FoR champions, engages and empowers early career scientists with evidence-based resources to improve the scientific research endeavor.
What we do
We promote grassroots advocacy among junior researchers according to our mission, to enable us to speak as a voice of junior researchers. We also seek to empower junior researchers by collecting data about academia and scientific training, and make the data available to help them make rational decisions when figuring out how best to use their passion for science to benefit society.
People-focused: We value the next generation of researchers, and believe investing in people ultimately yields better, more sustainable, and responsible science.
Equity and Inclusion: We work to actively include and respect every member of the research community and aim to create safe spaces for people to engage and challenge academic science training to become fully inclusive.
Sustainability: We believe the academic training system is in need of restructuring, optimizing, and updating to pedagogic, social justice, and sustainable standards of best practice to ensure sustainable funding of a diverse workforce.
Evidence-based: We collect and use data to highlight and challenge aspects of the academic training enterprise in need of change.
Experience-centered: Our data collection and advocacy is grounded in the stories and experiences of the early career researcher community.
Community: We continuously engage in dialogue with the early career researcher community to prioritize advocating for that community’s needs.
Well-being: We lead by example, engaging and creating structures within our own organization that prioritize the mental health and well-being of our volunteers, board members, and constituents.
Capacity-building: Our projects provide ECR directors and volunteers with the opportunity to develop leadership skills required both within and outside of academic research environments.
Grassroots: We believe that large cultural and systemic change is possible when driven by grassroots advocacy and engagement.
Responsibility: While we strive to empower early career researchers who wish to engage in advocacy for better training, we likewise challenge those in power to be responsible for their share of the emotional and intellectual labor required to bring about needed change.
Future of Research and Anti-Racism (6/5/20)
Dear Future of Research Community,
At a time when there is a continued need for as much collective grieving as there is for concrete actions, writing a statement can feel hollow. When so many in the Black community, on a regular basis, decry the systemic, state-sanctioned violence against them, writing a statement today can feel like social media virtue signaling. When so many corporations are writing statements while likewise continuing to employ discriminatory and racist practices, writing a statement can feel empty. When institutions are quick to assert support for the Black community but just as quickly decry the violence against property before decrying the undeniable violence and escalation of police against Black, unarmed civilians, words feel diluted of meaning.
Nevertheless, words and language do have power, as much when they ring true as when they are used to manipulate and distract. Therefore, speaking up when others remain visibly silent in the face of injustice is the bare minimum and the first of many important steps in bringing about the radical restoration and transformation so desperately needed in our country.
As early career researchers working to dismantle systems of inequity, we know all too well that there is no “right” way to protest. We also know that speaking truth to power is always met with resistance and requests for placation and patience. We wish to make it clear that we fully support all forms of protest from the Black community, and condemn the continued and escalating racist, systemic use of force by the police against those asserting their right to autonomy and safety.
The work of Future of Research has, and always will be, focused on creating a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive system of academic training. We aim to create a system where everyone feels safe, included, and valued not just for what they contribute scientifically, but for who they are. Our work must always be anti-racist while aiming to decry and dismantle the systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism, even and especially when these issues, so prevalent in our own microcosm of the academy, are not as visible in the media or public eye.
In the last few months, we have been planning an “anti-racism in academia” advocacy project for the coming year. Yet anti-racism ideology and work must permeate every single one of our projects, and we are, and always will be, committed to doing this work within the early career researcher community. In the days, months, and years to come, this statement will serve as a benchmark for individuals and other organizations to measure us against and with which to hold us accountable should we fall short.
In solidarity with all of those coordinating, organizing, and rising up,
The FoR Board of Directors
Key Actions to date
- Assisting in the organization of 8 trainee-organized symposia in 2 countries in 2 years
- Publication of a number of reports, papers and articles on the scientific enterprise
- Directly influencing changes by advocacy for postdoctoral salary reform
How we are contributing
- Creating the definitive guide to how updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and an injunction against the updates, are affecting postdoctoral salaries
- Collaborating with labor economists using US Census data to analyze the biomedical workforce, giving the most comprehensive data on international researchers yet
- Participation of two of our board members on the congressionally-mandated National Academies study, The Next Generation Researchers Initiative (report due June 2018)
- Participation of one of our board members on the above report’s parallel Next Generation Researcher’s Initiative NIH working group.
Who are we?
See more at iBiology, who created this great video for us! The Future of Research is a Massachusetts non-profit organization. Meet our Board of Directors; our Executive Director; and our Advisory Board. Also check out where alums from our Board of Directors are now!
We started as a group of early career researchers in the Boston area, invested in improving the scientific endeavor. We held a postdoc-organized two day event in the Fall of 2014 in Boston University, consisting of talks and panel discussions on issues affecting the future of science, as well as breakout sessions to allow attendees to participate in workshops. The goal of each workshop was to elucidate a majority opinion on which challenges were most important to address, and to develop recommendations for moving toward an equitable, sustainable research enterprise.
The outcomes of the interactive workshops were presented in an F1000Research paper and numerous editorials and commentaries as well as a poster. A guide to how we organized the symposium, and how future groups could do so, was also published. From these early beginnings we are now contributing many products, please find them here.
Groups around the country, in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago organized their own symposia throughout 2015 as well as a second meeting in Boston. As the conversation grew, representatives from the various groups came together to form a national non-profit organization to continue our work and foster the interactions of junior scientists with the larger community to advocate for change. Most recently, we awarded a grant by the Open Philanthropy Project to begin full-time operations.
In the past, we have been generously funded by a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can and share the findings openly so that anyone can build on them.
Currently, the organization is sustained through the efforts of volunteers and our Board of Directors, as well as individual donations to our projects or the organization as a whole.
Please get in touch at info[at]futureofresearch.org, sign up with our Google Group to receive our newsletter and update emails, or click on the links to our social media sites below!