Strengthening Community Governance in Latin American Bioimaging Network

31 Jul 2023 (modified: 11 Aug 2023)InvestinOpen 2023 OI Fund SubmissionEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Funding Area: Community governance / Gobernanza comunitaria
Problem Statement: The project aims to implement community governance in the Latin American bioimaging network (LABI,, promoting openness, transparency and accountability. Currently, decision-making processes can lack inclusiveness, which can lead to disparities in resource allocation and representation. Strengthening governance structures aims to foster ownership and active engagement among the LABI community (imaging scientists, technicians, technology developers, industry representatives) to actively shape and strengthen the future of the network. Additionally, LABI faces limited communication and collaboration between the diverse bioimaging communities in Latin America. To bridge this gap, we seek to facilitate open dialogue and exchange experiences to develop a solid framework that improves governance and fosters better coordination among all stakeholders. Through organizing workshops and actively involving members in the review and evolution of bylaws, we aim to create a more participatory and collaborative governance environment. Another challenge is limited financial and personnel resources. With only one person currently working exclusively on the network and the absence of strong governance, the sustainability of LABI initiatives is at risk. Therefore, to overcome these challenges, specialized support is necessary to facilitate an open and collaborative process with community members and stakeholders.
Proposed Activities: This proposal is the starting point to initiate the foundations for the creation of a more open, transparent and participatory government. In order to achieve this, it will rely on the community through a professional consultancy that can support the process. The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical assistance, as well as support in the generation and incorporation of the best governance systems together with the actors of the network, according to the needs and demands of our community. For this purpose, the following scheme of activities is proposed: Needs assessment and planning: In the initial phase, the project team will seek a specialized organization/consultant. Together they will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to identify gaps and challenges in the current governance structure, and gather ideas and perspectives. Based on the assessment, a detailed plan for the development process will be defined. (Timeframe: 2 months ( Dec-Jan), Expertise: Project Management) Community Governance Workshops: The organization of workshops to discuss governance needs and challenges will be a key activity. These workshops will bring together all LABI stakeholders willing to participate and other organizations to showcase similar experiences. Based on that, solutions for a governance framework will be brainstormed and proposed (Timeframe: 4 months (Feb-May), Expertise: Event planning, facilitation, community engagement). Formation of a governance working group: Based on the needs identified, it is expected that a working group will be formed to address the drafting of bylaws and establish an ongoing agenda. This group will be open and represent different segments of the bioimaging community and will ensure that diverse voices are heard. (Timeframe: 2 months (April-May), Expertise: Community engagement, Coordination of working groups) Drafting of governance policies: Feedback from workshops and committees will be used to result in a more robust and inclusive governance structure. (Deadline: 4 months (Jun-Sep), Expertise: Policy Review, Legal Advisors) Communication and dissemination: Throughout the LABI resources, open communication with the community will be maintained. Progress, outcomes, and opportunities for engagement will be shared through various channels, including website, social medias and newsletters. (Timeline: Durante todo el proceso, Expertise: Communication, Visual design, Community engagement) Governance presentation: governance will be presented at the annual LABI Meeting, as a closure of the process of a year of collective work and as a fundamental component for the structure of the network. This event will be the last with the current funding and represents a turning point for our community. It will be made public on the website and communicated through various media (Timeline: Sept-Nov, Expertise: Communication and Outreach Team).
Openness: The process of improving governance is conducted with transparency, ensuring that the LABI community actively participates in shaping its future. Needs assessments, workshops and committee formation will be designed to accommodate diverse perspectives, empowering all members to contribute to the growth of the network. In a spirit of collaboration, the results of the project, including proposed bylaws and governance policies, will be shared openly with the entire Latin American bioimaging community. This approach allows all stakeholders to provide valuable feedback and suggestions, ensuring that the resulting governance framework reflects the collective vision of the community. To extend the reach of the project and encourage broader participation, LABI will leverage existing bioimaging networks, platforms and associations in Latin America. The project will actively seek collaborations with other open infrastructure initiatives. This strategic partnership will allow LABI to benefit from the experience and best practices of related fields. By embracing openness and collaboration, the proposed work aims to establish a governance structure that empowers all members, fosters innovation, and accelerates advancements in bioimaging across Latin America.
Challenges: Building consensus: Achieving consensus among diverse stakeholders on governance issues is a complex task that requires deliberate navigation. To meet this challenge, we are committed to employing effective facilitation and communication strategies. Our goal is to create an inclusive environment in which all voices are not only heard, but also genuinely taken into account in shaping our governance framework. We will ensure that information is shared in a transparent manner and that updates are regularly communicated to all stakeholders. Time and resource constraints. Conducting extensive community workshops and policy reviews is a vital undertaking that requires a significant investment of time and resources. To overcome potential constraints, effective planning and resource management strategies are essential. Sustainability. The importance of ensuring the long-term sustainability of governance improvements cannot be overemphasized. To achieve this crucial goal, we must proactively design plans that foster continued community engagement beyond the life of the project. Our plans will focus on building strong ties with our community, nurturing relationships that extend well beyond the duration of the project. By forging meaningful partnerships with community members, institutions, and organizations, we will be able to maximaze network sustainability, growth and success.
Neglectedness: Currently, to the best of our knowledge, there are limited specific funding opportunities dedicated to enhancing community governance within networks. Although broader funding options may be available for research and infrastructure, they often do not explicitly address governance enhancement initiatives. Our network is currently supported by a sole funding source from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for the period 2021-2024. While the project encompasses various objectives, including governance structure improvement, the costs associated with conducting an inclusive and collaborative open governance process were not originally accounted for in the initial application. Consequently, it has become essential to explore alternative funding sources to facilitate the development of this process.
Success: In the short term, achievements will be evidenced by the successful organization of community workshops with participation rates and the formation of governance working groups, where diverse and active input will be sought. In addition, success will be reflected in the level of community engagement and valuable feedback received during the drafting and review of governance policies. In the long term, success will be manifested in the seamless implementation of effective governance structures. Tangible evidence will include improved collaboration among stakeholders, optimized utilization of resources, and improved communication within the Latin American Bioimaging Network. These results will establish a solid foundation for a thriving and interconnected bioimaging community. Indicators such as continued community engagement in active leadership governance issues will be key markers of resilience and growth. By combining short-term achievements with long-term progress and sustainability, we aim to create a comprehensive framework for assessing the success of our governance improvement initiatives. This does not preclude us from incorporating tools and perspectives that emerge from this process.
Total Budget: 11000
Budget File: pdf
Affiliations: Latin America Bioimaging, with logistics base at the Pasteur Institute of Montevideo
LMIE Carveout: While our network is based in Uruguay, a high-income country, our objectives are to address the needs of a region characterized by a significant diversity. In this context, our network encompasses high-income economies with low levels of investment in science, technology and innovation (less than 1%), as well as middle- and low-income economies with minimal investment in science and technology, and substantial structural deficiencies from a scientific perspective. Faced with this panorama, our goal is to include all perspectives and embrace the challenge of reducing disparities among countries in our region concerning access to training opportunities and cutting-edge technologies in bioimaging. Additionally, this process aims to strengthen the collaboration among this diverse community.
Team Skills: We have a network manager to centralize information and coordinate the different activities, and representatives from 8 countries in the executive committee. Each committee member is experienced in imaging and possesses a thorough understanding of the bioimaging landscape within their respective countries. Through collaborative efforts, they combine their knowledge and skills to further the goals and initiatives of the network. The leaders of the largest organizations and societies in our region are part of the active members of our network. With whom we have a constant link and common initiatives. On the other hand, we have a strong engagement of our community both with the Newsletter and in the social networks, so we hope to be able to reach those sectors that are less represented. Some key team skills for the success of the proposed project include: Communication, Collaboration, Leadership, Analytical Thinking and Inclusivity. By combining these skills with consulting input and the support of an assistant, the team can foster an environment that promotes transparency, accountability and active engagement, propelling the Latin American Bioimaging Network up a level.
How Did You Hear About This Call: Word of mouth (e.g. conversations and emails from IOI staff, friends, colleagues, etc.) / Boca a boca (por ejemplo, conversaciones y correos electrónicos del personal del IOI, amigos, colegas, etc.)
Submission Number: 150