Future of Research's Origins

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

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Outcomes of FOR

We published the proceedings and outcomes of our first FOR meeting in 2014.
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FOR conferences are organized by grassroots scientists in their local areas.
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Our latest blog posts

March for Science: FoR Events and Partners

  The March for Science is nearly upon us! As partners of the march in DC, as well as several satellite marches, we wanted to pass along info about events and logistics. There are over 500 Marches worldwide, so even if you aren’t near any of the marches mentioned below, you can find info on all of them at the . If you are interested in participating in a March but are not sure where the closest march is, visit the March for Science March information page, where you can find the March nearest you, and sign up.   Information about marching in general We have just published a post, “How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them” with information on marching and advocacy, with further resources, to provide information to try to address concerns and questions people may have about marching. Please contact info [at] futureofresearch.org with questions/comments.     March partners and events Future of Research is officially partnered with the march in Washington DC, and with the satellite marches in Minnesota, Chicago, and Louisville. We will be participating directly in events at the DC March (a Teach-in) and the San Francisco March (on a panel) as detailed below!   March for Science DC Event Details: https://www.marchforscience.com/event-details     Future of Research Teach-in: Juan Pablo Ruiz of Labmosphere, also a lead organizer of a FoR meeting currently being planned in Maryland on mentoring in academia, will be leading a Teach-in, “Challenges in becoming a scientist”, discussing real actions to be taken in advocating for junior scientists. Register here! See also the Facebook event here.    ...

How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them

This is a post by the Executive Director that will appear in various forms due to distinct editorial styles across platforms (see the ASCB post here). This post can and will be updated with clarifications and extra information upon request (please contact info [at] futureofresearch.org), to develop a resource page after post-publication peer review of this post. Please consider this a work in progress! The information provided is not legal advice, but is merely a general resource to help identify further sources of information. We hope to build this into a useful and developing resource.   Thanks to @Doctor_PMS for the photo above, from the Rally to Stand up for Science at the 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston.   Many scientists are currently looking to become more politically engaged or to advocate for science/scientists in various ways – by marching for science, contacting elected representatives or attending town halls.   As someone in the U.S. on a Green Card I wondered what I can and cannot do in practical terms to advocate for science. There’s some concern among international scientists like myself about their safety when advocating for their cause. This could be a significant barrier to effective science advocacy, given that a large proportion (52%) of all biomedical scientists in the U.S. are foreign-born, according to 2014 U.S. Census data. In addition, there are many “DREAMERs” (undocumented immigrants as defined in the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the U.S., a subset of whom come under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order) who are in STEM....

How Early Career Scientists can serve science through policy: A workshop at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

This post was originally published on the Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) blog on April 14, 2017. Re-posting with permission from AFS. Picture by Jessica Polka. Early career researchers aspire to engage with society while still pursuing their research careers. They may engage by contributing directly to policy decisions or by becoming community advocates. This type of engagement is critical for making the public understand what science is and what scientists do. At the same time, it gives junior scientists multiple avenues by which to serve society through policy. The goal of a recent AAAS meeting session, entitled “How Early Career Scientists Can Serve Science Through Policy,” was to gain perspective on and explore such avenues for engagement with society. The session was coordinated by Georgia Lagoudas, a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute, and Abigail Regitsky, a treasurer for the MIT Science Policy Initiative. This is a group of graduate (and some undergraduate) students whose goal is to create better scientists and engineers as well as a better society through rigorous research and authentic engagement with public policy. The presenters in the session were: Noelle Selin, an Associate Professor at MIT and Associate Director for the MIT Technology and Policy Program; John Gavenonis, a Technical and Business Manager at the DuPont Experimental Station; and Paula Garcia, an Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.   Consider your goal In general, the presenters advised early career scientists to engage not only with policymakers but also with interdisciplinary researchers studying all aspects of a problem, as a helpful strategy for having a...

What high school students can teach us about doing science

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Science can only advance if we engage, excite and promote the scientific discoveries of the next generation of young scientists. Many of them become exposed to science for the first time in middle school or high school, and science fairs give them a chance to talk about their projects. Although I never had the chance to participate in a science fair as a child, I imagined how I would feel today if I worked on a science project for an entire summer (or maybe even a whole year). I would probably think that my project was the greatest one ever, and I would hardly be able to contain the excitement of sharing my ideas and findings at the next science fair!   Amazingly enough, this is the exact reaction I got from the presenters when judging science fairs over the years. I was at first unsure how this experience would be, and whether I could relate to them on a personal level. And although the students kept thanking me for volunteering my time to be a judge, I am the one who should be thankful. I learned so much from them, and they reminded me why I fell in love with science in the first place. I also realized that, somewhere along the way, the excitement and curiosity about my own research had vanished among all the stresses of what it meant to be a graduate student or postdoc doing research in today’s world dominated by lack of funding and hypercompetition.   While judging science...

Economic Implications of Scientific Training in the Biomedical Research Workforce: a Workshop at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

 This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston. The biomedical research enterprise is driven at its core by junior scientists working at the bench. Postdocs are highly skilled scientific experts who provide a great deal of value to the scientific enterprise. In spite of this fact, they have historically been paid low wages, leading to professional dissatisfaction which may also cause them to leave the bench. Policy changes to increase postdoc compensation, as well as innovative incentives, may be very beneficial for retaining postdocs in science by creating an environment for them to effectively perform their work. Thinking about the biomedical research workforce from an economic point of view may therefore help us better understand the challenges faced by postdocs and facilitate solutions to these problems.   Critical discussions about the role of postdocs in the scientific enterprise occurred during the session entitled “Economic Implications of Scientific Training in the Biomedical Research Workforce” at the 2017 AAAS meeting. The three labor economists who presented in this session focused on the economics of the postdoctoral position and how it affects their career outcomes. Paula Stephan of Georgia State University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (also a member of the FoR advisory board) has served on a number of committees both in the US and in Europe, including the National Academies’ committee “On the Postdoctoral Experience Revisited.” The other two speakers, Donna Ginther of the University of Kansas and Bruce Weinberg of The Ohio State University, both have expertise in the STEM workforce and served on the NIH’s recent Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group. Paula...

Please help with data collection: two surveys on current and former junior scientists

There are two international surveys about academia currently soliciting data:   One for current postdocs on working conditions, collecting data from postdocs all around the world. All responses are anonymous. You can find the results later in the year at www.lifesciencenetwork.com. Another survey is for those who used to work as researchers in the academic sector (it says for Europe, but you can still fill it out regardless of location) but now work in other employment sectors, to capture understanding of motivations for career transition, how transitions are achieved, useful resources, competencies valued by employers, and how useful academic experience has been. It is by Vitae, for Euraxess.   More data is urgently needed on these issues, please help by filling these in!...