The FLSA and postdoc salaries: actions and where things currently stand

The FLSA and postdoc salaries: actions and where things currently stand

If you’ve been following along with out FLSA and postdocs resource, you’ll know that on December 1st, 2016, the threshold at which salaried workers (including all postdocs, regardless of visa or fellowship status) 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). This was delayed by an injunction granted November 22nd, 2016 (see here for more information), and the updates were declared invalid on August 31st, 2017.   ACTION: There is a new call for comments in a Department of Labor Request for Information here (guidelines for empoyer comments are here). You are able to make comments until September 25th.   We have revised our paper on the FLSA and postdocs and this will appear in the next couple of days here (you can see our data from before the injunction in this first version). We tracked how institutions responded to the injunction and removal of a federal mandate for salary raises for postdocs, particularly given that the NIH decided to keep their new NRSA postdoctoral salary levels at the levels set by the FLSA updates.   The major finding from our second round of data collection is that around 60% of postdocs are at institutions whose policies have changed to raise salaries, even after the injunction. 5 institutions who originally cancelled plans to raise salaries (University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, Brigham and Women’s (Boston, MA), Iowa State University and Massachusetts General Hospital) have since reversed their plans to varying degrees. You can find out more in the FLSA and postdocs resource under the first tab,...

Administration moves to end DACA; action to support those affected.

The U.S. administration has announced moves to end DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by March 5th.   In a previous post, “How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them“, we pointed out that 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. Indeed, surveys and other data suggest that 28% of DREAMERs are pursuing a STEM degree in the U.S.   If you are looking for ways to get involved with supporting those affected by the move, defenddaca.com is live with actions you can take. United We Dream is having a community call to process this evening: Text DACAcall to 877877 for English Text LaLlamada to 877877 for Spanish   As a group promoting a more inclusive and diverse research culture, we recognize the value that DREAMERs are currently contributing to this country both in and out of STEM fields. Indeed, we ourselves are made of internationals who have found a home in the U.S. and contributed to advancement in our fields, and stand in solidarity with those affected by these proposed changes.  ...
Be the Change: Building Support for Scientist Engagement with Union of Concerned Scientists

Be the Change: Building Support for Scientist Engagement with Union of Concerned Scientists

Future of Research is sponsoring a webinar with Union of Concerned Scientists on Thursday August 31st, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT, where you can learn strategies for building support for scientist engagement with the public and decision-makers. You can register for the webinar HERE.   One of the ways we can improve the scientific enterprise is to empower scientists to become more engaged with the public or other stakeholders. However, currently there are still few incentives and rewards in academia for scientists to engage with the public, as well as a lack of training for them in this area.   This webinar will showcase individuals who have been part of this movement, and who will discuss strategies for bringing about those changes in the scientific enterprise. Speakers will also provide recommendations for others who are eager to engage with various stakeholders within their work.   Speakers include: Elyse Aurbach-Pruitt, co-founder and co-director, RELATE (Researchers Expanding Lay-Audience Teaching and Engagement) Nalini Nadkarni and Caitlin Weber, STEM Ambassador Program (STEMAP) Dan Pomeroy, managing director and senior policy advisor, International Policy Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology   Register for the webinar HERE...
Perspectives on changing science from the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

Perspectives on changing science from the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Being part of Future of Research, I often wonder whether the issues we are facing in the scientific system in the U.S. also exist elsewhere in the world. Although I grew up in Eastern Europe, most of my research experiences have been in laboratories across the U.S. This has definitely given me a great variety of experiences and perspectives. But, as I’ve recently witnessed in the March for Science events, science is indeed global and most likely we all face the same issues and can learn from each other.   Very recently, I had the great chance of remotely attending the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting, entitled “A pan-European Scientists’ Community: Promoting an Open Science in an Open World“, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, and was introduced here. The main goal of this meeting was to foster the creation of a large pan-European community of citizen-scientists supporting the new social contract between science and society. The meeting was divided into 3 areas: 1) initiatives from grassroots organizations and organizers of various European “March for Science” marches; 2) a discussion of citizen science projects/engaging the public with science and 3) open science and broader issues in the scientific enterprise. The Future of Research Executive Director Gary McDowell gave a brief talk and participated in the debate in the final session.   Common themes emerged throughout this meeting, which are great reminders of how science is done or should be done in the future, not just in Europe, but everywhere in the world. To some extent,...
The NIH need to hear from YOU about the Grant Support Index

The NIH need to hear from YOU about the Grant Support Index

On June 8th and 9th the National Institutes of Health Advisory Council to the Director will meet. On the afternoon of the first day, the Grant Support Index (GSI, which is being used with reference to the proposed cap on NIH funding), will be discussed. Given the intense debate about the new NIH grant cap proposed that occurred at the NIH Council of Councils recently it is very important to make sure that all voices are heard in this discussion.   The voices that the NIH are most likely to hear from on these issues are the ones with the largest megaphones, including the very people who may already are above the cap, and the few institutions that support large numbers of these investigators. We at Future of Research think it is vitally important that NIH hears from all NIH-funded, or potentially NIH-funded, investigators and researchers, including early career researchers. We are asking you to let the NIH know what you think in at least one, but preferably ALL, of the following ways, before June 8:   Send a letter (we provide a template below which you are free to edit as you see fit) to: Francis Collins: francis.collins[at]nih.gov Lawrence Tabak: lawrence.tabak[at]nih.gov Michael Lauer: michael.lauer[at]nih.gov The director of your specific institute(s), if applicable Comment on the NIH blog post. Send comments to info[at]futureofresearch.org if you think there are points we should consider for the statement we are drafting. If you are in DC June 8th, consider attending the open session at the Advisory Council to the Director’s meeting to express your opinion. The GSI will be discussed at 1pm on Thursday June 8th (and it is...
Join in on Tuesday May 16th: The 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

Join in on Tuesday May 16th: The 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

  On May 16th the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting, “A pan-European Scientists’ Community: Promoting an Open Science in an Open World“, will be taking place in Barcelona, Spain. Its aim is to foster the creation of a pan-European community fostering greater interaction between science and society. In the morning, representatives of grassroots associations and organizers of various European “March for Science” marches will discuss national initiatives, and their convergence. The afternoon will focus on the concept of Science Open to Society and will conclude with a general debate on how to proceed for promoting an Open Science in an Open World. Executive Director Gary McDowell will be speaking remotely as part of the final session.   You can watch the event live on the YouTube feed here....