Effects of DACA on members of the STEM community

Effects of DACA on members of the STEM community

This is a guest post by Future of Research board member, Sarah Wong.   Future of Research has issued a statement condemning the attacks on DACA and expressing our commitment to diversity in STEM. FoR interviewed several members of the STEM community to understand more about the effects of DACA on this population. They described the barriers they have faced while in the US and their fears in the face of the DACA repeal. Finally, they discussed how the scientific community can help support them.   Karina Meneses, a math major at the University of California San Diego, arrived in the USA from Mexico at age 11. She recalled her childhood experience as an illegal immigrant: “I have faced financial hardship: my parents and I lived in a single room for years and have been on the brink of being homeless if not for people who were willing to lend a hand and let us stay with them. There have been times when we relied on the Church for food. And of course, this isn’t because my parents are lazy but because it is very hard to find a stable job when you’re undocumented”. Despite these hardships, she managed to graduate at the top of her high school class. She is now in her final year at UCSD, and plans to attend graduate school.   Meneses stressed that DACA recipients face more financial hardships in college than US citizens, as many are ineligible for certain scholarships or paid research programs. This sentiment was shared by Francisco J. López-Flores, a Senior Leave Analyst at UCLA Health, who was “part of...
FoR public statement on the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative” study at the National Academies

FoR public statement on the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative” study at the National Academies

The Board of Future of Research has submitted the following to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine study, the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative”. As Executive Director Gary McDowell and President Jessica Polka are both members of the study committee, they recused themselves from drafting this statement:   Future of Research advocates for training early career researchers to be successful in independent research careers, and the long-term sustainment of such careers. As an organization, we provide opportunities for and encourage early career researchers to speak up about issues they have experienced within the scientific system, while also collecting and analyzing data to identify ways the system should change to better fit their career preparation needs.   The Next Generation Researchers Initiative study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, brings much of our own concerns to light in terms of the barriers encountered by researchers when transitioning into independent research careers. One of the biggest barriers is the lack of career guidance and support needed to prepare them for successfully transitioning into a variety of research intensive roles within and outside of academia. The Committee could make a positive impact by gathering data on what researchers in these fields need (including longitudinal studies) and encouraging universities and research institutes to implement career development programs to help them in this transition.   More broadly exposing early career researchers to multiple types of research experiences could be achieved by internships and other programs at the university level, enabling them to become better prepared for research intensive careers. We recommend the Committee discuss how mentors can encourage trainees to...

How to help those affected by Hurricane Maria

With thanks to Daniel Colon-Ramos from Ciencia Puerto Rico, we want to share with you ways you can help those affected by Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.   Members of our community have been directly and indirectly impacted by the devastation caused by Maria. Many people have loved ones and collaborators who are in the midst of the crisis. Hurricane Maria has left 3.5 million people without power in the archipelago of Puerto Rico in a massive humanitarian crisis. Almost all of the population have no power and 75% don’t have water service at home; according to the Pentagon, 44% don’t have access to drinking water. Approximately 80% of the population do not have access to communication services, as landlines, cell towers and internet access are severely affected.   CenadoresPR and CienciaPR have collected and vetted ways of helping those affected, and kindly shared this information with us: If people need to find information about family, friends or community in Puerto Rico, email the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) at maria1@prfaa.pr.gov or contact them at 202-800-3133 or 202-800-3134. Another organization providing assistance to PRFAA is the Puerto Rico Family Institute at 212-414-7895. Google has also activated its Google Person Finder The American Red Cross has a  Safe and Well page, where survivors can register and post messages, and loved ones can search for registrants. Those worried about missing friends or relatives with a serious health condition are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767, so volunteers on the ground can follow-up.   They have also collected and vetted ways of aiding recovery: Donations to...
ONE WEEK LEFT to submit comments to Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century

ONE WEEK LEFT to submit comments to Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century

Two studies, currently underway at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, are soliciting public input as part of their process, and they need to hear from you. ONE of the studies has only ONE WEEK LEFT for you to submit input.   The Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century invites public input here on its Discussion Document and Call for Community Input through September 22, 2017.   See our action page at http://futureofresearch.org/nasfeedback/ for more info....
Come in person or watch the webcast for: “Bold Visions for the Future of Science” and “Perspectives on Postdoctoral Researchers”

Come in person or watch the webcast for: “Bold Visions for the Future of Science” and “Perspectives on Postdoctoral Researchers”

  For more information, see our Action of the Month   Two studies, currently underway at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, are soliciting public input as part of their process, and they need to hear from you. You can join in in person/watch live THIS THURSDAY 14th September, 1:30-5:15pm Pacific Time.   From the NASEM Board on Higher Education and Workforce: Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:30 pm – 5:15 pm PDT University of California, San Francisco Genentech Hall Auditorium* 600 16th Street San Francisco, CA *Please note that meeting space is limited. A webcast will also be available. This public session of the fourth meeting for the Next Generation Researchers Initiative will feature distinguished scientists, physicians, industry leaders, and scholars who will discuss the barriers and opportunities facing the next generation of independent researchers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Particular emphasis will be on hearing postdoctoral perspectives and envisioning the future of research. This meeting will feature and be moderated by: Chair Alan Leshner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Chair Ron Daniels, President, the Johns Hopkins University   Register Here for the In-Person Meeting Register Here for the Webcast   Draft Agenda: 1:30 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. Opening Remarks by Host Keith Yamamoto 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Panel I: Bold Visions for the Future of Science Panelists will share their vision on how changes to today’s system of graduate education and early research careers can ensure a future research enterprise that fosters innovation, promotes equity and inclusion, and advances U.S. national interests. Chair Alan Leshner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of...
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,...