Examining Administrative Research Data to Track Postdoc Career Outcomes: a Talk by Dr. Nancy Calvin-Naylor

Examining Administrative Research Data to Track Postdoc Career Outcomes: a Talk by Dr. Nancy Calvin-Naylor

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston, who moderated this plenary session at the 2017 NPA meeting.   Postdoctoral scholars make up a large segment of the biomedical workforce, and tracking their career trajectories is imperative for providing them with the most appropriate training. This information would also facilitate current postdocs to connect with former trainees who transitioned into various career paths, and thus develop a network of professionals to have as a resource throughout their careers.   Despite the importance of tracking postdoctoral career outcomes, data on this topic are difficult to obtain, and the best methods for data collection are still being debated in the scientific community. The speakers in one of the plenary sessions at the 2017 National Postdoctoral Association Annual Meeting entitled “Data driven approaches to tracking postdocs,” attempted to address some of these issues. One of the main speakers in this session was Dr. Nancy Calvin-Naylor, Managing Director at the Institute for Research on Innovation & Science (IRIS) at the University of Michigan.   What is the recent state of the biomedical research workforce? Dr. Nancy Calvin-Naylor’s talk entitled “Examining Administrative Research Data to Track Postdoc Career Outcomes” began with the traditional definition of the postdoc experience as an apprenticeship for an independent academic research career. However, she pointed out that fewer academic research positions exist than the number of graduate students and postdocs, and trainees are now pursuing a variety of different career paths. Although a variety of approaches have been taken to their track career outcomes to date, there are still a lot of unknowns (shown...
The NIH grant cap

The NIH grant cap

  The National Institutes of Health have proposed a cap on the level of funding that individual investigators can be awarded from NIH. In “New NIH Approach to Grant Funding Aimed at Optimizing Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars“, NIH Director Francis Collins announced the move in an attempt to redress imbalances with funding, and to particularly focus on early- and mid-career investigators. Indeed, as the post states: “While we have made progress in reversing the decline in grant funding to early-career investigators through various programs and policies, the percentage of NIH awards that support this group remains flat. Unfortunately, gains for early-career investigators have been offset by a decline in the percentage of NIH awards that support mid-career investigators. The only group for which the percentage of grant funding is increasing is late-career investigators.” Further information is described in Michael Lauer’s Open Mike blog post on the subject.   What’s up with the early- and mid-career investigators? Not funding rates, and that’s the issue. As Michael Lauer recently discussed at the National Academy of Sciences, the NIH recently intervened to attempt to halt the declining funding rates of early-career investigators, and while they were successful in stabilizing the level of funding of early career investigators, as the success of the senior investigator pool continued to increase, mid-career investigators now started to see a downturn:       Why would NIH want to introduce this cap? 10% of NIH investigators receive 40% of the funding. This may not seem like a problem to those who feel the best science should be rewarded, but the problem is inherent in defining what the best science is,...
Marching for a change in the culture of science

Marching for a change in the culture of science

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist Adriana Bankston.   I never thought I would participate in an event like this. For me and my family, science had always been a part of our lives, our work, and a way to earn a living. I never thought that I would march for science, but at the same time I was excited to stand up for something that had been such a big part of my life. And to an extent, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this historical day.   The March for Science also made me think more deeply about my role in improving the scientific enterprise. A few months ago, I wrote this post stating that I was marching to preserve science as a top priority and to give a voice to junior scientists in the process. While these goals are supremely important, I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of my role in the process until closer to the date of the march.   Since the Louisville March for Science (combined with the People’s Climate March) wasn’t until April 23rd, I was able to follow all the other marches from around the world the day before. I was so happy to see the entire world supporting science! It was quite impressive. I tried to follow as many of the marches as I could on Twitter, while watching the D.C. march online at the same time.   The day before the Louisville march, I realized that, having left the bench over 6 months ago, I had forgotten how much I...
March for Science: FoR Events and Partners

March for Science: FoR Events and Partners

  The March for Science is nearly upon us! As partners of the march in DC, as well as several satellite marches, we wanted to pass along info about events and logistics. There are over 500 Marches worldwide, so even if you aren’t near any of the marches mentioned below, you can find info on all of them at the . If you are interested in participating in a March but are not sure where the closest march is, visit the March for Science March information page, where you can find the March nearest you, and sign up.   Information about marching in general We have just published a post, “How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them” with information on marching and advocacy, with further resources, to provide information to try to address concerns and questions people may have about marching. Please contact info [at] futureofresearch.org with questions/comments.     March partners and events Future of Research is officially partnered with the march in Washington DC, and with the satellite marches in Minnesota, Chicago, and Louisville. We will be participating directly in events at the DC March (a Teach-in) and the San Francisco March (on a panel) as detailed below!   March for Science DC Event Details: https://www.marchforscience.com/event-details     Future of Research Teach-in: Juan Pablo Ruiz of Labmosphere, also a lead organizer of a FoR meeting currently being planned in Maryland on mentoring in academia, will be leading a Teach-in, “Challenges in becoming a scientist”, discussing real actions to be taken in advocating for junior scientists. Register here! See also the Facebook event here.    ...
How Early Career Scientists can serve science through policy: A workshop at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

How Early Career Scientists can serve science through policy: A workshop at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

This post was originally published on the Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) blog on April 14, 2017. Re-posting with permission from AFS. Picture by Jessica Polka. Early career researchers aspire to engage with society while still pursuing their research careers. They may engage by contributing directly to policy decisions or by becoming community advocates. This type of engagement is critical for making the public understand what science is and what scientists do. At the same time, it gives junior scientists multiple avenues by which to serve society through policy. The goal of a recent AAAS meeting session, entitled “How Early Career Scientists Can Serve Science Through Policy,” was to gain perspective on and explore such avenues for engagement with society. The session was coordinated by Georgia Lagoudas, a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute, and Abigail Regitsky, a treasurer for the MIT Science Policy Initiative. This is a group of graduate (and some undergraduate) students whose goal is to create better scientists and engineers as well as a better society through rigorous research and authentic engagement with public policy. The presenters in the session were: Noelle Selin, an Associate Professor at MIT and Associate Director for the MIT Technology and Policy Program; John Gavenonis, a Technical and Business Manager at the DuPont Experimental Station; and Paula Garcia, an Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.   Consider your goal In general, the presenters advised early career scientists to engage not only with policymakers but also with interdisciplinary researchers studying all aspects of a problem, as a helpful strategy for having a...