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...
New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW)

New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW)

For the attention of women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students – we have received this call for applications to this workshop:   “We would like to invite women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students to participate in the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW) on the Northeastern University campus in Boston, Massachusetts on August 10, 2017.  The NE-FFW is designed specifically for women in STEM fields who are late-stage PhD students and postdoctoral scholars and interested in an academic career.   The NE-FFW is focused on the academic job search.  The format of the one-day workshop includes faculty-led interactive discussions and peer-to-peer interactions.  Workshop topics include:  Finding Your Institutional Fit, Standing Out in the Interview, Reviewing CVs, Developing a Research Statement, Negotiating the Job Offer, and more.  To learn more about the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields, go to: http://www.northeastern.edu/advance/recruitment/future-faculty-workshop/   To participate in the NE-FFW, there are several steps interested people need to take: Apply by May 26th online here. Submit a 300 word statement about why they want to participate Submit their CV Accepted applicants will be notified by June 5th Confirm their participation by paying a $25 registration fee by July 1, 2017and uploading a research statement   This unique opportunity is one they will not want to miss.   Warm regards, NE-FWW Planning Committee   Northeastern University: Penny Beuning, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Jan Rinehart, Executive Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Kathleen Kenney, Assistant Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Hillary Hadley, Postdoctoral Research Associate,...
What Career Awareness and Development Resources Are There for Junior Scientists? A Workshop at the 2016 ASCB meeting

What Career Awareness and Development Resources Are There for Junior Scientists? A Workshop at the 2016 ASCB meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Introduction Career development for junior scientists remains one of the most important issues in the biomedical research enterprise. Since the perceived notion is that the role of junior scientists is to drive science forward by working at the bench, training them for career success may not be a top priority. However, recent statistics state that only 10% of trainees go on to have a faculty position (Table 3–18 in (National Science Foundation, 2014)). Therefore, training graduate students and postdocs for success in non-research careers beyond the bench must be a major focus of the enterprise. While many U.S. institutions have developed very useful career development programming in this regard, the career training landscape for junior scientists is still inconsistent across the country and may also be lacking important components to help academics transition into non-research careers.   Improving career training for junior scientists can only be achieved if we know what they need from the system. Traditionally, although this is beginning to change, junior scientists haven’t had a strong voice in the matter. At Future of Research, we want to help junior scientists transition into their desired career paths, while giving them a voice in the process. In our workshops, we asked trainees about which career resources they are currently using/finding useful, and what resources they would like to have for career success. We plan to use this information to create a resource on our website, which we hope will be useful towards improving career training for junior scientists.      Previous career workshops In...
Crisis in biomedical science: time for a change? Notes on a talk by Arturo Casadevall

Crisis in biomedical science: time for a change? Notes on a talk by Arturo Casadevall

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   There are “internal problems rooted in the culture of science,” write Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C. Fang in a 2017 post for The Baltimore Sun entitled “Is science in crisis?” Arturo Casadevall, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlighted some of these problems in his talk entitled “Crisis in biomedical science: time for a change?” given at the Microbiology & Immunology Department seminar at the University of Louisville on February 2, 2017.     Innovation, science and technology drive economic growth. And yet, many different types of problems exist within the scientific enterprise, and these are both external and internal. Some notable external problems are inadequate funding and workforce imbalances, whereas major internal problems are disproportionate rewards to winners, an obsession with the impact factor, and poor communication with the public. Proposed solutions are political, societal and scientific reforms.     From this list, Dr. Casadevall focused on three major issues with the culture of science during his talk – namely funding science, reproducibility issues and the impact factor distortion.   Science funding is a chronic structural problem, complicated by the inability of reviewers to discriminate the future success of grants between “good enough” grants – scoring 2% vs. 20% for example in study section, making the funding process more like random chance according to Casadevall. This leads to the question of whether we are funding the best work. In a controversial article for the Wall Street Journal published in 2014,...
Postdoctoral salaries at Rutgers: an analysis, in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act turmoil

Postdoctoral salaries at Rutgers: an analysis, in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act turmoil

In the wake of the injunction against updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which affected postdoctoral researchers, a number of institutions initially indicating that they would raise salaries to comply with the new minimum have reversed their plans to do so. One such institution was Rutgers University, in New Jersey. As described in this post and this post from Rutgers Postdoc Association, the institution claimed “the court ruling prohibit[s] implementation at this time of the proposed regulations.” This has not prevented other institutions from raising salaries, including the NIH, which has raised its NRSA postdoc stipend levels despite the injunction against the FLSA updates. Indeed, Rutgers (like many institutions) has previously tied its salary levels for postdocs to the NIH NRSA stipend levels. Postdocs at Rutgers are now being encouraged to sign a petition, asking the institution to resume its plans to raise postdoctoral salaries.   As part of the progression of our FLSA and postdocs resource, we have begun requesting all individual postdoctoral salaries from public institutions, using Freedom of Information requests, to see what postdocs in the U.S. are actually being paid. To help provide data to put the Rutgers Postdoc Association petition into context, here we summarize briefly an analysis of the data we received from Rutgers of all individual postdoctoral salaries as of Dec 1st 2016. The trends and data presented here are consistent amongst a number of datasets we have from various institutions.     There is a four-fold difference between the lowest and highest postdoctoral salaries. There are 542 postdoctoral associates or fellows in the dataset from Rutgers University. The average postdoc salary is $47,620.69. The median postdoc salary...
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...