NIH to discuss Next Generation of Researchers, and Sexual Harassment, today (Dec 13th)

NIH to discuss Next Generation of Researchers, and Sexual Harassment, today (Dec 13th)

Today in the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NIH will report out the results from the Next Generation Researchers Initiative Working Group (mandated by Congress, responding to the National Academies recommendations in the “Breaking Through” Report). This will happen at 2 pm Eastern. The NIH will also discuss their plans regarding sexual harassment, responding to another National Academies report from 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm Eastern. The agenda is here, and you can watch live here. They will also be archived. FoR ED Gary McDowell will live-tweet the session on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative on Twitter from @FORsymp (follow #NGRI), and the sessions addressing sexual harassment from @MeTooSTEM (follow #MeTooSTEM). Both will also use the hashtag #NIHACD....
New publication: Assessing the landscape of postdoc salaries in 2016

New publication: Assessing the landscape of postdoc salaries in 2016

A plot of the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Awards Year 0 stipend by Financial Year. Also includes a comparison of salaries with their approximate value in 2017, using the Personal Consumer Expenditure Index.   In 2016, the very earliest days of Future of Research’s existence as a nonprofit were dominated by the announcement of updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and in particular how that would effectively raise postdoc salaries to $47,476 on December 1st 2016.   The birth – and death – of this update to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and how it was being implemented at institutions, occupied much of our attention, and is summarized in our publication Monitoring the compliance of the academic enterprise with the Fair Labor Standards Act. But even though the update was ultimately not implemented, the academic research system largely went ahead with changes to institutional policies to raise recommended postdoc salaries.   We were however aware of the issue that institutions vary significantly in their ability to count, and presumably, identify postdocs. This led us to ask a number of questions:   If institutions are unable to count their postdocs, and presumably are not overseeing them, do all postdocs receive the salaries set out in an institution’s policy? How strong is the relationship between the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award stipends (which affect only 15% of graduate students and postdocs funded by NIH, which is not the only funder of postdocs) and what postdocs are getting paid? Are there any factors affecting salary, such as location, gender, or job title?   We therefore began...
Sexual harassment policies at NSF and NIH

Sexual harassment policies at NSF and NIH

Policies surrounding sexual harassment in science and federal grant funding have been heavily discussed and been the subject of updates in the last few days. We have attempted to summarize updates below, and may clarify with updates (which will be noted below). NIH creates sexual harassment website On Monday National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins issued a statement discussing how NIH is addressing sexual harassment. No policy changes were announced, a website with sexual harassment information was launched, and the notice spoke of “new initiatives” for the intramural program to be released in the Federal Register today, which appear to consist of a new Manual Chapter and policy piece on personal relationships. National Science Foundation increases oversight At the same time, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new term and condition of award, following a process of proposing rule changes and soliciting public comments (to which Future of Research submitted comments in May 2018). The new term and condition of award requires institutions to notify NSF when a funded investigator is placed under administrative action at an institution. Further details are summarized in their press release and fact sheet. NIH responds to NSF changes Following the announcement by NSF, NIH issued a statement acknowledging NSF’s new terms, but stating that: “Legal constraints that apply differently to NSF and NIH currently prevent NIH from immediate implementation of an identical policy.  A rulemaking process would be needed to determine if NIH can require the same responses from our awardee organizations.” The process in question appears to be due to differences in the Code of Federal Regulations....
Contact your Senators to request they ask the NIH Director why the NIH continues to give grants to scientists found guilty of sexual harassment

Contact your Senators to request they ask the NIH Director why the NIH continues to give grants to scientists found guilty of sexual harassment

On Thursday, August 23, at 10 AM EDT the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing entitled “Prioritizing Cures: Science and Stewardship at the National Institutes of Health”. The hearing will be webcast here. Last week Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, who will be testifying at the meeting, posing a number of questions about how NIH handles sexual harassment among funded investigators. They draw attention to the NIH’s role in this problem, ask for evidence of the NIH’s actions to date, and request policy change. Francis Collins, Hannah Valentine and Michael Lauer wrote a letter to Nature in 2016 about the need for policy changes.   We are asking you to join those who have a started a campaign to contact elected representatives on the HELP Committee. A graduate student at Yale, Sarah Smaga, has produced a call script for the HELP Committee Meeting including the names and telephone numbers of Senators on the committee which you can access here. The call asks for specific policies to ensure that those found guilty of sexual harassment are not able to receive NIH funding, enabling them to put more trainees and their careers at risk.   Two members of the committee are particularly focused on prospects of early career researchers: Susan Collins of Maine and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin led a bipartisan effort focused on trainees that resulted in the Next Generation Researchers Initiative at NIH being mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act. It seeks to improve prospects for early career researchers, paying attention to recommendations from a study at the...
Future of Research response to NIGMS RFI on postdoctoral transitions to diversify research faculty

Future of Research response to NIGMS RFI on postdoctoral transitions to diversify research faculty

  This RFI closes July 20th – please read below if you are still in time to comment – and comment here   The National Institute of General Medical Sciences recently issued a Request For Information (RFI) seeking input on strategies to enhance postdoctoral career transitions, with an aim to promoting faculty diversity. You can read more about it in this Blog post, “Give Input on Strategies to Enhance Postdoctoral Career Transitions to Promote Faculty Diversity”; you can find the full RFI here and comments are submitted here.   As described in the Request For Information:   “Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:   The barriers scientists from underrepresented groups face as they progress from postdoctoral training into faculty positions at research-intensive institutions, and potential strategies to overcome these barriers. The qualities and perspectives that scientists from underrepresented groups bring to the research enterprise, and how these can be drawn upon to encourage and promote career transitions into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions. Approaches key stakeholders (e.g., faculty advisors, institutions, scientific societies, etc.) can use to promote the successful career transitions of postdoctoral scientists from underrepresented groups into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions, and how these can be coordinated and sustained to maximize impact. Current strategies that have been successful in promoting the transition of postdoctoral scientists from underrepresented groups into independent, tenure-track faculty positions. Any other comments or recommendations for NIGMS to consider with respect to programs to enhance career transitions of postdoctoral scientists from diverse groups into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions.”   Below and here as a PDF on our press page you can...
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

  From the National Academies site:   “The study scope will include the following:  Review of the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment on college and university campuses, in research labs and field sites; at hospitals/medical centers; and in other academic environments; Examination of existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers, with comparative evidence drawn from other sectors, such as the military, government, and the private sector. Identification and analysis of policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings. For purposes of this study, the definition of sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature, as well as those situations in which the work or study environment is made intimidating or offensive as a result of actions that are gender-based and that interfere with an individual’s academic or work performance, opportunities for advancement, and morale.   Report Release Event Public Report Release Event June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET Washington, DC To attend in person or via webcast: Webcast will be made live on this page on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM ET. How can academic institutions improve in the #MeToo era? Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Tuesday June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET, for the public release of...