Postdoc salaries at the National Institutes of Health in 2016 and 2017, and advocating for NRSA stipend raises

Postdoc salaries at the National Institutes of Health in 2016 and 2017, and advocating for NRSA stipend raises

As part of our effort to make individual postdoc salaries in the U.S. more transparent, we have been carrying out Freedom of Information requests at public institutions to have a standard, albeit blunt, instrument for gathering data on postdoctoral researchers. You can find more information and data on our requests to public universities for data as of Dec 1st 2016 here; but as we continue with this project, we have recently gathered data from the National Institutes of Health for salaries for their intramural postdocs (i.e. those postdocs who work at NIH Institute laboratories).   Using Freedom of Information requests, we have gathered data for postdocs at all institutes at the NIH as of Dec 1st 2016 and Dec 1st 2017, principally in Intramural Research Training Awards (IRTA, for US Citizens and permanent residents) and Visiting Fellowships (VF, for those typically on non-immigrant visas).   The request asked for: “An excel spreadsheet which provides: The total number of postdoctoral researchers at the institute, appointed to postdoctoral intramural training awards IRTAs or as Visiting Fellows, with their job titles on both 12/1/ 2016 and 12/1/17. The annual salaries on both 12/1/16, and 12/1/17; or monthly compensation received for the payroll month of December 2016 and December 2017, of each of the postdoctoral researchers in the institute appointed to postdoctoral intramural training awards IRTAs or as Visiting Fellows.”   Here we provide a very brief overview of the data that we have gathered, which we are continuing to interrogate. A more thorough analysis will follow in due course.   Number of Postdocs The NIH’s page on Postdoctoral Programs at NIH states: “Altogether, the NIH is...
Future of Research Board of Directors issues response to NSF Sexual Harassment policy

Future of Research Board of Directors issues response to NSF Sexual Harassment policy

The Board of Directors of Future of Research has submitted a response to the National Science Foundation’s request for comment on Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault. You can find the statement here as a downloadable PDF and below. At time of writing, there was still time to comment (comments due end May 4th 2018); we urge you to submit comments here. Future of Research Response to the National Science Foundation’s request for comment on Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault Future of Research (FoR) is an early-career researcher-led nonprofit that seeks to champion, engage and empower early career scientists with evidence-based resources to improve the scientific research endeavor. The hypercompetitive research system and the dependence on faculty for research and career development create a power dynamic that can facilitate exploitation and harassment. For the approximately 45% of graduate students in science and engineering, and 55% of postdocs on temporary visas that are tied to their employment status, this dynamic is even more skewed. Many early career researchers thus cannot report sexual harassment without endangering their careers and/or immigration status. We therefore applaud and support the National Science Foundation’s proposed changes in Important Notice No. 144 issued February 4th 2018.   Data illustrating the landscape and power dynamics that make academe an environment particularly conducive to sexual harassment of postdocs were discussed by Future of Research President Dr. Jessica Polka and National Postdoctoral Association Chair Dr. Kate Sleeth at the Fourth Committee Meeting of The Committee on Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia as...
Engaging ECRs in advocating for science and scientists

Engaging ECRs in advocating for science and scientists

This is a guest post by FoR BoD member Adriana Bankston.   During the month of April, Future of Research (FoR) supported multiple efforts towards advocating for science and scientists. FoR BoD member Adriana Bankston and FoR ED Gary McDowell participated in their local March for Science, in San Diego and Oakland/The Bay Area, respectively. In addition, contributions from several FoR Board Members have also been spotted in the Science not Silence book – observe in more detail here. Also, FoR is partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists for the Science Rising campaign, as part of which BoD member Adriana Bankston wrote a blog post on engaging ECRs in science advocacy, policy and communication (screenshot from the post is below).   These events brought up the idea of organizing a larger discussion around science advocacy. On May 1, 2018, Future of Research and the Union of Concerned Scientists co-hosted a Twitter chat on engaging ECRs in advocacy, which also highlighted resources and strategies to help ECRs be effective science advocates. Check out the #AdvForSci hashtag for the chat, which was administered from the @FORsymp account. Several very active science policy groups participated in the chat: @SciPolUCLA;  @jhscipolgroup; @UNC_SPAG and @HarvardSciPol. We were also joined by @STEMadvocacy and @dpham20 from @ASBMB. Below, we list the resources provided by each group for easy follow-up, but also to illustrate in some cases the similarities between ideas that are common to multiple participants.   EVENTS PUT TOGETHER/PARTICIPATED IN:   Engaging ECRs in advocacy activities (Sci Pol Group UCLA) Science policy certificate, classes and mini-symposium (Harvard Sci Pol Group) Seminars & workshops on diverse...
Tweetchat 1-2pm EST May 1: How do we encourage early career scientists in advocacy?

Tweetchat 1-2pm EST May 1: How do we encourage early career scientists in advocacy?

On May 1 at 1-2pm EST FoR will be co-hosting a Tweetchat on “Advocating for science,” where various science policy groups will discuss how to engage early career researchers in advocacy and will also provide resources.   How do you get involved in advocacy? What groups exist waiting to channel your energy and enthusiasm into productive actions? What are the kinds of problems that scientists are or should be trying to fix?   Join us to find out more about how to get involved with groups on campuses and nationwide. We hope it will be a very useful discussion and will help everyone share ideas and resources on how to advocate for science.   For more discussion about the role of early career scientists in advocacy, see this recent post by FoR BoD member Adriana Bankston: Empowering Early Career Scientists to Engage in Science Advocacy, Policy and Communication...
Upcoming Minisymposium on Reproducibility

Upcoming Minisymposium on Reproducibility

There are numerous efforts under way by a variety of stakeholders to make research more reproducible, through increased transparency and data- and resource-sharing initiatives. What tools are available, what experiments are currently under way, and what best practices are emerging in the drive to facilitate greater reproducibility?   On Wednesday May 9th 2018, Addgene and the Harvard GSAS Science Policy Group will host a Minisymposium on Reproducibility to discuss these issues, which you can attend in-person or remotely:   Talks 3:10 – 3:30 – Reproducibility Overview – Jefrey S. Flier, Researcher at Harvard Medical School, former dean of Harvard Medical School 3:35 – 3:55 – Reagent sharing – Susanna Bachle, Addgene the nonprofit plasmid repository 4:00 – 4:20 – Reagent Development – Steven C. Almo, Institute for Protein Innovation Panel 4:25 – 4:55 Alex Tucker (Ginkgo Bioworks) Pamela Hines (Senior Editor at Science) Edward J. Hall (Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University) Tony Cijsouw (Neuroscience postdoc at Tufts University) Happy Hour Join the Harvard GSAS Science Policy Group for a networking happy hour following the event!   You can register here to attend in-person in Boston (3:00pm – 6:00pm, New Research Building Room 350, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston).   Alternatively, you can view remotely on YouTube here (no registration required).   Future of Research is excited to support this event!...
FoR article “Changing the Culture of Science Communication Training for Junior Scientists” in Special Science Communication Issue of JMBE

FoR article “Changing the Culture of Science Communication Training for Junior Scientists” in Special Science Communication Issue of JMBE

The American Society for Microbiology’s Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education has just released a special issue on Science Communication. FoR Board member Adriana Bankston and ED Gary McDowell have a publication included: “Changing the Culture of Science Communication Training for Junior Scientists“. As stated in the editorial:   “While reviewing manuscripts for this issue, we were drawn to papers that made us think differently about these important issues. We were drawn, too, to papers that pushed traditional academic boundaries. Papers that especially piqued our interest were Aune et al. (Using Nonfiction Narratives in an English Course to Teach the Nature of Science and Its Importance to Communicating about Science), Taylor and Dewsbury (On the Problem and Promise of Metaphor Use in Science and Science Communication), Todd et al. (Fostering Conversation about Synthetic Biology between Publics and Scientists: A Comparison of Approaches and Outcomes), and Bankston and McDowell (Changing the Culture of Science Communication Training for Junior Scientists). These papers caused us to think more intentionally about three aspects of science communication. First, we are reminded that the language that we use in the classroom and in our presentations and writings matters. Second, these papers tie in very nicely with the inclusive pedagogy conversation that is ongoing at many institutions and make us consider how information is conveyed to and from diverse audiences. Third, these papers show the value and necessity of interdisciplinary training. There is great value in sharing expertise across academic departments, and numerous opportunities exist for teaching science communication skills in collaboration with other academic sectors.”   Please feel free to comment below and tell us what you think, or...