access to previously locked sources)
  • Increased access to Wikimedia by creating/improving a product that addresses access (e.g. Improved QR codes or Kiwix to support offline Wikipedia)
  • New editors (e.g. new editors due to organizing an editing workshop)
  • For events organized, number of participants that attended a Wikimedia event you organized (e.g. for organizers of photo contests, the number of contest participants)
  • For Wikimedia programs you are involved in, the number of participants or volunteers supported  (e.g. for Wikipedia Education Program campus ambassadors, the number of students supported in a semester)


Enrichment

The ability to share experiences and information with a wider community indicates that the applicant, if awarded a scholarship, would be able to bring those experiences or lessons learned at Wikimania back home, thereby enriching their home wiki community or home country. Applicants are encouraged to write about or provide examples demonstrating this ability; a few examples could be on-wiki reports, personal blog posts, or talks/presentations given about what they learned from an event, conference, or discussion.

 Questions?

For more information about the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program, please visit the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.

Apply

To apply for a scholarship to attend Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City, please submit a completed application form by 16 February 2015 23:59 UTC. It is highly recommended that applicants review all the material on this page and in the FAQ before submitting an application.

 Scholarships offered by Wikimedia organizations

The WMF is not the only organization offering scholarships for Wikimania 2015; other Wikimedia organizations such as chapters and thematic organizations may also be offering their own scholarships.

The following Wikimedia organizations will collect scholarship applications from those submitted to the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program – there will be no need for applicants to submit a separate application to the Wikimedia organization listed below.

  • Wikimedia Hungary

The following Wikimedia organizations will offer scholarships, but will not make use of applications to the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program. Wikimedians who are interested in receiving a scholarship from them, are invited to apply to the Wikimedia organization directly.