Follow #MentoringFutureSci on Twitter Friday June 14th to keep up with our Mentoring meeting

Follow #MentoringFutureSci on Twitter Friday June 14th to keep up with our Mentoring meeting

FoR Chicago 2019: Mentoring Future Scientists The importance that departments and institutions attach to supporting good mentorship, and providing mechanisms for accountability and addressing poor mentorship, have become an issue of intense scrutiny for early career researchers. Our meeting is imminent on June 14th 2019! We are dedicated to greater prioritization of mentoring practices in departments and at institutions, and hope to make progress at the meeting to push this forward. Follow #MentoringFutureSci on Twitter to keep up with the meeting!   Schedule – NOTE ALL TIMES IN CENTRAL TIME: Meeting Schedule June 14th, 2019 9:00 – 9:20 Opening remarks to frame need, background, and desired goals Gary McDowell, FoR and Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre, Assistant Professor for the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage 9:30 – 10:45 Framing Big Picture Needs, and Areas for Improvement Early Career Researchers: Dr. Susanna Harris,  The PhDepression LLC (https://www.thephdepression.com/) Departments: Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre, Assistant Professor for the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage 11:00 – 11:30 Reconvene for discussion of outcomes from ECR, Departmental, and Satellite workshops 11:30 – 12:00 Keynote Presentation Dr. Melissa McDaniels, Senior Advisor to the Dean for Research Mentoring, Graduate School and Postdoctoral Office, Michigan State University; Investigator, Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research; Co-Director, Master Facilitator Initiative, National Research Mentoring Network Lunch 1:20 – 2:30 Defining Excellence Tiers for Various Mentoring Domains Dr. Danika Khong and Dr. Elizabeth Wu, Scismic 2:30 – 3:30 Reconvene as a large group for discussion...
U.S. Senate Finance Committee meeting on foreign influences highlights federal agency urgency without clarity

U.S. Senate Finance Committee meeting on foreign influences highlights federal agency urgency without clarity

On Wednesday, the United States Senate Finance Committee met to discuss Foreign Threats to Taxpayer – Funded Research: Oversight Opportunities and Policy Solutions. The webpage includes a video of the session (which begins approximately 30 mins in) and written testimonies from panelists in attendance. We are preparing a statement to submit to the Committee as part of the testimony – if you have points you would like us to raise or would like to provide input, please contact info@futureofresearch.org   The hearing sought to discuss, particularly with responsive federal agencies, four main issues related to taxpayer research as laid out by the Committee Chair, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): 1) the failure to disclose receipt of foreign contributions 2) espionage – or in the words of Senator Grassley, “some researchers are spies”; 3) vetting of researchers – that the federal government does not vet researchers, and neither do institutions; and 4) integrity – addressing the discovery that some peer reviewers have shared confidential grant information.   Testimony in the first panel was heard from representatives of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Homeland Security, to answer “does the government have the capability to detect and counter these threats?” and discuss legislative and policy solutions to address the issue. Senator Grassley pointed out that the Counterintelligence unit at the FBI had declined to attend and had not explained why. A second panel consisted of a representative from the academic community.   We attempted to capture the discussion in a series of tweets, but some key points appeared to emerge. China, Iran and Russia were...
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Foreign Influences in Research: Wednesday June 5th 9.45am Eastern

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Foreign Influences in Research: Wednesday June 5th 9.45am Eastern

On Wednesday June 5th at 9.45am Eastern, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on “Foreign Threats to Taxpayer – Funded Research: Oversight Opportunities and Policy Solutions“.   This is part of the growing discussion about threats to research from foreign nations. NIH and institutions that it funds have recently come under scrutiny for their attempts to deal with these concerns, and the recent removal of five ethnicially Chinese researchers from 2 institutions (see “Chinese American scientists uneasy amid crackdown on foreign influence” in Nature from June 3).   You can watch the proceedings here or follow the @FORsymp twitter account which will tweet about it using #foreignresearch – we will also post a summary of the discussion (details of the schedule are at the end of this post).   Future of Research will then submit a statement for the record for the committee – if you have anything you would like us to highlight or discuss, or bring to our attention, please email info@futureofresearch.org   The Federation of American Scientists is facilitating submission of statements to the committee for the record: “To help the debate during the hearing be balanced, the Congressional Science Policy Initiative at FAS is submitting testimonials from the science community to the Committee regarding the critical contributions of foreign-born researchers to US competitiveness. We will also submit the testimonials we’ve received for the record. If you wish to also submit a statement for the record, email it to us, and we will get it to the Committee.” Note the guidance on submitting a statement: “Any individual or organization wanting to present their...
Please help us in responding to an NIH request for information on inclusion at institutions

Please help us in responding to an NIH request for information on inclusion at institutions

The Board of Directors at Future of Research has been preparing a response to the Request for Information (RFI): Institutional Accountability to Promote Inclusive Excellence (Notice Number: NOT-RM-19-001) issued recently by the National Institutes of Health, and due by June 14th 2019. However we are looking for additional input from those wishing to help us with their thoughts and critiques.   We are looking for help not only in the form of others submitting comments, but also in helping to craft our response. In promoting the call for responses, we experienced a great deal of frustration from the community – which we share – about the constant discussion about such issues without any concrete actions. We’d like to try to give voice to those frustrations, and channel it into some concrete push for action, if possible.   Therefore we have placed out draft response to questions below; we plan to do more work on preparing a final response for next week. We would be extremely grateful for any criticism you have – you can comments on this post, on social media, or email info@futureofresearch.org, and we are happy to give voice to frustrations you have, particularly if you would not feel comfortable making such comments yourself. Ultimately we hope to provide information that compels NIH to ultimately take action, and particularly to recognize the power that it has to compel institutions to do so.   In summary, NIH is looking for the following information: “Information Requested NIH seeks input from key extramural community stakeholders, including academic institutional leadership, biomedical faculty, and interested members of the public on strategies to...
Future of Research issues response to NIH RFI on need for an Administrative Data Enclave

Future of Research issues response to NIH RFI on need for an Administrative Data Enclave

The NIH recently issued a request for information (RFI) seeking input on the need for an administrative data enclave. The RFI is here and a blogpost related to the RFI is here. Given the lack of information about the NIH-funded workforce, and particularly the non-investigator workforce it supports, we have submitted a response, detailed below the text for the RFI copied below. RFI Purpose The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of the Director, Office of Extramural Research (OER) issues this Request for Information (RFI) to gauge interest in NIH expending funds to develop, host, and maintain a secure environment (data enclave) that would allow approved research organizations-controlled access to structured, de-identifiable NIH administrative and scientific information not made available to the public. (NOT-OD-19-085) Background The NIH is committed to transparency about its research investments and currently makes grant award information available to stakeholders (e.g. grantee institutions, researchers, professional organizations, the public) through web-based self-service tools. Currently RePORTER provides the public a searchable public repository of NIH-funded projects, and ExPORTER provides bulk files on funded projects for download. These tools contain non-sensitive information on NIH funded projects, including the institutions and principal investigators funded by NIH, with project abstracts and basic administrative data on those grant awards. In recent years NIH has noted an increasing demand for access to sensitive information collected via the grants process. Such data includes information on peer review outcomes, progress reports, as well as, demographic information such as age range, sex/gender, race and ethnicity of individuals listed in NIH grant applications, etc. A recent report released by the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director...
Mentoring Future Scientists: Register for Satellite Meetings in Boston, Madison, Columbus, Berkeley

Mentoring Future Scientists: Register for Satellite Meetings in Boston, Madison, Columbus, Berkeley

FoR Chicago 2019: Mentoring Future Scientists   The importance that departments and institutions attach to supporting good mentorship, and providing mechanisms for accountability and addressing poor mentorship, have become an issue of intense scrutiny for early career researchers. Future of Research is organizing a meeting on June 14th 2019, dedicated to greater prioritization of mentoring practices in departments and at institutions.   About the meeting We propose that a lack of focus on mentoring is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their full potential. Therefore, we are pushing for greater transparency for ECRs regarding mentoring efforts, and greater attention to mentoring standards by departments and institutions. The short-term outcome for our meeting is to develop an agreed set of guidelines and to get a commitment from participating departments to adopt them.   What is the meeting aiming to do? Develop a set of guidelines across various departmental mentoring climate domains with three excellence tiers: bronze, silver, and gold, to be used as an assessment tool by both departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable improvement, and by early career researchers and faculty wishing to advocate for and drive this change themselves. Enlist a number of departments signing their support for said guidelines and their department’s commitment to review and implement guidelines, beginning with the most basic mutually agreed short-term actions. The guidelines, divided into domains and excellence tiers, alongside list of departmental signatories, will be publicly hosted on the Future of Research website. Individual departments can display the guidelines, and their commitment to the various excellence tiers across domains, on their own websites and promotional material. To achieve...
Registration for Mentoring Future Scientists Conference in Chicago closes end of May 14th

Registration for Mentoring Future Scientists Conference in Chicago closes end of May 14th

To ensure that early career researchers are supported in their academic development, we are holding a meeting in Chicago June 14 to place mentoring as a priority at academic institutions. Cooperating with satellite meetings around the country, we will develop a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines to be used by departments, and early career researchers, to evaluate attention to mentoring. For more information and updates, see the conference site at www.futureofresearch.org/mentoring.   But we are still keen for others to join the effort! We are looking for input from graduate students, postdocs, junior faculty and departmental representatives. Please join us!   REGISTRATION FOR CHICAGO CLOSES END OF MAY 14 2019. Join us in Chicago at https://tinyurl.com/ChicagoMentor19 For more details, or to make a donation, see https://tinyurl.com/ChicagoDonate19     Register for satellites here: Boston University: https://tinyurl.com/BostonMentor19 University of Wisconsin-Madison: https://tinyurl.com/MadisonMentor19 We hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact info@futureofresearch.org for more information.  ...
Registration links are open for Chicago, Boston and Madison mentoring meetings!

Registration links are open for Chicago, Boston and Madison mentoring meetings!

Future of Research is organizing a meeting focused on helping departments to center mentorship in their priorities.   Registration closes May 14th for the Chicago meeting: register here to donate or here for free registration Registration closes May 14th for the Boston satellite: register here Registration is open for the Madison satellite: info and registration here   Mentoring Future Scientists Lack of prioritization of mentoring practices is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their fullest potential as the next generation of leaders in STEM. To cultivate a productive training environment, those who are given training responsibilities should also be trained, supported and evaluated by institutions to provide competent and appropriate mentoring to the next generation.   To ensure mentoring is an institutional priority, we are developing a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines. With support from experts and leaders in the field of mentoring, we will apply the available evidence-based research on mentor/mentee competency training, the practical expertise of departmental leaders, and the experience of early career researchers, to develop a set of guidelines across various domains with three excellence tiers: bronze, silver, and gold, to be used as an assessment tool by departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable departmental improvement.   But we need help. In Chicago on June 14th, 2019, we are organizing a meeting to plan how to achieve our goal of placing exceptional mentoring at the top of institutional priorities and incentives. We are asking for input and help in having as wide a discussion as possible. We are looking for input from graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty. If you are in...
Survey: Help the eLife ECR community find out about mentoring environments

Survey: Help the eLife ECR community find out about mentoring environments

The eLife ECR community currently has a survey open, until June 1st, with the goal of Assessing the quality of mentorship in research environments.   They are looking for responses from around the world, from the perspective of early-career researchers. They have surveys for pre-independence (i.e. graduate and postdoc) and junior group leaders/scientists/faculty. The 5-7 minute surveys ask whether about mentoring they receive from those in later career stages. In their own words: “We aim to surface what mentees believe is most important for a positive mentoring experience and to identify common gaps in skills or resources that can be addressed. We also hope that the findings will help us understand the factors that negatively impact the mentee-mentor relationships in research environments. The results will serve as a basis to offer recommendations for maximizing the benefits of mentoring in academia.”   As part of our effort to create a greater focus on mentoring in departments, we are of course very keen to see their findings and how they can inform our work, so please complete the survey and share it with your colleagues!   Don’t forget – Future of Research is organizing a meeting focused on mentorship – registration closes May 14th for the Chicago meeting: Mentoring Future Scientists Lack of prioritization of mentoring practices is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their fullest potential as the next generation of leaders in STEM. To cultivate a productive training environment, those who are given training responsibilities should also be trained, supported and evaluated by institutions to provide competent and appropriate mentoring to the next generation.   To ensure mentoring is an institutional...
Mentoring Future Scientists: The role of grads and postdocs as mentors

Mentoring Future Scientists: The role of grads and postdocs as mentors

Future of Research is organizing a meeting to develop a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines, with the potential to be used as an assessment tool by departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable departmental improvement, and by ECRs to establish which departments are centering good mentorship in their priorities. To join the meeting in Chicago, or at one of our satellites around the US, see the conference page here!   We often talk about the idea of academic mentorship in terms of a professor fostering the career of a researcher earlier in their career, such as a graduate student or postdoc. But of course the reality is that many graduate students and postdocs are themselves mentoring others themselves, including undergraduates. Two recent pieces discuss mentorship by “trainees” from a personal perspective, and in a scientific paper.   In Symbiosis: the mutual benefits of mentoring undergraduates in the lab on the ASCB COMPASS blog, Jami Conley Calderon recounts the experience of mentoring undergraduates and provides some key steps from their experience in an approach for graduate students to take when mentoring undergraduates: Explain the lab’s research; Encourage questions; Be present; Give students agency over their project; Be understanding; and Respect their time. You can read the full post, with more details on each step, here.   In Volunteered or Voluntold? The Motivations and Perceived Outcomes of Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentors of Undergraduate Researchers, published in CBE-Life Sciences Education, Limeri, Asif and Dolan take a systematic approach to look at the postgraduate perspective of this mentoring experience.   Using exploratory interviews, the authors identified and characterized motivations for 32 postgraduates...