Future of Research's Origins

The first Future of Research conference was held in Boston in October of 2014.

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Outcomes of FOR

We published the proceedings and outcomes of our first FOR meeting in 2014.
Our report

Organize your own FOR symposium

FOR conferences are organized by grassroots scientists in their local areas.
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FOR in the news

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Our latest blog posts

Building your brand while in a career transition

This post originally appeared on the GCC Carpe Careers blog published on the Inside Higher Ed website on July 3, 2017. Re-posting with permission from Inside Higher Ed. This is a post by policy activist Adriana Bankston.   What do you want people to know you for? Surprisingly this is not an easy question to answer, depends on your personal goals and motivations, and may not be your actual job. And while I am not an expert in this topic, I would like to share my personal perspective and advice from my own experiences.   If you are an academic scientist in training and want to become a PI, your main goals are of course for people in your particular research field to know you for your scientific work, typically through publications and presentations at conferences. Therefore it makes sense that you would highlight these particular accomplishments as your brand.   On the other hand, if you are currently a graduate student or postdoc and want to pursue a non-academic career, you are likely to invest a great deal of time (after hours and on weekends) on building the skills and experiences you will need to transition out of academia. This may include volunteering with relevant organizations, writing blog posts or other statements about issues of importance to you, as well as giving talks or participating in workshops or panels in your field of interest.   Overtime, these experiences which you may only do “on the side” of your work initially may become the body of work that you can use to transition out of academia. Personally, I volunteered...

“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...

Advocating for science: a summary of key skills learned through a series of workshops

  This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   This blog is a shorter version of the poster presented by Future of Research at the 2017 AAAS meeting and the 2017 NPA meeting, with additional comments and ideas. The poster is entitled “Advocating for science: a summary of key skills learned through a series of workshops.” The goal of the poster was to summarize our meeting on “Advocating for Science” symposium and workshop, which was co-organized in Boston in September 2016 as a joint venture between the Future of Research, Academics for the Future of Science, and the MIT Graduate Student Council, to help junior scientists learn skills for advocacy. We hope this information in the form of a blog post will be useful to trainees who want to advocate for science, especially following the March for Science events.   Workshop goals and components   Advocating for science is critical to making change in how science is done and viewed by both society and the general public. Learning how to best advocate for science is imperative for getting the voices of junior scientists heard. Junior scientists are eager to advocate for science, which became clear during our “Advocating for Science” workshop held at MIT in September 2016. However, no formal training enabling junior scientists to effectively advocate for science exists.   The goal of the workshop was to brainstorm how we can best advocate for science, and to provide junior scientists with the necessary tools and skills for doing so. Our workshop components covered how to collect data by creating effective survey questions,...

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.  ...

Valuing and Rewarding Intangible Activities in Academic Careers

This article was originally published on the Careers blog and is shared here with the permission from the American Society for Microbiology. The link to the original article is found here. This article was written by policy activist Adriana Bankston.   Career progression in academia depends on multiple factors. Traditionally, the metrics most widely used to assess how successful a researcher is and how likely they are to progress in their academic career have been quantifiable items, such as the number of grants, publications, presentations, posters, etc. However, researchers also engage in many other, less tangible activities that are not regarded as being equally valuable to the traditional metrics. Those in academic careers are expected to mentor people, review papers and grants, serve on committees etc. Academics tend to focus less on these activities, and there is a lack of resources and training in these areas. In many cases, expertise in performing intangible activities (e.g., writing grants and papers) is necessary for developing the quantifiable items. However, in a culture where the product is the main metric, the process of learning and teaching others how to become experts in these activities is not valued. Although critical to academic success, these activities constitute only a small part of a researcher’s application for grant funding, job promotion, etc. As a consequence, participating in these activities is also not rewarded properly in academia. It can be difficult to assess their impact, especially if not resulting in a product right away. It may take an extended amount of time for them to have an effect on the training of academic scientists. In addition,...

There’s still time to apply to join FoR’s Board of Directors!

Future of Research is looking to recruit new members to our Board of Directors, with up to 10 places potentially available, and applications close July 1st!   Members of the Board serve for two years. We are looking for people interested in taking a lead on small projects, or in working groups, to support the work of the organization and help us in our goal of helping junior researchers organize local meetings; increasing transparency about the academic system; and generally advocating for change for junior researchers. The time commitment expected is 1-2 hours per week. We would be happy to receive applications from anyone interested in helping us, regardless of field, career stage or location.   Please spread the word! To apply, fill out the form here: https://goo.gl/forms/5rrmu9RY9qT5By7s1 and send a brief CV to info@futureofresearch.org – feel free to contact us for more information! The applications are open until July 1st....