Make your voice heard in two National Academies studies on the future of the scientific enterprise

Make your voice heard in two National Academies studies on the future of the scientific enterprise

    Two studies, currently underway at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, are soliciting public input as part of their process. This is a chance to send in your thoughts on STEM graduate education (Masters and PhDs), and how to create the next generation of independent scientists (with a large focus on postdocs).     Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century This Committee is responding to the concern that the current system is inadequately educating graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to prepare them for productive careers in the 21st century. The National Academies has charged this Committee with considering the questions of how well the current graduate education system is equipping students for current and anticipated future needs and what changes should be made to increase its effectiveness.   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.     The Next Generation Researchers Initiative This committee of the National Academies is examining 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 NIH.   You can read the Dear Colleague Letter, visit the Web Portal for public input, and view the summary Response to Prior Recommendations document. The web portal is at www.nas.edu/NextGenDCL and is open for comment until October 1....
“Changing Science” Twitter Chat with the Union of Concerned Scientists – July 25th 1-2pm EDT

“Changing Science” Twitter Chat with the Union of Concerned Scientists – July 25th 1-2pm EDT

Should we change science? What are the barriers to making change? Whose responsibility is it to change science and how do we engage all scientists and other stakeholders?   Join us and the Union of Concerned Scientists for a Twitter chat on “Changing science”, as part of a broader discussion of changes you would like to see in science and what ideas & resources our organizations can provide for changes towards open science, outreach, advocacy, and public engagement.     Follow #FORchangingscience on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 1-2 pm ET to participate in the discussion with @FORsymp and @SciNetUCS, and our guest participants: The EMCR Forum (@EMCRForum); The Center for Open Science (@OSFramework); The STEM Advocacy Group (@STEMadvocacy); Arturo Casadevall,  (professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, @ACasadevall1); Andrew Hoffman (Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, @HoffmanAndy); Emily Cloyd (AAAS Public Engagement, @EngageClimate) and Esther Ngumbi (postdoc at Auburn Ngumbi, @EstherNgumbi). This event is co-hosted by the UCS Science Network: http://www.ucsusa.org/sciencenetwork...
Discussing the Next Generation of Researchers in Boston

Discussing the Next Generation of Researchers in Boston

Next week in Boston there will be 2 events with opportunities for you to hear about, and participate in, discussions about the next generation of researchers.   On Wednesday July 12th, there will be a panel discussion entitled “Reimagining the Future of Science with a New Generation of Investigators” at the Partnering for Cures meeting. The discussion focuses around the fact that the majority of U.S. biomedical PhDs will work outside academia, and yet are still being pushed down the academic tenure-track “pipeline”, and what changes can be effected to alter this situation. The panelists include Kafui Dzirasa, junior faculty at Duke and a member of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative Study (see below); Kristin Krukenberg, board member of Future of Research; Daisy Robinton, postdoc at Harvard and Boston Childen’s; and David Van Vactor, Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School.   Simultaneously, on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th of July, the Next Generation Researchers Initiative study will have its 3rd committee meeting, and for the first time it will not be held in DC but at Sanofi at 270 Albany Street in Cambridge, MA. The public component of the meeting will be held on the morning of Thursday July 13th: the public agenda is here, and you can RSVP here, feel free to come along and listen/participate. We have posted previously about the scope of this study, which is discussing how to facilitate the production of the next generation of independent researchers. Future of Research President Jessica Polka and Executive Director Gary McDowell are both on the study and will be in Boston for the meeting.  ...
FoR joins call for NIH to reconsider dropping capping individual investigators: petition and statement

FoR joins call for NIH to reconsider dropping capping individual investigators: petition and statement

FoR recently posted a statement supporting the National Institutes of Health proposal to put a cap on the level of funding that individual investigators can be awarded from NIH. That proposal was dropped on June 8th at the Advisory Council to the Director’s meeting. We however are joining with investigators across all career stages to urge NIH to reopen discussion about capping funding of individual investigators, through a petition you can sign at Change.org: “Cap NIH funding for individual Investigators to save the future of biomedical science” We again ask you to get in touch with NIH about this issue, as detailed in the statement below, which you can also find in PDF format here:   Future of Research calls on the NIH to reconsider abandoning its plans to cap NIH funding for individual investigators   On June 7th, 2017, Future of Research (FoR) issued a statement (https://tinyurl.com/yahvps79) supporting the National Institutes of Health’s proposal to limit grant support by implementing the Grant Support Index (GSI). On June 8th, 2017, at the Advisory Council to the Director, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins announced that the cap proposal would be dropped in favor of the Next Generation Researcher’s Initiative (https://tinyurl.com/ydaxm3b4), which instead will call for reassignment of funds at each individual institutes towards early and mid-career investigators. Juan Pablo Ruiz, a graduate student at NIH, expressed the junior research community’s disappointment in the discussion (see https://tinyurl.com/y8usocwp from 4:11:54 to 4:23:38).   We are extremely disappointed at the sudden abandonment of discussion of the proposed cap on funding. Despite assurances to the contrary, it appears that the concerns of a small...
Future of Research issues statement in support of the NIH Grant Support Index

Future of Research issues statement in support of the NIH Grant Support Index

As described in our recent post, 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.   We have asked you to get in touch with NIH about your opinions on the GSI, and have issued a statement ourselves below in support of the proposed measures, which you can also find in PDF format here:   Overview The Board of Directors of Future of Research (FoR) wish to express our support for the National Institutes of Health’s proposal to limit grant support by implementing the Grant Support Index (GSI): https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/new-nih-approach-grant-funding-aimed-optimizing-stewardship-taxpayer-dollars.   We applaud the NIH for using data to shape its policies on the distribution of limited research dollars.  There is ample evidence of diminishing returns as a single lab continues to receive additional funding.  The number of principal investigators who would be affected by the proposed cap is dwarfed by the number of additional awards that could be more efficiently distributed across NIH investigators.  As pointed out in a recent analysis of the distribution of R01s, certain institutions and investigators may be more affected than others.  Investigators and institutions are likely to be biased in the face of a potential loss of funding  – a measure that institutions erroneously use as a metric of their success – and as roughly 65% of NIH-funded investigators have the equivalent of one R01...
Perspectives on changing science from the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

Perspectives on changing science from the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Being part of Future of Research, I often wonder whether the issues we are facing in the scientific system in the U.S. also exist elsewhere in the world. Although I grew up in Eastern Europe, most of my research experiences have been in laboratories across the U.S. This has definitely given me a great variety of experiences and perspectives. But, as I’ve recently witnessed in the March for Science events, science is indeed global and most likely we all face the same issues and can learn from each other.   Very recently, I had the great chance of remotely attending the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting, entitled “A pan-European Scientists’ Community: Promoting an Open Science in an Open World“, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, and was introduced here. The main goal of this meeting was to foster the creation of a large pan-European community of citizen-scientists supporting the new social contract between science and society. The meeting was divided into 3 areas: 1) initiatives from grassroots organizations and organizers of various European “March for Science” marches; 2) a discussion of citizen science projects/engaging the public with science and 3) open science and broader issues in the scientific enterprise. The Future of Research Executive Director Gary McDowell gave a brief talk and participated in the debate in the final session.   Common themes emerged throughout this meeting, which are great reminders of how science is done or should be done in the future, not just in Europe, but everywhere in the world. To some extent,...