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The first Future of Research conference was held in Boston in October of 2014.

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We published the proceedings and outcomes of our first FOR meeting in 2014.
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Our latest blog posts

FLSA fiasco

On Dec 1st (today), the threshold at which salaried workers receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week was due to increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), affecting all postdoctoral researchers in a non-primarily teaching role regardless of visa or fellowship status.   We had been keeping track of how institutions were implementing the update in our FLSA and postdocs resource and started releasing analyses of the data from late October (see this blogpost in Addgene), published a paper with one month to go at F1000Research, and most recently with 10 days ago, we presented a summary of the latest timepoint in our information-gathering efforts. At the last timepoint, 220 out of 341 institutions with postdocs had no decision on what they were doing available for us to report. However, 69% of the estimated postdoctoral workforce was due to see a salary raise. Some postdocs may have been due to receive a raise depending on their department/PI; and some institutions were moving postdocs over to non-exempt status by giving them timesheets and asking them to track hours.   On November 22nd an injunction was granted to the updates that applied nationwide. We issued a statement that included a recommendation that institutions follow the example of the National Institutes of Health and their NRSA stipends, and continue to raise postdoctoral salaries as they had planned. We have since been gathering information on institutional responses in the tab on the FLSA and postdocs resource, “How institutional plans have/have not changed since the injunction.”   When we began the FLSA and postdocs resource, we...

RiffRaff shirts, data and writing: Opportunities for giving on Giving Tuesday

It’s Giving Tuesday, a day targeted at charitable donations, and at Future of Research we realize that this year you may have other priorities in wishing to donate to organizations (for example, for some suggestions of science organizations doing good things, listen to Science Soapbox’s quick Thanksgiving podcast here).   So we’re giving two options for giving this year! First of all, we’re re-opening our “RiffRaff” t-shirt campaign. Our RiffRaff t-shirts are inspired by former president of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Steve McKnight, who in this post made an observation about the sorts of people in scientific study sections: “Biomedical research is a huge enterprise now; it attracts riff-raff who never would have survived as scientists in the 1960s and 1970s. There is no doubt that highly capable scientists currently participate in the grant-review process. Likewise, unfortunately, study sections are undoubtedly contaminated by riff-raff.” Show your next study section what you bring to the discussion with a RiffRaff shirt! Buy them here – all shirts should arrive by Dec 24th so feel free to get them as a gift for the RiffRaff in your life!   Secondly, we would love it if you gave us ideas; data; comments; and writing. We are very happy to take blog posts and are willing to try to help you get written pieces into other venues too, if we can! In setting up our FLSA and postdocs resource, data and writing and input from you has been so valuable not only to us, but to others, either advocating for change at their institution, or in making informed decisions about...

FoR statement on the FLSA injunction

Updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, which affects academic workers, including postdocs) were due to go into effect on Dec 1st,  2016 requiring either a minimum salary for those with non-exempt job duties of $47,476, or the use of timesheets and payment of overtime at time-and-a-half over 40 hours in a work week. This implementation has now been delayed.   We provided an update here yesterday; we have issued a statement which you can download here and share; the text is below:   Statement from Future of Research on the FLSA injunction Updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, which affects academic workers, including postdocs (http://futureofresearch.org/flsa-and-postdocs/)) were due to go into effect on Dec 1st, 2016 requiring either a minimum salary for those with non-exempt job duties of $47,476, or the use of timesheets and payment of overtime at time-and-a-half over 40 hours in a work week. A hearing was held on November 16th with 21 U.S. states filing a preliminary injunction against the Department of Labor to delay the December 1st implementation of these updates to the FLSA. The injunction was granted on November 22nd.   Our most recent data as of Nov 20th, 10 days prior to implementation, showed that 69% of postdocs would have seen salaries raised. We urge those institutions who planned to raise postdoctoral salaries to continue with their plans to do so, as recommended by a consensus across academia (see Pickett et al., PNAS 2015: “Toward a sustainable biomedical research enterprise: Finding consensus and implementing recommendations“). We support the NIH in continuing its plans to raise NRSA stipend levels on Dec...

FLSA update injunction granted: What happens now?

*This post may be subject to change, and may be updated as more information comes in – times and dates of additions will be noted – UPDATE NOV 28: WE WILL START UPDATING WHAT HOW INSTITUTIONS HAVE/HAVE NOT CHANGED THEIR PLANS POST-INJUNCTION ON THE FLSA AND POSTDOCS RESOURCE HERE*   Updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, which affects academic workers, including postdocs) were due to go into effect on Dec 1st,  2016 requiring either a minimum salary for those with non-exempt job duties of $47,476, or the use of timesheets and payment of overtime at time-and-a-half over 40 hours in a work week. This implementation has now been delayed.   A hearing was held on November 16th with 21 U.S. states filing a preliminary injunction against the Department of Labor to delay the December 1st implementation of these updates to the FLSA. The injunction (found here) was filed by 21 states (Nevada; Texas; Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Nebraska; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Utah; Wisconsin; Kentucky; Iowa; Maine; New Mexico; Mississippi; Michigan).   The injunction has been granted and applies nationwide, including states that were not part of the filed motion (see the Memorandum Opinion and Order here). The future of the entire update is now uncertain as the update is already a target for repeal by House Republicans in the new administration. The changes will not be required on December 1st, and possibly not at all. We will continue to monitor the situation.   Our latest update and summaries of earlier data collection efforts described in our paper illustrate that there was still not a complete picture...

10 days to the FLSA update: what institutions are doing and how postdocs will be affected

On Dec 1st, the threshold at which salaried workers receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week will increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Institutions have the choice to either increase the minimum salary for postdocs to $47,476, or to classify postdocs as hourly workers. Here is the latest in our series on what institutions are doing, and the last before the update is due to come into force.   We have published a paper in F1000Research discussing the FLSA and the data with one month to go (as of October 31st). We posted an update as of Nov 10, and in the intervening 10 days, with 10 days to go, we further summarize information gathered for the FLSA and postdocs resource in this blogpost up to November 20th.   We have now contacted or researched ALL institutions in the NSF dataset of institutions with postdoctoral researchers, plus some additional institutions.   New data   Compared to our previous post 10 days ago, the percentage of the postdoc population in each category has remained essentially unchanged: 69% of postdocs should have salaries raised; 6% of postdocs may have salaries raised or may have hours tracked; 3% of postdocs will be at institutions focused on allowing hours tracking; and for 22% of postdocs we do not know what will happen. See the figure below.   Note that postdocs in positions where hours tracking is allowed could still have their salaries raised if the PI agrees to do so.     How institutions are implementing the change has now changed as we have...

Publication presenting our data on the Fair Labor Standards Act implementation at institutions as of October 31st.

A publication presenting our data on the implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with respect to postdocs is up here at F1000Research, showing the data that had been collected as of October 31st by Adriana Bankston and Gary McDowell. Please feel free to comment on the paper and tell us what you think for our revisions!   An update on this data can be found for November 10th here and you can follow the FLSA and postdocs resource as it evolves here....