Future of Research's Origins

The first Future of Research conference was held in Boston in October of 2014.

Find out more

Outcomes of FOR

We published the proceedings and outcomes of our first FOR meeting in 2014.

Our report

Organize your own FOR symposium

FOR conferences are organized by grassroots scientists in their local areas.
Start here
Visit our facebook page
Visit our Twitter page
Visit our google+ page

Our latest blog posts

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!

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

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

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...

Please tell us what you think about FoR (plus a chance to win a FoR tote bag!)

June 28th will mark the last day for staff support at Future of Research on our seed grant, and so will see the departure of Executive Director Dr. Gary McDowell. This gives the organization an opportunity to look back over the 3 years of the non-profit’s full-time operations to see what has worked, what hasn’t, and plan future directions.   To help with this effort, we would like your help – please complete this survey (all sections optional) to tell us your thoughts. There’s also the chance to be entered into a draw for a hand-stitched FoR motif on a tote bag by our own ED!   Please feel free to be honest – the organization and our ED would all appreciate critiques in moving forward, to learn from mistakes or past successes that we may not be fully aware of....

Co-reviewing good, Ghostwriting bad: The role of early career researchers in peer review at journals

Last year at an ASAPbio meeting on peer review, one discussion centered around the role of early career researchers (ECRs) in peer review, and particularly how frequently ECRs contribute to peer review behind the scenes. This was fueled by a survey in eLife, a journal publishing life sciences research, indicating that 92% of those surveyed had undertaken reviewing activities, but more than half had done so without the assistance of their advisor. Dr. Gary McDowell (FoR Executive Director) and Dr. Rebeccah Lijek (former FoR BoD member and faculty member at Mount Holyoke College) led workshops discussing the reasons for, and questions about, the likely unrecognized involvement of ECRs in the peer review process. Those conversations inspired a year-long project to collect data on how frequently ECRs contribute to peer review when they are not the invited reviewer (“co-review”), and how commonly ECRs co-review without being acknowledged to the journal editorial staff (“ghostwrite”). Results and recommendations have now been published as a preprint here at bioRxiv. You can also read an article about the preprint in Physics Today. 1,952 publications in the peer-reviewed literature were evaluated though an exhaustive search and no previous studies about ECRs ghostwriting peer review reports were found. 498 researchers were then surveyed about their experiences with, and opinions about, co-reviewing and ghostwriting as ECRs. This found: 3/4 of those surveyed have co-reviewed and most find it to be a beneficial (95% agree) and ethical (73% agree) form of training in peer review; co-reviewing is the second most commonly reported form of training in peer review besides receiving reviews on one’s own papers; 1/2 of those surveyed have...