Training Program: Primate Monitoring

This program is full for 2021


Join Our Field Team!

Quick Facts

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Apply online here. You will need a CV/resume and two references.

2. Once we hear from your references, we will schedule an interview with the principal investigator of your desired project

3. If accepted, you will be notified within 1 week

4. Upon acceptance, gain student access to online training modules to get prepared before you arrive.

5. Turn in medical info, vaccination record, liability waivers, etc.

6. See you in the field!

All start dates could be delayed 2-4 weeks if it is significantly more likely that participants will be able to get vaccines by that time. This decision will be made in the Spring, with final dates decided April 15. 

DO NOT buy flights until April 16 and the program dates are confirmed.

We will not take more than 1 week’s reservation fee at the time of recruitment.

*If a program postponement occurs and a participant could no longer join on the revised dates, we would refund all fees paid up to that point, minus a 1.5% credit card processing fee.

Learn more about FPI and COVID-19 HERE.

If FPI cancels a program due to complications related to COVID-19, participants would receive all but 1.5% of fees already paid. The 1.5% represents the credit processing fees charged to FPI for accepting online payments.

If a participant cancels: 
 
Because we block your spot and potentially reject other applicants based on your being on the team, cancellations can affect team recruitment quite strongly. Nevertheless, we do recognize that circumstances sometimes demand cancellations – so we do the best that we can, given the restrictions we are under. 
 

Canceling for reasons not related to COVID-19: 

  • 30 days or more before your start date: 45% refunded
  • Less than 30 days from your start date: no refund is possible
If you have extenuating circumstances, or applied closer than 30 days to your start date, please contact us. 
 

Our cancellation policy specific to COVID-19:

  • Before May 1st, if you cancel for a COVID-19 related reason, you will get all payments refunded, minus a 1.5% credit processing fee.
  • After May 1st, FPI will have paid a large portion of your program fees to our field station partners, who provide your accommodations and meals the entire time you are on site. This means that those withdrawing due to COVID-19 after May 1st will be refunded all fees paid minus 6.5%. This portion is retained solely to cover our own credit processing fees, as well as the bank fees incurred by our partners at the Los Amigos Conservation Hub in Peru. 
PLEASE NOTE: Those canceling due to COVID-19 will be asked to provide documentation or a doctor’s note

Yes, but it would have to be approved by your university, who will also bill you for the credit hours. If approved, there is also an additional $250 fee that serves as an honorarium for the FPI senior scientist mentoring you through this project. From there, it is just a matter of coordinating between your university mentor and the FPI researcher.

In order to train our research teams, it is necessary that everyone arrives on specific start dates. However, for some programs we are able to provide multiple start dates in order to accommodate the varying schedules of our research assistants. Note: this is not offered for all of our programs, so please pay attention to the specific start times for each program.  If you REALLY cannot make a particular start date, don’t abandon hope – email us and we can do our best to accommodate you!

To assist you, we have office hours available to discuss vaccines, travel planning, credit, and program preparation.

Drop in during the above Zoom office hours:
https://wustl-hipaa.zoom.us/j/98038308690

Wednesday, March 17: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, March 24: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, March 31: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, April 7: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
 

Email questions to info(at)fieldprojects.org if you cannot make those times.

There are pretty firm minimum requirements for each program (3- to 6-week commitments). These are firm because each research assistant must be trained, during which time the data they collect cannot be relied upon entirely. Anything less than the minimum time is deemed insufficient for the research assistant to contribute real data to the project. However, for most programs, you are welcome to apply for stays that are longer than the minimum period – in fact, we really do recommend and love it when you do!

Our courses have fewer enrollment requirements, and we strongly encourage anyone to apply. The research assistantships are more competitive, and there are fewer positions available.

You absolutely can apply to both a field course and a long-term training program if the dates will line up! In fact, if you are accepted into the long-term program you can attend a field course for a lower fee (typically a $400 discount)

No, you do not need previous research experience. These are training programs designed for participants at all levels. It can be hard to acquire field experience, so we balance our teams with veteran researchers and those new to the world of field research. We seek bright and enthusiastic candidates with the right temperament to work in this challenging environment. 

The cost to participate includes lodging and all meals at the field station, transportation between Puerto Maldonado and the field station, specialized training for candidates accepted into the program, and the provision of equipment and supplies necessary to conduct this research.

A large majority of the fees paid to our training programs cover lodging fees charged by the host field station. Importantly, at the Los Amigos Biological Station lodging fees not only support the cost of running and maintaining a remote field site, but contribute to the larger mission of their parent NGO (Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin) to protect conservation areas, monitor deforestation, maintain wildlife corridors, and more.

We are now able to offer a peer-to-peer fundraising program for research assistants. Once accepted, you would be able to create a shareable profile on our platform. This is a team-based initiative, so half of your raised funds will go toward your own program fees, while the other half will go into pool to be split evenly among all program participants who had at least 5 donors. More details will be available during (and after) your interview. If you require help with the cost of the program, there are other options that you might pursue as well. You could start by contacting the Office of Undergraduate Research of your school, or request professional development support from your employer. Here you can explore what is available through your college/place-of-work, as well as through external funding sources. Many universities have SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) programs, which may provide stipends for students to pursue independent research. Please note that if you do find any kind of research-related funding — as many RAs have in the past — it will need to be applied for in conjunction with us, on research projects that we approve. In this case, one of our principal investigators will consult with you about developing a project that is feasible.

All participants are required to show proof of medical insurance before joining us in the field. Many travel insurance providers can assist with emergency medical coverage and emergency medical evacuation. Be certain that COVID-19 is covered in your plan. 

You will have to provide proof of a normal vaccination record (as listed here by the CDC). For travel to Peru, we require that you also get the following vaccines: 

  • Typhoid 
  • Yellow Fever
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies (Primate Monitoring and Wildlife Health programs need the Rabies pre-exposure vaccine series. This is not required for any other program.)
  • COVID-19 (if you have trouble getting this, please contact us.)

If you have the flu shot for the year, all the better. Find a travel clinic and get your shots EARLY.

While you may not yet be eligible as a priority group to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the rollout is accelerating with President Biden recently announcing availability for all adults by the end of May. Meanwhile, each state has its own plan for who should get vaccinated first. Eventually, you will be able to get one through your doctor’s office or local pharmacy as you would a flu shot. 

We recommend checking with your local health department for current eligibility where you live. The Vaccine Finder website is also an excellent resource for finding vaccination locations, and the NYT has this map to show information by state. Also remember that with Johnson & Johnson collaborating with Merck to produce their single dose vaccine (which was only recently approved), the availability will continue to increase. 

In the end, our programs simply don’t happen without our participants. If you are unable to get vaccinated in your state before your start date, we can accommodate by moving your start later so you will be able to undertake this travel safely. This is an ongoing conversation, and we want to help rather than exclude anyone. We know that the uncertainty is hard to live with –for both you and for us– but we will figure this out together.

To assist you, we have office hours to discuss vaccines, travel planning, and program preparation.

Drop in during the above Zoom office hours:
https://wustl-hipaa.zoom.us/j/98038308690

Wednesday, March 17: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, March 24: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, March 31: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
Wednesday, April 7: 1:30pm-2:00pm U.S. Pacific Time
 

Email info(at)fieldprojects.org if you cannot make those times.

Some candidates may have an opportunity to win a grant that will fund their research assistantship site fees and travel. However, the grant requires them to submit a research proposal. If this is your situation, we may be able to work with you on a proposal. Contact us at info(at)fieldprojects.org and we can help you structure one. We cannot accommodate completely independent projects, but we can assist you with finding a subset of our samples or data that has not yet been fully used, which you could develop further with supervision.

Yes, you can. We do not give co-authorship for collecting data alone, but we offer interested students the opportunity to work on data analyses after the summer research program, that could lead to co-authorship in the future. Many of our former field team members have gone on to become research collaborators.

Currently, Peru requires inbound international passengers on commercial flights to have either a negative real-time COVID-19 molecular (RT-PCR), negative antigen test result, or a medical certificate of epidemiological discharge that is no more than 72 hours old after being issued and before boarding the plane. All passengers must also complete an affidavit of health (found here: https://e-notificacion.migraciones.gob.pe/dj-salud/). These requirements may change, so we advise you to contact your airline days prior your flight to gather the proper documentation and regularly consult the airport website for the latest guidance: https://www.lima-airport.com/eng/for-passengers/covid-19-protocol/arrival-protocol (in English) and https://www.lima-airport.com/esp/para-pasajeros/protocolo-covid-19/antes-de-viajar (in Spanish).

Regarding the 14-day quarantine for all visitors in Peru, travellers are able to quarantine at their final destination if they get there within 24 hours after landing in Lima. The field station where we work can serve as this site, as they meet all government-approved COVID protocols, and have the capacity to maintain social distance between all visitors.

Our Peruvian partners who operate the field station can optionally send an additional ‘letter of invitation’ in Spanish, to be shown at customs, which states that the field station will serve as a quarantine location. To receive this letter, let us know well in advance. They can personalize the letter, send it to you electronically, then you can print it at home before travelling.

Negative tests are not an official requirement for those arriving at the field station, but a strong recommendation. Researchers from different institutions and others who are not affiliated with FPI also use this field station, and while temperatures will be taken and screening questions will be asked of everyone, there is no guarantee that an asymptomatic or presymptomatic person won’t be present. This means that masks, social distancing, and other detailed protocols are especially important. In addition, this is why we are strongly pushing for all participants to get vaccinated. 

The first signs of suspected symptoms or a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be reported immediately to the field station managers and FPI senior scientists. They will have protocols for isolating symptomatic guests, arranging viral testing, notifying those you have been in contact with, and evacuating you to the nearest hospital if necessary. (Note that travel to a hospital and any care there is at your own cost; make sure your insurance policy covers this.)

The nearest healthcare facilities are in Puerto Maldonado, which is approximately 4-5 hours downriver from our field site. In that city, our Peruvian partners have a recommended doctor certified by MINSA (the Ministry go Health). There are also other private and public healthcare options. The private facilities are more expensive (one of the reasons we require participants to have travel medical insurance), but they will likely be able to treat patients faster if public facilities are full. 

The second option would be in Cusco, which is approximately 10 hours by car from Puerto Maldonado. There are more clinics in Cusco than Puerto Maldonado.

*While everyone will have their temperatures taken upon arrival by an infrared thermometer, we strongly suggest that participants bring their own thermometers in their first-aid kits, and check themselves daily.

If a person must leave the field station to get treatment and recover from COVID-19, they will be permitted to return after 7 days with a negative antigen test. A negative molecular test will let someone back to the station after 14 days. 

The field station’s safety protocols apply to everybody: staff, researchers, guests, and visitors. 

For every new person arriving at the field station, the science director will go over the COVID-protocol with them personally and explain to them about the mandatory use of face masks, hand sanitizer, table seating, and social distancing. There are planned spaces equipped for maximum distance between people. 

People living or travelling together in a group for more than 14 days can share the same table at the commissary and will be treated as a “grupo de aislamiento,” keeping distance from other guests or groups. Room service and/or separate seating at different tables will be arranged for all others.

The field station also practices “cuarentena laboral.” This means that there are separate working areas, and you will be expected to avoid using workspaces and equipment that is designated for other individuals or groups. 

According to the U.S. State Department website, you must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 calendar days prior to boarding a flight bound for the United States, and sign an attestation confirming this. The test must be either NAAT (nucleic acid amplification tests such as PCR or LAMP), or it can be a viral antigen test. These tests reflect your current status, whereas an antibody test does not.

Currently, we recommend getting a molecular test at a clinic in Lima (molecular tests are currently not available in Puerto Maldonado, only rapid antigen tests). We recommend getting a molecular COVID test at UniLabs, located in Miraflores (about a 35 minute drive from the airport in Lima). You must purchase the test online, then they send you an e-ticket for confirmation. These tests cost around 145 soles (~$40), and the results should arrive within 12 hours. Plan on staying in Lima for one night  to assure you get test results in time for your flight.

Our enhanced protocols in laboratory or wildlife handling situations are designed to meet or exceed scientific best practices. They are drafted in conjunction with our Peruvian partners (Conservacion Amazonica), Peruvian authorities (SERFOR) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) of our affiliate research universities. Broadly speaking, they will involve strict use of face shields, N95 masks, and gloves. Participants will receive a detailed procedures pamphlet prior to departing for the field site, and may be required to complete a short online training on our website.

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