Graduate students and recent grads: An opportunity to contribute to the Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study

Graduate students and recent grads: An opportunity to contribute to the Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study

In a recent post, we discussed the beginning of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, a new study looking at how the U.S. can create the next generation of independent researchers.   Another study that has just begun at the National Academies is the “Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study,” which is holding a session at the AAAS meeting in Boston this month, “Open Forum: Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education” with the study chair, Alan Leshner.   It is particularly important for this committee to hear directly from current and recently graduated graduate students in person and we encourage anyone attending the meeting to join. We at FoR will hopefully be able to report back on what was discussed.   The scope of the committee is:   “An ad hoc committee, under the auspices of BHEW (Board on Higher Education and Workforce) and COSEPUP (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy), and liaising with GUIRR (Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable) and TAC (Teacher Advisory Council), will lead a study of STEM graduate-level education in the U.S., revisiting and updating a similar COSEPUP study completed 20 years ago. Specific tasks will include: • Conduct a systems analysis of graduate education, with the aim of identifying policies, programs and practices that could better meet the diverse education and career needs of graduate students in coming years (at both the master’s and Ph.D. levels—understanding the commonalities and distinctions between the two levels), and also aimed at identifying deficiencies and gaps in the system that could improve graduate education programs. • Identify strategies to improve the alignment of graduate education...
OpenCon San Francisco satellite event at Manylabs 5.30-9pm Tues Feb 7th

OpenCon San Francisco satellite event at Manylabs 5.30-9pm Tues Feb 7th

Info about this meeting will be regularly updated at the OpenCon satellite event site here.   In November 2016, FoR President Jessica Polka and Executive Director attended OpenCon 2016, (see #OpenCon), a meeting seeking to empower the next generation to advance open access, open data, and open education, to generate a more open and accessible system of research and education. Finding ways of making data and educational resources available for all, and enabling people to be able to disseminate their data easily for others to see and use, their work for others to read, and their educational materials for others to access, are of interest to FoR particularly in helping those who want to practice academia more openly to feel able to do so. Gary is also a resident in the Manylabs community space for open research and education, which includes a variety of projects including Maker science. Therefore we are hosting an OpenCon satellite event on Tuesday, February 7th in the Manylabs workshop space (with drinks and light bites) from 5.30pm-9pm, to discuss some of the open science, open data, open education and Maker work going on in the local area.   Speakers will include:   Stephanie Santoso, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation:     Stephanie served from 2014-2016 as the first-ever Senior Advisor for Making at the White House, where she helped develop President Obama’s Nation of Makers initiative, to broaden access to the Maker Movement. This included planning the first-ever White House Maker Faire and the National Week of Making. She will give a short talk describing what Maker science is.   Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, iBiology    ...
Future of Research statement on immigration Executive Order, and commitment to future work

Future of Research statement on immigration Executive Order, and commitment to future work

FoR’s mission is to improve the scientific research enterprise. We promote grassroots advocacy amongst junior researchers to discuss the problems they perceive with science, and possible solutions to fix them. We then work on making these solutions a reality, working with and advocating to institutions, scientific societies, federal agencies and senior scientists to effect change – and to speak as a voice of junior researchers. We also seek to empower junior researchers by collecting data about academia and scientific training, and make the data available to help them make rational decisions when figuring out how best to use their passion for science to benefit society.   This mission applies to problems like postdoc salaries and the recent Fair Labor Standards Act fiasco. It also applies to problems like the President’s Executive Order banning nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days, and how we as a scientific community respond to them.   A huge number of junior researchers in the U.S. are not U.S. citizens. Two-thirds of postdoctoral researchers are estimated to be foreign nationals, and the majority of those are estimated to be on temporary visas such as J-1 or H-1B visas. Considering just one of the seven affected countries, there were more than 10,000 Iranian students alone in the U.S. in 2013-14, and 1,364 Iranian scholars at U.S. institutions.   This Executive Order prevents these scientists from re-entering the country if they leave, or entering if they are currently outside. It prevents scientists from traveling to and from conferences.   But these actions not...
The Next Generation Researchers Initiative at the National Academies: New Study Begins

The Next Generation Researchers Initiative at the National Academies: New Study Begins

A new study commenced work at the start of 2017: the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative,” directed by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine.   The study originated in a bill introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and has been mandated by Congress in both the 2016 Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations Act and the 21st Century Cures Act. The study is aimed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), members of Congress, institutional administrators and faculty, industry, foundations and professional associations: specifically, to the Office of the Director at NIH, the Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.   The project scope is (taken from the National Academies Current Projects page):   “An ad hoc committee overseen by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), in collaboration with COSEMPUP, BOSE, and HMD, will conduct a study that examines the policy and programmatic steps that the nation can undertake to ensure the successful launch and sustainment of careers among the next generation of researchers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including the full range of health sciences supported by the NIH. The study will examine evidence-based programs and policies that can reduce barriers to, and create more opportunities for, successful transitions to independent research careers. It will also examine factors that influence the stability and sustainability of the early stages of independent research careers. The study will include: • An evaluation of the barriers that...
Upcoming FoR Meeting in Vancouver  Feb 20th 2017

Upcoming FoR Meeting in Vancouver Feb 20th 2017

The first FoR meeting in 2017 will be in Vancouver on February 20th, 2017.   Information about the meeting is continually being updated here at our FoR Vancouver 2017 page.     FoR Vancouver represent early-career researchers from across Vancouver and British Columbia, from Simon Fraser University to the University of British Columbia to the University of Victoria. Current job structures in science, and opportunities for funding, training, and support make careers in research unpredictable and insecure for many of Canada’s most passionate young scientists. However, a more sustainable career environment could secure world-leading science in Canada and BC, which will be vital to deal with health, environmental, agricultural, and economic challenges to come.   The Future of Research Vancouver Symposium 2017 On February 20th, 2017, we will be holding the first FoR Vancouver symposium, bringing together early-career researchers from across BC to discuss challenges facing the future of Canadian science, including: 1) Funding for early career researchers 2) Training and transparency of career outcomes of early career researchers 3) Increased connectivity – how to promote and strengthen conversations about research and infrastructure between research institutions and provinces 4) The structure of the scientific workforce   We are proud to announce our speakers and panellists for FoRVan 2017! Keynote address: Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education Dr. Liisa Galea, neuroscientist and science policy advocate Dr Laya Boyd, neuroscientists, Canada Research Chair and CIHR delegate Other panellists will include representatives from local industry and not-for-profit groups; to be announced!   Preliminary Schedule: February 20th, 2017 2:00 – 2:30 – Registration 2:30 – 3:15 – Keynote 3:20 – 4:30 – Interactive...
New publications: Using Census Data to See the New Face Of U.S. Science

New publications: Using Census Data to See the New Face Of U.S. Science

One of the key challenges in our work pushing for reform of the academic system and the scientific enterprise is convincing those resistant to change that there is a problem. Part of the issue in dealing with this is the debate about the quality/quantity of data available about the scientific workforce; with almost no tracking of career outcomes for graduate students and postdocs, and the variable degree to postdocs are administered in the U.S. hindering data collection efforts, a key argument against reform is the scarcity of data with which to make informed changes.   To combat this, we have started working more closely with those in science policy and the social sciences who work on these issues, and recently teamed up with labor economists at the U.S. Census Bureau/NIH to look at the U.S. biomedical workforce using census data. We have produced a comprehensive analysis of the historical size, shape and demography of the biomedical workforce in our working paper, “Preparing for the 21st Century Biomedical Research Job Market: Using Census Data to Inform Policy and Career Decision-Making” which is discussed in our comment in Nature out today, “The New Face of Science in the U.S.”. Our hope is this analysis will be of use to policy-makers, and can also help to inform junior and senior scientists alike (particularly in academia) about the realities we currently face.    We used the Integrated Public-Use Microdata Series-USA (IPUMS-USA, University of Minnesota) dataset, which contains data from both the decennial census and the annual American Community Survey (ACS), to look at biomedical scientists in the U.S. (for more details on the methods, see Appendix...