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.
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FOR conferences are organized by grassroots scientists in their local areas.
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Our latest blog posts

Graduate Admissions: How do we predict and measure “success”?

Two recent posts by FoR Policy Activist Adriana Bankston and Executive Director Gary McDowell for the American Society for Cell Biology discuss graduate admissions and “success” in graduate school.   The first post, “Can we anticipate graduate student success if we can’t assess it?” discusses recent articles that show the difficulty in basing graduate admissions on metrics like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which do not appear to predict success in graduate school, as measured by metrics like publications.   In the second post, “Letting the right ones in: obstacles in graduate admissions,” the obstacles to graduate admissions are discussed, such as “success”, how and when to evaluate it, and recently-discussed issues with the process by which committees themselves decide on admissions....

Why should you March for Science?

This post was originally published on the Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) blog on February 22, 2017, and at LSN after. Re-posting with permission from AFS.     Science is vital to our economy, society and the world. Without science we wouldn’t have many of the technological and healthcare advances that we take for granted today. Science funding should therefore be a top priority for America and for ensuring that we remain a leader in the world. The fact that science hasn’t been prioritized or even discussed much by the current administration should be a concern for us all. For scientists everywhere, this concern has materialized into a unifying front to fight for science as a top priority.   The idea of a “march for science” was born from a tweet by Caroline Weinberg, a public health educator and science writer in New York City, in late January 2017. A twitter handle, @ScienceMarchDC, was also created by Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Since then, massive numbers of scientists have signed up to participate in the March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Additional marches are now being organized across the world on the same day in solidarity, to raise awareness of the importance of science to society. We must realize that science affects all of us and thus also engage non-scientists in the march.   Scientists everywhere want to be heard, and to maintain science as a top priority. A “secret” Facebook group for the march has gained an incredible number of followers...

The aging of the science and engineering workforce

A new study has been published in PNAS, titled “Why the US science and engineering workforce is aging rapidly“. The paper looks at data using the NSF’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and also uses U.S. Census data to get information about international researchers, to examine why the science and engineering workforce is aging. While there is a definite contribution from the general aging effect of the Baby Boomer population, aging is predicted to continue even without this effect.   The paper is discussed in Science, “As the U.S. scientific workforce ages, the younger generation faces the implications” and Inside Higher Ed, “50 Shades of Gray” and the authors are keen to point out that it is unknown as yet what the effects on the scientific enterprise of this aging may be, given that we can’t currently define well what differing contributions people at different ages make to science.   The paper supports previous work on the biomedical workforce by Misty Heggeness, who we interviewed previously on this subject of the aging biomedical workforce using NIH data, and with whom we also analyzed the biomedical workforce using Census data in “Preparing for the 21st Century Biomedical Research Job Market: Using Census Data to Inform Policy and Career Decision-Making” and “The new face of US science“.   At the public session of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative in January 2017, Michael Lauer of the NIH pointed out that recent interventions have stabilized the percentage of funded investigators who are early career, but now mid-career investigators are starting to suffer as the percentage of funded investigators who are late stage continues to grow:...

June 2017 Workshop: Studying inclusiveness in biology undergraduate classrooms and research spaces

  The Environments and Metrics in Biology Education and Research (EMBER) RCN-UBE Incubator Project seeks to generate innovative measures to increase retention and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In June 2017 at Harris-Stowe College in St Louis, MO, a workshop is being organized to discuss coordination efforts for a network to initiate and communicate ideas for collaborations. The meeting hopes to attract and capitalize on the unique insights of interested educators from a multitude of relevant disciplines including biology, education, psychology and sociology. The meeting is also looking for junior researchers interested to attend.   The workshop is recruiting researchers in biology, education, psychology, and sociology fields interested in fostering inclusion and diversity in STEM programs. The EMBER network will be holding a three-day conference on the campus of Harris-Stowe State University, an historically black college located in midtown St. Louis, Missouri. Travel stipends are available, and postdocs and graduate students interested in these topics are encouraged to apply. If you would like to apply or register, see info here: to present, you can access the form here; registration for the meeting can be found here (registration is $27.37).     The PI, Jana Marcette, stated that the goals of the workshop were driven by the observation that about half of undergraduate Biology majors switch or leave without completing their declared degree. The formation of this network aims to improve biology student retention and diversity to bolster the STEM workforce. Jana hopes that the meeting will open both dialog and collaboration among social science, biology and education researchers to create metrics for inclusivity in biology classrooms and research spaces.   Addressing diversity, inclusion, equity and access in...

Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education: an Open Forum at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

  This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to advance science for the benefit of all people. The annual AAAS meeting is an exciting place for discussions on how science policy benefits society. Influencing science policy can be achieved by multiple avenues, including getting the voices of junior scientists in the conversation.   The background: During the 2017 AAAS meeting, Future of Research members attended the Open Forum: Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education, a session led by Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of AAAS and Chair of the Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century at the National Academy of Sciences. This ad hoc committee is under the auspices of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), and liaising with the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) and Teacher Advisory Council (TAC). The committee will lead a study of STEM graduate-level education in the U.S., directed by Layne Scherer, revisiting and updating a similar COSEPUP study completed 20 years ago, which was named Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. The products of the new study, including feedback from this open forum, will be used in service of producing an Academies report to enhance STEM graduate education.   The context: The introduction to the open forum given by Dr. Alan Leshner highlighted that the world is changing both within and outside the scientific enterprise. Today, over 60% of new...

Future of Research partners with March for Science

Future of Research (FoR) is pleased to announce that we are officially partnering with March for Science, the organization driving marches for science at hundreds of locations around the world on April 22.               In addition to being officially partnered with the main organization and the march in DC, so far we are also currently partnered with the satellite March for Science – Minnesota.       We encourage our followers to get involved with local marches, and hope to help with local events including hosting some activities in coordination with others involved with the march.   You can read more about the mission of March for Science here, and about their principles and goals here.   If you want to get involved with us and the marches, please feel free to reach out to Gary McDowell at info[at]futureofresearch.org – we have board members in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and New York and are happy to try to coordinate with you at these and other locations if we can.   A statement from the Executive Director: FoR is passionate about a number of the issues the March for Science is looking to address, including how a more diverse scientific enterprise can benefit science and society. As a group that tries firmly to base policy recommendations in evidence, and pass data and evidence openly to junior researchers about the scientific system itself, we are concerned with the evidence being dismissed by those across the political spectrum, and also within science itself.   Science is political, and a march for science is also political. Marching...