Although there is growing concern about the urgent need for a better life-work balance when doing science, there are not many examples about how this could be achieved in practice. In this article, 10 simple rules are introduced to make the working environment of research labs more nurturing, collaborative, and people-centered.
The Life of P.I. - Transitions to Independence in Academia
The data in this report summarises the responses gathered from 365 principle investigators of academic laboratories, who started their independent positions in the UK within the last 6 years up to 2018. We find that too many new investigators express frustration and poor optimism for the future. These data also reveal, that many of these individuals lack the support required to make a successful transition to independence and that simple measures could be put in place by both funders and universities in order to better support these early career researchers. We use these data to make both recommendations of good practice and for changes to policies that would make significant improvements to those currently finding independence challenging. We find that some new investigators face significant obstacles when building momentum and hiring a research team. In particular, access to PhD students. We also find some important areas such as starting salaries where significant gender differences persist, which cannot be explained by seniority. Our data also underlines the importance of support networks, within and outside the department, and the positive influence of good mentorship through this difficult career stage.
Meta-Research: How Significant Are the Public Dimensions of Faculty Work in Review, Promotion and Tenure Documents?
An analysis of review, promotion and tenure documents from 129 US and Canadian universities suggests institutions could better fulfill their public missions by changing how they incentivize the public dimensions of faculty work.
Where Do Our Graduates Go? A Toolkit for Retrospective and Ongoing Career Outcomes Data Collection for Biomedical PhD Students and Postdoctoral Scholars
Universities are at long last undertaking efforts to collect and disseminate information about student career outcomes, after decades of calls to action. Organizations such as Rescuing Biomedical Research and Future of Research brought this issue to the forefront of graduate education, and the second Future of Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Training conference (FOBGAPT2) featured the collection of career outcomes data in its final recommendations, published in this journal (Hitchcock et al., 2017). More recently, 26 institutions assembled as the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science, committing to ongoing collection and dissemination of career data for both graduate and postdoc alumni. A few individual institutions have shared snapshots of the data in peer-reviewed publications (Mathur et al., 2018; Silva, des Jarlais, Lindstaedt, Rotman, Watkins, 2016) and on websites. As more and more institutions take up this call to action, they will now be looking for tools, protocols, and best practices for ongoing career outcomes data collection, management, and dissemination. Here, we describe UCSF's experiences in conducting a retrospective study, and in institutionalizing a methodology for annual data collection and dissemination. We describe and share all tools we have developed, and we provide calculations of the time and resources required to accomplish both retrospective studies and annual updates. We also include broader recommendations for implementation at your own institutions, increasing the feasibility of this endeavor.
US Postdoc Survey Results and the Interaction of Gender, Career Choice and Mentor Impact
The postdoctoral community is an essential component of the academic and scientific workforce, but a lack of data about this community has made it difficult to develop policies to address concerns about salaries, working conditions, diversity and career development, and to evaluate the impact of existing policies. A recent study aims to address this gap.
Changing Demographics of Scientific Careers: The Rise of the Temporary Workforce
Contemporary science has been characterized by an exponential growth in publications and a rise of team science. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of awarded PhD degrees, which has not been accompanied by a similar expansion in the number of academic positions.