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

The temporary suspension of H-1B premium processing and academia

DISCLAIMER: This is not legal advice but information that we understand to be the case regarding H-1B visas and the 6-month suspension of premium processing beginning April 3. Anyone possibly affected by this should contact their institution for legal advice. We will update this as necessary as more information comes in, please contact info@futureofresearch.org if you have insights or information. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have issued a suspension of premium processing for H-1B visas for 6 months, beginning April 3. The H-1B is a temporary visa to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. There are certain conditions on the number of visas and salary requirements for for-profit employers, but academia and non-profit organizations enjoy more relaxed rules, including exemption from a cap on numbers and lower salary requirements, under the “American Competitiveness in the 21st Century” Act. Postdocs and staff scientists are often hired on H-1B visas, in many cases exhausting the option of the J-1 temporary visitor visa. The statement issued by USCIS states explicitly that “The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt” and so it appears that with premium processing no longer an option, H-1B visas in academia could take 6-9 months to be issued from point of application. It is not possible to work before the visa is issued and so this could delay the transition of foreign grad students on J or F or other temporary visas to H-1B visas if they are starting a postdoc; it could also delay the hiring of postdocs currently abroad looking to start a postdoc position in the U.S.; and it could also delay...

New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW)

For the attention of women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students – we have received this call for applications to this workshop:   “We would like to invite women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students to participate in the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW) on the Northeastern University campus in Boston, Massachusetts on August 10, 2017.  The NE-FFW is designed specifically for women in STEM fields who are late-stage PhD students and postdoctoral scholars and interested in an academic career.   The NE-FFW is focused on the academic job search.  The format of the one-day workshop includes faculty-led interactive discussions and peer-to-peer interactions.  Workshop topics include:  Finding Your Institutional Fit, Standing Out in the Interview, Reviewing CVs, Developing a Research Statement, Negotiating the Job Offer, and more.  To learn more about the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields, go to: http://www.northeastern.edu/advance/recruitment/future-faculty-workshop/   To participate in the NE-FFW, there are several steps interested people need to take: Apply by May 26th online here. Submit a 300 word statement about why they want to participate Submit their CV Accepted applicants will be notified by June 5th Confirm their participation by paying a $25 registration fee by July 1, 2017and uploading a research statement   This unique opportunity is one they will not want to miss.   Warm regards, NE-FWW Planning Committee   Northeastern University: Penny Beuning, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Jan Rinehart, Executive Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Kathleen Kenney, Assistant Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Hillary Hadley, Postdoctoral Research Associate,...

What Career Awareness and Development Resources Are There for Junior Scientists? A Workshop at the 2016 ASCB meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Introduction Career development for junior scientists remains one of the most important issues in the biomedical research enterprise. Since the perceived notion is that the role of junior scientists is to drive science forward by working at the bench, training them for career success may not be a top priority. However, recent statistics state that only 10% of trainees go on to have a faculty position (Table 3–18 in (National Science Foundation, 2014)). Therefore, training graduate students and postdocs for success in non-research careers beyond the bench must be a major focus of the enterprise. While many U.S. institutions have developed very useful career development programming in this regard, the career training landscape for junior scientists is still inconsistent across the country and may also be lacking important components to help academics transition into non-research careers.   Improving career training for junior scientists can only be achieved if we know what they need from the system. Traditionally, although this is beginning to change, junior scientists haven’t had a strong voice in the matter. At Future of Research, we want to help junior scientists transition into their desired career paths, while giving them a voice in the process. In our workshops, we asked trainees about which career resources they are currently using/finding useful, and what resources they would like to have for career success. We plan to use this information to create a resource on our website, which we hope will be useful towards improving career training for junior scientists.      Previous career workshops In...

Crisis in biomedical science: time for a change? Notes on a talk by Arturo Casadevall

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   There are “internal problems rooted in the culture of science,” write Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C. Fang in a 2017 post for The Baltimore Sun entitled “Is science in crisis?” Arturo Casadevall, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlighted some of these problems in his talk entitled “Crisis in biomedical science: time for a change?” given at the Microbiology & Immunology Department seminar at the University of Louisville on February 2, 2017.     Innovation, science and technology drive economic growth. And yet, many different types of problems exist within the scientific enterprise, and these are both external and internal. Some notable external problems are inadequate funding and workforce imbalances, whereas major internal problems are disproportionate rewards to winners, an obsession with the impact factor, and poor communication with the public. Proposed solutions are political, societal and scientific reforms.     From this list, Dr. Casadevall focused on three major issues with the culture of science during his talk – namely funding science, reproducibility issues and the impact factor distortion.   Science funding is a chronic structural problem, complicated by the inability of reviewers to discriminate the future success of grants between “good enough” grants – scoring 2% vs. 20% for example in study section, making the funding process more like random chance according to Casadevall. This leads to the question of whether we are funding the best work. In a controversial article for the Wall Street Journal published in 2014,...

Future of Research Vancouver meeting on February 20th

The first Future of Research Vancouver meeting will be held on February 20th, 2017, at the SFU Harbour Centre, bringing together early-career researchers from across British Columbia to discuss challenges facing the future of Canadian science.   There have already been 200 registrants – add your name by registering here and follow what’s going on at their website and at the @FOR_Van Twitter handle....

Postdoctoral salaries at Rutgers: an analysis, in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act turmoil

In the wake of the injunction against updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which affected postdoctoral researchers, a number of institutions initially indicating that they would raise salaries to comply with the new minimum have reversed their plans to do so. One such institution was Rutgers University, in New Jersey. As described in this post and this post from Rutgers Postdoc Association, the institution claimed “the court ruling prohibit[s] implementation at this time of the proposed regulations.” This has not prevented other institutions from raising salaries, including the NIH, which has raised its NRSA postdoc stipend levels despite the injunction against the FLSA updates. Indeed, Rutgers (like many institutions) has previously tied its salary levels for postdocs to the NIH NRSA stipend levels. Postdocs at Rutgers are now being encouraged to sign a petition, asking the institution to resume its plans to raise postdoctoral salaries.   As part of the progression of our FLSA and postdocs resource, we have begun requesting all individual postdoctoral salaries from public institutions, using Freedom of Information requests, to see what postdocs in the U.S. are actually being paid. To help provide data to put the Rutgers Postdoc Association petition into context, here we summarize briefly an analysis of the data we received from Rutgers of all individual postdoctoral salaries as of Dec 1st 2016. The trends and data presented here are consistent amongst a number of datasets we have from various institutions.     There is a four-fold difference between the lowest and highest postdoctoral salaries. There are 542 postdoctoral associates or fellows in the dataset from Rutgers University. The average postdoc salary is $47,620.69. The median postdoc salary...