Revitalizing Biomedical Research at FoR Chicago

Revitalizing Biomedical Research at FoR Chicago

Revitalizing Biomedical Research: FoR Chicago publishes meeting report

 

Scientists from across the Midwest U.S. – IL, WI, OH, MI, MN – gathered in October 2015 for the Future of Research meeting in Chicago, IL. The meeting, organized by junior scientists in Chicagoland, aimed to educate the local community about structural problems in biomedical science. The organizers also aimed to survey scientists in the Midwest in order to find out their views on these issues and solicit suggestions for improvement.

 

FoR Chicago attendees listening to Greg Petsko's talk on "The Invisible Postdoc". By Natasha Wadlington

FoR Chicago attendees listening to Greg Petsko’s talk on “The Invisible Postdoc”. By Natasha Wadlington

 

The results of this meeting have now been published as a report, Revitalizing biomedical research: recommendations from the Future of Research Chicago Symposium. In the report, meeting organizers Kyle Dolan, Joseph Pierre and Erin Heckler outline concerns of junior scientists, discussed in a series of workshops:

  • under “Training paradigms”, they report the near-unanimous sentiment that career development is severely lacking in training, calling for more professional PhD programs, and the need for junior scientists themselves to advocate for their own training;
  • under “Careers” they discuss the lack of employment data and career outcomes for junior scientists and ways to collect this data;
  • under “Funding”, a sustainable funding model is encouraged, and a shift towards younger faculty with fresh ideas and reduced bureaucracy and grant application and review;
  • and finally, under “A better culture of research”, junior scientists overwhelmingly aspire towards a research environment that promotes robustness and transparency in discovery.

 

Panel discussion with (L-R) Mary O'Riordan, University of Michigan; Gary McDowell, FoR; KAy Lund, Director of the Office for the Biomedical Research Workforce at NIH; Krisztina Eleki, Chicago Council on Science and Technology; and Richard Harris, NPR. By Natasha Wadlington

Panel discussion with (L-R) Mary O’Riordan, University of Michigan; Gary McDowell, FoR; KAy Lund, Director of the Office for the Biomedical Research Workforce at NIH; Krisztina Eleki, Chicago Council on Science and Technology; and Richard Harris, NPR. By Natasha Wadlington

 

This publication is in keeping with FoR’s aim of trying to make sure that results from meetings and discussions are made freely available and transparent. This meeting was designed in much the same way as the first Future of Research meeting in Boston in 2014 with the resulting paper Shaping the Future of Research: a perspective from junior scientists, but to involve a different population of junior scientists, as not all issues in Boston apply to junior scientists everywhere.

 

Workshop attendees in discussion with Mary O'Riordan. By Natasha Wadlington.

Workshop attendees in discussion with Mary O’Riordan. By Natasha Wadlington.

 

FoR Chicago has already previously presented its work in poster form: Postdoctoral advocacy in action: lessons from the Future of Research Chicago Symposium. This was the prize-winning poster at the National Postdoc Association’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids, MI earlier in 2016.

 

Workshop notes. By Natasha Wadlington.

Workshop notes. By Natasha Wadlington.

 

Junior scientists in the MidWest have been particularly active in advocating for greater transparency and data collection about our population, not least with the National Postdoc Survey. As we explained in an earlier blogpost,  a team of postdocs from the postdoc association at the University of Chicago launched the survey to benefit all members of the postdoctoral community – independent of academic discipline – by addressing a critical need to collect data about the postdoc experience in the US. If you are a postdoc and haven’t yet taken the survey, you have until July 30th.

 

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