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

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!...
Graduate Admissions: How do we predict and measure “success”?

Graduate Admissions: How do we predict and measure “success”?

Two recent posts by FoR Policy Activist Adriana Bankston and Executive Director Gary McDowell for the American Society for Cell Biology discuss graduate admissions and “success” in graduate school.   The first post, “Can we anticipate graduate student success if we can’t assess it?” discusses recent articles that show the difficulty in basing graduate admissions on metrics like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which do not appear to predict success in graduate school, as measured by metrics like publications.   In the second post, “Letting the right ones in: obstacles in graduate admissions,” the obstacles to graduate admissions are discussed, such as “success”, how and when to evaluate it, and recently-discussed issues with the process by which committees themselves decide on admissions....
Why should you March for Science?

Why should you March for Science?

This post was originally published on the Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) blog on February 22, 2017, and at LSN after. Re-posting with permission from AFS.     Science is vital to our economy, society and the world. Without science we wouldn’t have many of the technological and healthcare advances that we take for granted today. Science funding should therefore be a top priority for America and for ensuring that we remain a leader in the world. The fact that science hasn’t been prioritized or even discussed much by the current administration should be a concern for us all. For scientists everywhere, this concern has materialized into a unifying front to fight for science as a top priority.   The idea of a “march for science” was born from a tweet by Caroline Weinberg, a public health educator and science writer in New York City, in late January 2017. A twitter handle, @ScienceMarchDC, was also created by Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Since then, massive numbers of scientists have signed up to participate in the March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Additional marches are now being organized across the world on the same day in solidarity, to raise awareness of the importance of science to society. We must realize that science affects all of us and thus also engage non-scientists in the march.   Scientists everywhere want to be heard, and to maintain science as a top priority. A “secret” Facebook group for the march has gained an incredible number of followers...
The aging of the science and engineering workforce

The aging of the science and engineering workforce

A new study has been published in PNAS, titled “Why the US science and engineering workforce is aging rapidly“. The paper looks at data using the NSF’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and also uses U.S. Census data to get information about international researchers, to examine why the science and engineering workforce is aging. While there is a definite contribution from the general aging effect of the Baby Boomer population, aging is predicted to continue even without this effect.   The paper is discussed in Science, “As the U.S. scientific workforce ages, the younger generation faces the implications” and Inside Higher Ed, “50 Shades of Gray” and the authors are keen to point out that it is unknown as yet what the effects on the scientific enterprise of this aging may be, given that we can’t currently define well what differing contributions people at different ages make to science.   The paper supports previous work on the biomedical workforce by Misty Heggeness, who we interviewed previously on this subject of the aging biomedical workforce using NIH data, and with whom we also analyzed the biomedical workforce using Census data in “Preparing for the 21st Century Biomedical Research Job Market: Using Census Data to Inform Policy and Career Decision-Making” and “The new face of US science“.   At the public session of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative in January 2017, Michael Lauer of the NIH pointed out that recent interventions have stabilized the percentage of funded investigators who are early career, but now mid-career investigators are starting to suffer as the percentage of funded investigators who are late stage continues to grow:...
June 2017 Workshop: Studying inclusiveness in biology undergraduate classrooms and research spaces

June 2017 Workshop: Studying inclusiveness in biology undergraduate classrooms and research spaces

  The Environments and Metrics in Biology Education and Research (EMBER) RCN-UBE Incubator Project seeks to generate innovative measures to increase retention and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In June 2017 at Harris-Stowe College in St Louis, MO, a workshop is being organized to discuss coordination efforts for a network to initiate and communicate ideas for collaborations. The meeting hopes to attract and capitalize on the unique insights of interested educators from a multitude of relevant disciplines including biology, education, psychology and sociology. The meeting is also looking for junior researchers interested to attend.   The workshop is recruiting researchers in biology, education, psychology, and sociology fields interested in fostering inclusion and diversity in STEM programs. The EMBER network will be holding a three-day conference on the campus of Harris-Stowe State University, an historically black college located in midtown St. Louis, Missouri. Travel stipends are available, and postdocs and graduate students interested in these topics are encouraged to apply. If you would like to apply or register, see info here: to present, you can access the form here; registration for the meeting can be found here (registration is $27.37).     The PI, Jana Marcette, stated that the goals of the workshop were driven by the observation that about half of undergraduate Biology majors switch or leave without completing their declared degree. The formation of this network aims to improve biology student retention and diversity to bolster the STEM workforce. Jana hopes that the meeting will open both dialog and collaboration among social science, biology and education researchers to create metrics for inclusivity in biology classrooms and research spaces.   Addressing diversity, inclusion, equity and access in...