Future of Research welcomes Dr. Adriana Bankston as Associate Director of Fundraising and Strategic Initiatives

Future of Research welcomes Dr. Adriana Bankston as Associate Director of Fundraising and Strategic Initiatives

We at Future of Research are very excited to announce that as of May 14th, former Board member Dr. Adriana Bankston has joined the FoR staff as Associate Director of Fundraising and Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Bankston will start with us as a part-time hire for 6 months which we hope to sustain as part of her efforts into raising funds.   As we enter the last year of our initial seed grant from Open Philanthropy, we are looking into how we sustain the efforts of Future of Research. It has become clear that this work requires dedicated time and effort, and with the enthusiasm and dedication to the organization that Dr. Bankston brings, we are hopeful that we will be able to more efficiently sustain the efforts of FoR.   Dr. Bankston is a skeletal muscle biologist by training, with the overall goal of improving the biomedical research enterprise. In 2005, she obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University with a Magna cum laude distinction. She then moved onto Emory University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology in 2013. Her Ph.D. dissertation studies with Dr. Grace Pavlath centered around skeletal muscle growth and repair using primary muscle stem cells and rodent models. Her postdoctoral studies at the University of Louisville were initially focused on membrane trafficking, followed by the regulation of mammalian myogenesis with Dr. Ashok Kumar until September 2016.   During her postdoctoral studies, she developed an interest in training practices and policies affecting junior scientists within U.S. institutions. To this end, she co-founded and co-organized two initiatives to improve professional...
Future of Research joins other scientific organizations urging Puerto Rico’s Governor Not to Dismantle Statistical Agency

Future of Research joins other scientific organizations urging Puerto Rico’s Governor Not to Dismantle Statistical Agency

  *To help us take action, please read and sign this petition urging the Governor of Puerto Rico to keep the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics autonomous and independent.*   The following is adapted from a Press Release by the American Statistical Association:   Today, Future of Research joined 46 other U.S. and international scientific organizations and professional societies in sending a letter to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, urging him to keep the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS) autonomous and independent. Earlier this year, Puerto Rico’s legislature was considering a proposal that would dismantle PRIS by reorganizing the agency’s statistical functions and placing them under the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC). The plan also requires the DEDC secretary to outsource all statistical functions currently performed by PRIS. Rosselló is expected to present the latest reorganization plan in the coming days, which the legislature must approve by June 30. Currently, PRIS is an independent government agency of the executive branch with many protections established by law – including having an executive director named to 10-year terms and a board of directors composed by experts – to ensure its impartial collection, production and communication of statistical data. Such protections would be eliminated under the government of Puerto Rico’s current reorganization plan. The letter sent today – led by the American Statistical Association and transmitted by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt – emphasizes the importance of PRIS continuing to operate independently of political influences, bureaucracy, and conflicts of interest. Experts believe inaccurate and dated statistical systems underlie many of the problems Puerto...
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine report “Breaking Through” public debut on April 12th

The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine report “Breaking Through” public debut on April 12th

On April 12th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report “Breaking Through” will be released and publicly discussed in DC and over livestream at 1.30pm EST. FoR President Jessica Polka and ED Gary McDowell, and FoR advisory board member Paula Stephan, were all on the committee. The study was Congressionally mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act.   Register here for the meeting and webcast.   The study, which “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” includes: • An evaluation of the barriers that prospective researchers encounter as they transition to independent research careers; • An evaluation of the impact of federal policies and budgets, including federal agency policies and procedures regarding research grant awards, on opportunities for prospective researchers to successfully transition into independent research careers and to secure their all-important first and second major research grants; • An evaluation of the extent to which employers (industry, government agencies and labs, academic institutions, and others) can facilitate smooth transitions for early career researchers into independent research careers.   You can see additional information about the study, including released responses to the call for public information, and the reports on the systems in Canada, China, the EU, the UK and Singapore here.   In addition, Gary McDowell will be giving the postdoc seminar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI on April 12th at noon, where the contents of the report will also be discussed....
NEW resource: Tracking career outcomes of PhDs and postdocs at institutions

NEW resource: Tracking career outcomes of PhDs and postdocs at institutions

  For decades, institutions have been asked in various reports to track and report out on their PhD and postdoc alumnae career outcomes. A number of recent efforts by a variety of stakeholders in the last year suggest that 2018 may be the year when this comes to pass, and we are keeping track of all the efforts and which institutions have released data in our new Tracking Career Outcomes at Institutions resource.   As stated in a Policy Forum by ten University Presidents in Science, “A new data effort to inform career choices in biomedicine,”:   “The biomedical research enterprise finds itself in a moment of intense self-reflection, with science leaders, professional organizations, and funders all working to enhance their support for the next generation of biomedical scientists. One focus of their attention has been the lack of robust and publicly available information on education and training outcomes. In the absence of such information, students are prevented from making informed choices about their pre- and postdoctoral training activities, and universities from preparing trainees for a full range of careers.   The piece points out that reports that have asked for this data have included: Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences: A Framework for Discussion (FASEB, 2015); The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2014); Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2005); and Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 1995).   Greater transparency could allow junior researchers to act more rationally, or prepare in a more informed manner, their...
January 2018 Newsletter items

January 2018 Newsletter items

You can sign up to receive the full monthly newsletter here   Postdoc salaries in the U.S.   The image above was kindly given to us by Drew Doering of UW-Madison. Some of the data is currently being updated e.g. University of Illinois has now sent corrected information; the resource will be updated in the coming days. We released a resource in December about postdoc salaries on our website here. A story about the resource, “Pay for US postdocs varies wildly by institution” came out in Nature discussing some of the general points. After analyzing the data, we have put this preprint on bioRxiv: “Assessing the Landscape of U.S. Postdoctoral Salaries” and have submitted a manuscript to a journal on this data. Please take a look and tell us what you think! You can also see a summary of the data and issues surrounding it in the poster I presented at ASCB in December (see also the effort in harmonizing postdoc titles at institutions published in eLife, in “What’s in a Name?“, and “The GSS is an unreliable indicator of biological sciences postdoc population trends“). Career outcome tracking for PhDs and postdocs     A number of groups including Rescuing Biomedical Research and the Coalition for Next Generation Life Sciences (or CNGLS as I like to call it) have been pushing efforts towards making institutions keep track of where their graduate student and postdoc alumnae go. CNGLS is a coalition of ten institutions committed to releasing various pieces of data about their populations over the next 2 years – you can see their website here and read their coauthored piece in Science on the rationale behind this move here. We have...
FoR Statement on the “Coalition for Next Generation Life Science”

FoR Statement on the “Coalition for Next Generation Life Science”

You can find a PDF copy of the statement below here.   Information on the biomedical labor market is necessary both for the formulation of policies that ensure its sustainable future as well as for informing individual career decisions.   Despite repeated calls (beginning at least as early as 1969) information on the career outcomes of life sciences graduate students and postdocs has remained poor or altogether unavailable. This has recently been discussed in an effort coordinated by Rescuing Biomedical Research and spearheaded by existing efforts to track career outcomes of PhDs, particularly NIH’s BEST Consortium. These efforts are currently focused on graduate programs and PhD outcomes, and do not currently encompass data collection on postdocs.   Today’s announcement in Science that a coalition of universities pledges to release information on all of their biomedical graduate students AND postdocs represents an unprecedented watershed moment. Previous efforts have been driven by prominent advisory committees, individuals, or other groups, but in this case, strong leadership is coming from within universities themselves.   The information to be released includes:   Admissions and matriculation data of Ph.D. students Median time to degree and completion data for Ph.D. programs Demographics of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars by gender, underrepresented minority status, and citizenship Median time in postdoctoral status at the institution Career outcomes for Ph.D. and postdoctoral alumni, classified by job sector and career type   FoR congratulates UCSF, Johns Hopkins, University of Wisconsin, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Cornell University, Duke University, MIT, and University of Michigan. for leading this movement. We urge other universities to join...