So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

On April 27 2017, Executive Director Gary McDowell gave a talk to graduate students at the University of Michigan, “So…You Want To Do A Postdoc?” The talk presents some data about the postdoc position to provide context for discussing some barriers junior scientists face, and some advice on things to consider. This talk doesn’t aim to be a comprehensive resource, but rather to provoke thought and reflection, and challenge some basic assumptions people may have about the postdoc position.   The talk is available here on YouTube, and the slide deck is available here at F1000Research in the Future of Research Channel. After downloading the PDF of the slide deck it should be possible to click on the links to access the resources and citations mentioned.   A note on the data presented: the talk includes a very preliminary analysis using publicly-available data from the University of Michigan. It is hard to draw concrete conclusions from the data about salaries, but is used to highlight the difficulties in finding out salary info that potential postdocs may face; to challenge the assumption that all postdocs are paid on a defined scale (usually assumed to be the NIH NRSA stipend scale); and to demonstrate that a wide range of salaries can be found, and that postdocs need to ensure they are advocating for themselves in potential negotiations for positions....
March for Science: FoR Events and Partners

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

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....
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....
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...
Future of Research partners with March for Science

Future of Research partners with March for Science

Future of Research (FoR) is pleased to announce that we are officially partnering with March for Science, the organization driving marches for science at hundreds of locations around the world on April 22.               In addition to being officially partnered with the main organization and the march in DC, so far we are also currently partnered with the satellite March for Science – Minnesota.       We encourage our followers to get involved with local marches, and hope to help with local events including hosting some activities in coordination with others involved with the march.   You can read more about the mission of March for Science here, and about their principles and goals here.   If you want to get involved with us and the marches, please feel free to reach out to Gary McDowell at info[at]futureofresearch.org – we have board members in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and New York and are happy to try to coordinate with you at these and other locations if we can.   A statement from the Executive Director: FoR is passionate about a number of the issues the March for Science is looking to address, including how a more diverse scientific enterprise can benefit science and society. As a group that tries firmly to base policy recommendations in evidence, and pass data and evidence openly to junior researchers about the scientific system itself, we are concerned with the evidence being dismissed by those across the political spectrum, and also within science itself.   Science is political, and a march for science is also political. Marching...