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Science Careers Blog

April 2011

A panel held on Thursday at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), site of the 2009 death of lab worker Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji, observed Workers Memorial Day in part by tying lab safety to the larger issue of worker safety, according to the UCLA Daily Bruin. The program, sponsored by UCLA's Labor Occupational Health and Safety Program, also discussed the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, a pivotal event that killed 146 workers and sparked a movement for safer working conditions, along with more recent workplace catastrophes such as last summer's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the Fukashima nuclear power plan crisis.

On Monday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had bad news for grants recipients but good news for postdocs and graduate students with Ruth Kirschstein NRSA fellowships. NRSA fellows, NIH announced, would see their stipends increase by 2% -- not a lot, but not bad in fiscal times like these and very likely better than what NIH-grant-supported postdocs and graduate students, who would be paid from grants slightly smaller than they were last year, are likely to receive.

Following the announcement, I wondered how the increase would work for NRSA fellows who had already received their FY2011 awards. This includes not only new awardees but also scientists who won their fellowships in previous years (and for whom the FY2011 segment of the award has already started).

So I asked Megan Columbus, who works in the communications office of NIH's Office of Extramural Research, to explain. The answer is pretty much what you would expect; here's how Megan put it:
NIH will be revising all FY2011 awards already issued to-date to provide the increase in stipends for the FY2011 budget period. Once the revised award is received, the institution will provide the retroactive adjustment in accordance with its institutional systems/policies.
In other words, the raise is retroactive and the extra funds will be dispersed in accordance with your institution's policies. It could be a lump sum or a higher rate -- say, 3% higher than you've been receiving instead of just 2%, depending on your award date -- for the remainder of the fiscal year.

It's not a lot of money, but if you're living on postdoc or graduate student stipends it could make a big difference. 

The European Science Foundation (ESF) today released a document expressing basic core principles and good practice guidelines for the peer review of funding proposals. The European Peer Review Guide (links to PDF) is intended mainly to help European funding bodies improve and harmonize their peer review procedures, but young scientists can learn a lot by skimming the document. 

For those new to the funding system, the Guide provides an overview on the different types of funding programs in place around Europe and can help you decide which ones are the most appropriate for you to apply to. The Guide also offers a peek into the peer-review system and processes, and highlights the key criteria your application will be judged by.

If you're further along in your career, the Guide gives you insight in what it takes to be solicited as a peer reviewer. It also offers you a broad view of the grant evaluation process and a sense of your role and responsibilities. You will also find advice on how to handle and score applications for different types of funding. The guide highlights key conditions of the peer-review process you must comply with, such as integrity, absence of conflicts of interest, and respect for confidentiality. 

"By virtue of involving human judgment, even the same peer review procedures can have variable outcomes," Cristina Marras of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) stated in a press release. "Peer review is the most widely used method for distributing research funding. So ... the Guide can help us minimise this inherent variability as much as possible; furthermore, it fosters harmonisation in international peer review."

The European Peer Review Guide was produced with input from more than 30 national research funding and research-performing organizations  in 23 countries, including the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Commission.The Guide can be downloaded from the ESF Web site.  

Inside Higher Ed reports that the National Institutes of Health yesterday announced a new panel to study the "future of the biomedical research workforce."  The group appears to be looking at some of the right questions, such as the size of the workforce and the types of positions that would allow people to advance their careers as they advance science.  As Inside Higher Ed notes, however, it is "dominated by academic researchers and administrators," who may, consciously or unconcsiously, have vested interests in the current pyramid system of training.  It includes one expert in careers and technology, but none of the researchers who have long studied the arrangements that have created the current career crisis for young scientists.  

To see what a difference the composition of a panel can make, check out two reports on science workforce originally published in the same year (2005), the highly publicized Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which popularized the idea of a scientist shortage, and the much more realistic and lesser known Bridges to Independence, which objectively examined the causes of the glut.

Anyway, here's hoping that this new panel digs deep and thinks hard.

A notice from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued on Monday specifies the impact of the recently adopted  2011 NIH budget ago on NIH grantees and NRSA fellows, as ScienceInsider is reporting.

The 1% cut in the NIH budget will cause "non-competing" grants -- that is, new payments for grants that were awarded in previous years -- to fall by 1% at NIH institutes, except for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Holders of NCI grants will see their existing grants trimmed by 3%.

The news is better for postdocs and graduate students with Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, whose stipends will increase by 2% across the board. The new stipend for graduate students will be $21,600. The new stipends for postdoc NRSAs are as follows:


Year

Stipend


0

$38,496


1

$40,548


2

$43,476


3

$45,192


4

$46,884


5

$48,900


6

$50,832


7 or More  

$53,112


ScienceInsider also notes that according to the NIH budget request for 2012, the number of new grants awarded is expected to fall to 9050. 9386 awards were made in 2010.

Developing into a successful researcher takes much more than learning science. Yes, it requires you to gain technical skills and knowledge in your field. But it also requires some less tangible attributes: an ability to see the bigger picture and to work well with others, an understanding of professional and ethical standards, and many other things. Vitae, a U.K. organization promoting the personal and professional development of researchers, has developed an excellent planning tool to help you make progress on all of these fronts. 

Vitae's Professional Development Planner has divided the skills that researchers need in order to be effective into four major areas: knowledge and intellectual abilities; personal effectiveness; research governance and organization; and engagement, influence and impact. The Planner can be downloaded for free as an Excel sheet that will allow you to determine which skills you should focus on at what stage, and to come up with an action plan. The Professional Development Planner is accompanied with a screencast that will take you through the process, and examples of how other researchers have used the Planner.

The Professional Development Planner is a resource that was developed by Vitae as part of a broader initiative called the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). Launched in September, 2010, the RDF identified the "knowledge, behaviours and attitudes of researchers" described above and encourages researchers "to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development," the Vitae Web site reads. 

In addition to developing researchers, the RDF is designed to help PIs in their mentoring role, and U.K. higher education institutions in supporting researchers' development. According to a survey carried out by Vitae in February, 62% of 42 U.K. responding higher education institutions were using the RDF principles, and another 29% planned to begin using them. 

The untimely death of Yale senior Michele Dufault in an incident in a university machine shop has shocked the scientific world.  Until investigations are complete, the exact cause of this calamity cannot be known.  In the meantime, however, many research institutions -- and, one hopes, the people who work in them -- are looking at ways to strengthen safety in their own facilities.  A post on the Boston Accident Lawyer blog by William D. Kickham, Esq., raises some useful questions about the safe use of dangerous mechanical equipment that could help with those considerations.

Few processes are more crucial to a scientist's success or more mysterious to the uninitiated than peer review.  How do journals choose reviewers? What does a good reviewer do?  What should a scientist do if it appears that the peer reviewers erred in evaluating one's paper?

A journal editor elucidates these and other mysteries of the scientific publication process in an essay in Chronicle of Higher Education.  Writing as Female Science Professor, this pseudonymous physical scientist offers insights that will help both people hoping to get their work published and those invited for the first time to be a peer reviewer.

At MySciNet, Ric Weibl has blogged an article by Dan Berret at Inside Higher Education (access to the MySciNet entry may require free registration) about a vote by the University of Michigan Board of Regents that allow individual campuses to extend their tenure process to as much as 10 years. The extension is optional, with each college and campus free to decide its own schedule. The board passed the measure despite strong opposition by the faculty senate.

According to the article, faculty and other opponents of the measure worry about the long time to tenure. The measure's supporters note that the changing nature of scholarship, especially at medical schools, makes it difficult to build an adequate dossier in the time currently allotted; the time varies among the UM campuses and colleges. Opponents fear that expectations will expand along with the calendar. Critics are also concerned about faculty governance; the board approved the measure despite near-unanimous opposition by the faculty senate.

 As Weibl notes in his blog entry, there's much more to the story.

The Pain & Policy Studies Group of the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison has announced that it will not longer accept funding from pharmaceutical companies that sell opioid drugs.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, which had previously investigated PPSG, a recipient of $2.5 million from producers of opioid pain medications, reported the decision on 20 April.  

The bulk of the money, $1.6 million, came from Purdue Pharma, which makes the widely abused drug OxyContin.  After charges that the company falsely claimed that the drug is safer and less addictive than competing medications, Purdue and several of its officials took guilty pleas.  The court imposed fines and restitution amounting to $635 million, according to the Journal-Sentinal.  Some observers accused PPSG of furthering the company's agenda despite an inadequate basis in research and therefore contributing to overuse of the drug.

PSSG, a World Health Organization collaborating center, "decided to meet WHO's new conflict of interest standard and will no longer accept funding from industry involved in the sale and marketing of opiods," the Journal-Sentinal quotes medical school dean Robert Golden. Golden also said in a statement that funds received by PPSG from pharmaceutical industry sources had met university standards.

Announcement of the decision, incidentally, happened close to the release of a National Institutes of Health report critical of over-prescription of opiods and the announcement of a White House-backed plan to curb abuse of prescription drugs.

From ScienceInsider:

The Boston Globe
reports today that Harvard University cognitive scientist Marc Hauser, who is on leave after a university investigation found evidence of research misconduct in his lab, will not be allowed to teach at the university next year.

The Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation (MICINN) announced earlier this week that non-European visiting scientists will now be able to obtain residence and work permits within 45 days instead of the current 90.

To get such a permit, you first need to find and sign a hosting agreement with an accredited university, national research institute, or other research center in Spain. The permit will cover the entire duration of the research project.

The changes to the Spanish Immigration Law were adopted by the Council of Ministers last Friday. The new regulations aim to "facilitate the employment and attraction of international talent and improve the mobility of researchers," according to the press release

About a fifth of the Ph.D. degree holders currently employed within the Spanish research system with MICINN support are foreigners. 54.8% of them come from Europe. 

A few expert commentators have been in a huff lately about the choices being made by the best and brightest young Americans, and the uses to which their skills are being put. They're worried about a problem that's sometimes called "internal brain drain," where the best minds are unavailable to do the most important work even when they stay close to home.

They have a point, but I think they need to look at the bigger picture.

First, late last month, there was the TechCrunch essay by Vivek Wadhwa, the entrepreneur-turned-academic-thought-leader. In Friends Don't Let Friends Get Into Finance, Wadhwa expressed dismay that so many of his best engineering students (at Duke, where he has a visiting appointment) were entering finance and management consulting instead of pursuing careers as engineers. It's an easy choice, he admits, when Goldman Sachs is offering twice as much as the engineering companies.   

 
No Westerner who visits India can fail to be impressed by the influence of the dazzling boom in information technology, pharmaceuticals, and other technical businesses on the country's economy and culture, or  by the blazing ambition of the country's tech-savvy young people and their parents.  That certainly goes for the Washington Post's excellent business columnist, Steven Pearlstein, who, like this reporter, has recently made a shortish visit to the rising South Asian giant.

Perlstein's business expertise gives him an interesting take on the present and future of India's technological economy.  In a perceptive article, he sees obstacles ahead for the continuing expansion. "India's succes," he writes, "has come at the expense of some Americans whose livelihoods are being hurt by the low-cost competition."  But those cut-rate competitors may not be selling their services at bargain-basement prices that much longer, he predicts.  Rising salaries for the most able and talented Indian scientists, programmers, and engineers are already fast eroding the country's cost advantage, Pearlstein writes, especially because India's educational system graduates many people not up to international standards.  

Pearlstein quotes an Indian executive who fears that some firms' cost advantage over American counterparts may be gone within 5 years.  Change is coming so quickly that the level of savings that some American companies expect to realize by outsourcing to India are, another says,  already "unrealistic."

What is the right time for a Ph.D. or Ph.D. student to leave academe?  What if a person has put down roots while living for years in a college town and doesn't want to move away?  What if a person can see that the program of study stretching ahead most likely won't lead to a reasonable career, but no good alternatives to continuing are apparent?

Julie Miller Vick, senior associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jennifer S. Furlong, associate director of New York University's Office of Faculty Resources, offer guidance to dealing with these quandaries in a thoughtful article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The key to resolving both situations, they advise, is being honest about one's own values and desires and realistic about opportunities, which requires strategic thinking and information gathering as early as possible in one's educational program.

Furlong, for example, writes that she "moved into an administrative position, rather than continue to pursue a tenure-track position in my field, because I really loved living in Philadelphia."  No matter when it happens, "a career transition takes time and energy," Vick adds, but it can be especially "tough to build a solid non-academic career in a place where your university is the only game in town."  Too few people take this "obvious" fact into account in picking where to study or postdoc, she suggests.

People "who assess their own feelings periodically are better able" to decide whether to stay or to go, Vick adds.  "Such assessments may sound like a chore, but they are an effective way to regain a sense of control when so many things feel like they are out of your hands." 

Hopefully, your workplace is a happy place, but with the pressure to produce results, the need to share consumers and equipment, and the cabin-fever effect, we all know that sometimes anger can just burst out. If you're the PI or a lab mate, what do you do?

A study published in this month's issue of Human Relations suggests that the best way to react is to show compassion, offering support rather than retaliating with sanctions. The study, performed by human resources management researchers Deanna Geddes of Temple University in Philadelphia and Lisa Stickney of the University of Baltimore in Maryland, analyzed workplace situations in which 194 people witnessed boots of anger. 

"The researchers found no connection between firing an irate employee and solving underlying workplace problems," the press release states. On the contrary, "Geddes and Stickney also found that even a single act of support by a manager or co-worker and the angered employee can improve workplace tension." 

On the other hand, in their paper Geddes and Stickney also conclude that "When companies choose to sanction organizational members expressing deviant anger, these actions may divert attention and resources from correcting the initial, anger-provoking event that triggered the employee's emotional outburst." This might be a missed opportunity. "Some of the most transformational conversations come about through expressed anger," Geddes said in the press release.

How to cope with frustration and manage conflict in the lab are two topics that our Mind Matters expert Irene S. Levine has been offering advice on in past columns.

The New Haven Independent is reporting that an official at the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration has stated that the agency will investigate the death of Yale student Michele Dufault, whose hair became entangled in a lathe she was operating in the university's Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.  Although the OSHA law technically covers only employees and not students, "OSHA has determined that it can launch an investigation, since the lab does employ technicians and faculty members [who] also work there," the article continues.

This unusually broad interpretation is very good news for students everywhere.  In numerous previous cases -- generally at lower-profile institutions -- universities, colleges, and schools have escaped the scrutiny of trained safety investigators after serious safety incidents.  Many safety experts believe that this has contributed to the lax safety and safety-training standards in force at many academic labs.

Though the needless loss of a young life is an unconscionably high price to pay to bring academic research institutions under the same standards that apply to other employers, perhaps this interpretation by OSHA can prevent other similar catastrophes in the future.

I had hoped never again to have to write about a needless death at a university research facility.  But only two years after Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji succumbed to burns sustained at UCLA in the lab of Prof. Patrick Harran comes the hideous news that Michele Dufault, a Yale senior, died when, according to the New Haven Register, "her hair got caught in a lathe" while she was working on the machine at the university's Sterling Chemical Laboratory.  

"Her hair got caught in a lathe"?!!?  Did I possibly read that right?  The smiling young woman in the photo accompanying this horrifying article does have wavy tresses that fall below her shoulders. The clear implication of the article is that she either did not have her hair securely tied up over covered by a cap while she worked on a piece of potentially lethal industrial machinery or, if she did, that it came undone.  Working on a lathe with anything loose about the body would certainly seem to violate the basic safety standards that would be enforced by any organization aiming to provide a safe workplace.  

Sheri Sangji died because of elementary safety and training violations that caused the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) to cite and fine UCLA.  That university has since improved safety standards and even begun a center to study lab safety. Did the same horrible, totally unnecessary fate -- death by lax safety and training standards -- also befall Michele Dufault?  It seems likely.  And did this catastrophe arise from the same root cause, the careless disregard for the dangers of research procedures that safety experts say is extremely widespread in academic science?  I wouldn't be surprised.

And here is something else that is appalling: "A spokesman for the Bridgeport office of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration said they have no jurisdiction over the incident as it is not a workplace incident involving a paid employee," the Register reports.  Yes, you read that right, too:  By law, OSHA only protects people who collect a paycheck, not those who pay tuition.  Sheri was an employee, which at least gave Cal/OSHA jurisdiction to get to the bottom of what happened.  Michele Dufault, as a student, had no such protection.  What's more, the Register continues, "city officials do not inspect laboratories and workplace safety at Yale, which has its own occupational safety division."  If so, what kind of standards does it enunciate, and how are they enforced?

So, what agency is going to investigate this catastrophe?  Will anyone pay a price?  We will try to find out. This reporter had nightmares while working on the Sheri Sangji case.  It appears that she can expect more reporting this one.

Sister site Science Insider is reporting the death of Yale University senior Michele Dufault in an accident at the machine shop in the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory. More details are available in this article in the New Haven Register.

In an op-ed in the Australian newspaper The Age, Peter C. Doherty, who (with Rolf M. Zinkernagel) won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, argues that "rumoured" budget cuts in Australia are likely to send star Australian researchers into exile. The cuts to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) budget, said to be in the $400 million range, "would be disastrous for Australian science, for the intellectual health and international stature of our leading universities, hospitals and research institutes, and for the personal futures of that bright cadre of young, enthusiastic researchers that has been nurtured here since the significant increases to funding that occurred under recent governments," Doherty writes. The loss of those young researchers that society has invested in would be especially damaging, he writes. "Lose the scientists and you lose the discoveries and the investment benefits that follow."

You can read the whole article here.

The financial crash and resulting deep recession have convinced many people that the outlook for startup companies is bleak.  But just the opposite is true, according to an article in Today's Engineer, a Web-based publication of IEEE-USA. 

"Angel funding is readily available compared to a few years ago. Startup founders are keeping more ownership than they used to. Startups are frequent acquisition targets.  And the service economy is creating more and more opportunities for new small companies" that can fill very particular needs," writes John R. Platt.  

True, often -- including now -- entrepreneurial activity can be motivated by a lack of good employment opportunities, Platt writes, so in that sense entrepreneurship can be associated with marginal economies. But a weak employment market doesn't mean the timing isn't good for the success of a new venture. Depending on the nature and quality of the idea, the strength of the business plan, and the skill and determination of the would-be business founders, today's objective conditions can be very favorable to taking the entrepreneurial plunge, he writes.

April 11, 2011

Acing the Interviews

On the way to landing an academic job, few steps are as crucial, as challenging, or as (justifiably) anxiety provoking as the interviews, whether an introductory one at a scholarly association meeting or, for those who have the skill and luck to excel in the first round, the final series of interviews and job talks during the campus visit.  

But, explains hiring committee veteran Alain-Phillippe Durand in a pair of invaluable articles on Inside Higher Education, doing well requires discipline, determination, and, above all, preparation.  The first article dissects the convention interview and the second the campus visit.  Durand's advice covers everything, including matters that applicants might not think of: how to reply to an invitation delivered by phone, how to order during a restaurant meal with potential employers, and of course, what to wear and how to greet interviewers.  

Durand repeatedly emphasizes the importance of diligently applying those well-honed research skills to the institution and its representatives well before arrival, and trying to foresee possible difficulties.  And he hammers home the point that small things can matter a great deal, so keeping one's head is key.

Be sure to read the comments, too, which provide additional helpful advice.

Biomedical and bioengineering researchers who want to learn how to commercialize an idea are invited to apply for the inaugural Biomedical Engineering Entrepreneurship Academy at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of California-Davis.  The one-week course, held June 27 to July 1, provides seminars plus opportunities to network with venture capitalists, angel investors, and established entrepreneurs.  

The fee for students, postdocs and faculty members is $150 and includes a shared room, board and class materials.  Participants pay their own travel.  Applications are due May 20.

Do you need to find a scientific job but don't know where to start?  Are you flummoxed about how to write an effective resume?  Do you dread having to do interviews?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you can benefit from informative, hour-long presentations on these subjects available free and online from the American Chemical Society.

Though the sessions in the ACS Job Search Webinar Series understandably focus on the chemical industry, the principles they present are applicable to any scientist looking for work, whether a first job or the next step in an established career.  Just scroll down to the screen with the topic of your choice, then click to begin the webinar.

(By the way, in case you've been living under a rock, Science Careers offers it's own career-related Webinars.)

In an article published on University World News at the end of March, two German industry organizations claim that German industry is facing an acute shortage of scientists and engineers. The two organizations are the Confederation of German Industry (BDI), which describes itself as "the voice of German industry" and claims to represent 100,000 businesses, and the Confederation of German Employers Associations (BDA), an umbrella organization for employer's groups.

"German industry has warned of the need to tackle a shortage of staff in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and engineering, to stop economic momentum from stalling. Industry federations have put the swelling skills shortfall at 117,000 people in the four fields," the article reads. Where does that number come from? Oliver Koppel, a science and engineering (S&E) labor market expert at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), explains in an e-mail interview with Science Careers that "The figure ... represents the aggregate difference between vacancies and unemployment in S&E jobs ... as of February 2011," The original source is a report put together by the IW and the German Federal Employment Agency
 
The article points to high student drop-out rates as part of the problem, citing figures from the German higher education statistics agency Hochschul Informations System GmbH, which put the drop-out to  28% in math, informatics, natural sciences, and engineering. 

Read the full article here.

Just when we thought that women faculty were making "stunning progress" and that outright discrimination is on its way out in academe, Inside Higher Ed reports on a study finding an "enduring gender gap" in faculty pay.  In a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, University of Washington doctoral student Laura Meyers found an average 6.9% discrepancy between male and female faculty pay that could not be explained fully by such commonly cited factors as institution type, emphasis on teaching versus research, length of the career, or academic field.

Meyers also found a "significant and negative connection" between a field becoming more female and the salaries its members earn.  Meyers found, furthermore, that women who are active in service or disciplinary affairs outside their home campuses suffer a salary penalty while men who render similar service do not.  Meyer finds the situation "problematic" and in need of further attention.

April 6, 2011

How Would You Name It?

The European Commission has been scratching its head about what to call the new EU research and innovation funding program. They're asking for help. The new funding program will replace the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) after 2013.

Provided you're not an employee of one of the European institutions or a direct family member, you are invited to enter the ongoing competition for the new name. Your proposal "should be easily associated with research and innovation, while also being original, memorable, either usable in a wide range of languages or easily translatable, and easy to pronounce and spell," the European Commission Web site reads

The three best suggestions will be selected by an international jury and further voted on by the public. The winner, to be announced on 10 June, will get an all-expense-paid trip to Brussels for the European Innovation Convention later this year.

Entries will be accepted until midnight Central European Summer Time on 10 May to send your proposal. 

The six teams who enter the "most innovative ideas that drive green technology commercialization and entrepreneurship" will divide $12 million in this year's i6 Green Challenge competition, sponsored by the United States Economic Development Administration.  Teams from universities and private organizations as well as entrepreneurs are among those eligible to compete. Projects can focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, green manufacturing, reuse and recycling, green buildings, or ecosystem restoration.   Each group must submit a letter of intent by May 2 and a final proposal by May 26.  More information is here.

Sister site ScienceInsider has just put up an interesting post on NIH's efforts to prepare for a government shutdown -- without appearing to prepare for a government shutdown. Very cloak-and-dagger.

A Chronicle of Higher Education column published last Sunday discusses what personal qualities make it easier for expatriates to adapt and thrive in a new culture and environment. The column was written by Rudolph Young, the human resources director for the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates.  

Young highlights "extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability" as the "big five personality factors" that contribute most to success abroad. When assessing expatriates, Young also looks at "how effective people are at working in intercultural situations, stress-management ability, personal hardiness (ability to cope with negative events in a resilient and resourceful manner), and emotional intelligence (the ability to gauge an appropriate and constructive emotional response)," Young writes.

The costs of not adapting can be very high both for the expatriate and the hiring institution. For the employee, the consequences of an unfortunate move can "include unemployment, delayed career development, damaged relationships, and interruptions in their children's education," Young writes. As for hiring institutions, "Relocation, housing, education assistance, travel, and repatriation can make the cost of hiring an expatriate triple that of a domestic employee."

Young suggests assessing job applicants' personality during selection to better evaluate the risks and help recruits adjust to their new living and working environment with an individual development plan.

Read the full article here

Then consider taking part in this year's European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). 
The aim of the competition -- initiated by a center called Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, which gathers companies, entrepreneurs, and research institutions -- is to support promising ideas for commercial applications of satellite navigation. Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen is located near Munich, Germany.

Applicants' business ideas will be evaluated regionally, by expert panels. Applicants may  compete separately for seven special topic prizes and  a prototyping prize, all sponsored by companies and research organizations like the European Space Agency (ESA). 

Prizes differ by region and by topic, but may include a cash award, support from a business incubator, technical assistance, coaching, access to data and user communities, and the opportunity to present your idea to industry. A "Galileo Master" will also be selected across all categories to receive a grant of 20,000 euros and access to a six-month incubation program.

Look on the ESNC Web site for further information on the competition. If you can, also attend the ESNC International Kick-off Conference in London on 11 May, as this will be a rare chance to get advice from experts and past winners.  

You have until 30 June 12:00 p.m. CET to submit your idea.