Why does such inequality persist? And is there anything that can be done about it?
Join us for a live chat with one of the paper's authors, Jo Handelsman, as well as Princeton president and molecular biologist Shirley Tilghman, today at 3 p.m. EDT.
BWF's Career Awards at the Scientific Interface provide $500,000 to bridge advanced postdoctoral training and the first years of faculty service. These awards are intended to foster the early career development of researchers with backgrounds in the physical/mathematical/computational sciences and engineers whose work addresses biological questions.BWF is a long-time supporter of Science Careers.
These awards are open to U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents as well as to U.S. temporary residents.
Eligible candidates for this award may self-nominate by submitting a preproposal by September 4, 2012.
Preproposals will be reviewed by the Interfaces in Science Advisory Committee and selected candidates will be invited to submit a full application. Full invited applications must be submitted by January 10, 2013.
See our video: http://www.youtube.com/embed/7BUCJzQJoxg
For full grant details, see www.bwfund.org
Last year I was part of a group of female scientists that spoke with several girls high schools about science as a career. One of the discussion points the students raised was the career not supporting women having families. I came away asking myself, how have we done this? How is it high school students are questioning if the career is possible. Also over the past few years I have seen many graduates leave science at the end of a PhD, not because they don't enjoy the science but because they don't like the career. It is a very sad thing, both for the people who are not following their interest into science and for the career to miss out on what they could have contributed.
In the last decade in Australia institutions and the Research Councils have begun to turn things around with a few significant policy shifts. For example, the ROPE system (Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence) allows researches applying for grants to discuss their research outputs as relative to the opportunities they have had to undertake research. The tide here has also changed on the idea that if you intend to have kids you are not serious about your career. I feel that my work takes me more seriously because I remain actively engaged in contributing. I know that, if I do well, I am part of my group doing well, and I feel they support me 100%. I don't think I could ask for more. But departments/institutions gain from supporting women in these years - why train someone else to leave when you can have productive people who are good at what they do staying productive.
In between having my 2 children I decided I wanted to stay in a research-only role in the near future. Not because I think tenure and family are prohibitive, but I decided I didn't want that career just yet (I am a much better researcher than I am an educator). Waiting to start having a family was risky and what I learned from my experiences was that I couldn't force my life to fit career expectations established by another generation at a time when the career was different. I want my career to fit my expectations and my life. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime, not just kids. I would say to anyone who thinks having a family is bad for their science, to look at their CV and ignore the past year, 2 years or even seven years, and ask themselves if not having that section of their CV means they would no longer be a good scientist or that the science they did before is no longer good. It doesn't! I feel it is possible to find another way to achieve a long career in science and academia, and policies here in Australia, do make a difference. Both attitudes and opportunities are changing.
Science Careers is a great resource and place to find inspiration, and does make a difference for many people in the early stages of their career. I wrote the essay late at night (on my iPhone), while up with my 4month old because I was reading the Science Careers app while he as feeding. I was inspired to speak up about my recent post-doctoral experiences and how they have changed how I approach my career in science.
The working group recommends in the report that NIH "[r]educe the number of students and post-doctoral fellows supported," increase awareness of alternative careers for people trained in science, and work on ways to increase funding and promote a wider distribution of funds.Here are NIH's "Action Recommendations," from that report:
The Class of 2015 was reportedly chosen from 19,145 applicants, but only 5,720 people actually completed applications, according to the documents, which Mr. Fleming gave to the Navy Times. That means the academy's 7.4-percent acceptance rate is actually closer to 25 percent. The academy defended its approach, saying it has used this method of counting applicants for at least 20 years.Hmm, well I guess that makes it OK then.
As soon as I heard from the University of Kashmir, where I was pursuing postdoc for Center for Scientific and Industrial Research at RRIUM, that my application for postdoctoral position in USA at the University of Mississippi (also called OleMiss) had been accepted, a whole montage of images flashed across my mind. Swamps, trucks, cars, roads, clubs, Virginia beaches, Hollywood Beverly hills, the twanging of streets: the idea struck me as downright exotic.Enjoy!
The institution is expected to make a serious commitment to each awardee through the provision of separate lab space, access to common equipment and resources, mentoring similar to that provided to assistant professors, etc. The faculty in the host department should regard the awardee as a colleague, but the institution is not required to provide a tenure-track slot to the awardee. If the position provided for the Early Independence Awardee is not permanent at the institution, the Early Independence Award is expected to position the awardee to compete successfully for a tenure track or other permanent position at the end of the funding period.Applications are due on 30 January.
The society also asks for the right of first refusal for popular publication and other media coverage of grantee's findings.
Application forms and instructions for applying are available on the society's Web site.
"Turning [foreign students who have just graduated] out of the country is, to put it bluntly, about the dumbest thing that we could possibly do," Mr. Bloomberg said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership for a New American Economy. "The fact is, there is no such thing as too many engineers, too many scientists, or too many technological innovators. We need all of them in this country."At Science Careers, we believe in the potential of science to solve crucial problems and promote economic development more than most people do -- including, I suspect, Mayor Bloomberg. But I'm less sure about his claim that you can never have too many. Scientific careers are, among other things, economic entities -- very special ones, but economic entities nonetheless. With any economic entity, when supply and demand get too far out of wack, bad things happen; too much supply leads to falling prices -- wages in this case -- which isn't good for the profession. It's even arguable whether having too many scientists is good for the companies that employ them: Will companies benefit if science becomes a low-prestige, low-wage career? Or would they -- as I believe -- be better off it it remains a career that attracts the most capable members of our society, as well as other societies?
The folks at Scientific American have launched "1,000 Scientists in 1,000 Days" -- a program to bring together scientists, teachers and students to improve America's "dismal" showing among wealthy countries (27th out of 29) in graduating college students with degrees in science or engineering. I'm sure they mean well -- but, at least as it applies to the field of chemistry, "1,000 Unemployed Scientists Living With Their Parents at Age 35 While Working at the Gap" would be a better name.Bloom, who says he spent 20 years working in drug discovery, focuses on the pharmaceutical industry and blames that industry's decline -- and the resulting layoffs and off-shoring of research -- for the sad state of science careers in the United States.
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.
7 or More
When faced with such a situation, what did you do? Did you tell someone else? If so, when? How did you maintain your professional distance and balance it with your personal one? How do you strike the right balance between being a colleague and a friend?
Naturally, we'll protect your privacy -- and especially the privacy of your colleague.
If you have been the troubled colleague, Irene would love to hear about your experience, too.Write to Irene-at-IreneLevinedotCom.
Scientists Dealing with a Troubled Colleague
I would like to interview scientists or science trainees who have encountered a troubled colleague. For example, the colleague may have been depressed, had marital problems, abused substances, had an anger-management problem, etc., that interfered with productivity and/or office morale. When faced with such a situation, what did you do? Did you tell someone else? If so, when? What happened as a consequence? How do you strike the right balance between being a colleague and a friend? If you have been the troubled colleague, I would love to hear your experience, too. Contact: Irene S. Levine, irene-at-irenelevine-dot-com .
This analysis indicates that approach and significance are the most important factors, on average, in determining the overall impact score, at least for this sample of NIGMS R01 grant applications."Approach," with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.74, was the most closely correlated to the impact score; "significance" was next, at 0.63. The criteria least closely correlated with the impact score are "investigator" (0.49) and "environment" (0.37). That means that, at least for the sample Berg analyzed, the data show that the quality of your ideas matter far more than your reputation. That's good news for early-career scientists.
At Science Careers, we publish three different kinds of articles. We have expert commentary, which we typically label "Perspective". We have freelance-written articles, where the writer is relatively anonymous and compiles the views of other experts; these have no special label, since they constitute the majority of our articles. The third type is the "In Person" category, where individual scientists tell their own stories and contribute their personal observations.
I would welcome you to contribute an In Person article. These are typically short (circa 800 words), to the point, and have a very personal voice. It's typical for "In Person" writers to tell their own stories and then extract a message from those stories -- a mixture of personal narrative and advice. Because it's clear that you are speaking from your own experience -- and not from a scholar's expertise -- you are free to offer whatever advice you wish, without the need for rigorous justification or proof.
If you're interested in writing an In Person article for us, I'm happy to read it. We cannot commit ahead of time to publishing your submission, since we cannot know how good it will be. But if you're willing to work with us, it's very likely that the piece will get published; Almost all In Person submissions are published eventually, though often (but not always) after a lot of editing and revision.
Here is our "In Person" series index, to give you an idea of what we're looking for. You'll notice a lot of variety, but also some common elements:
sciencemag.org/career_ development/previous_issues/ articles/2007_11_16/caredit. a0700166
If you decide you want to do this, please give me, asap, a date by which you are confident you can finish the piece. Then I'll pencil it into my schedule.
Thanks for your interest.
Jim Austin, Editor
On Twitter: @SciCareerEditor
My point was parallel (I think) to Dr. Isis's - that by refusing to point out that these things aren't fair and that they should not continue makes it more likely to continue.OK, my bad. I thought it was completely obvious that these things aren't fair -- does that really need to be pointed out again and again? I didn't think so -- and anyway, I'm sure the message is at least implicit in the article -- but maybe I was wrong, and maybe implicit isn't good enough.
Recently ScienceMama from the Mother of All Scientists sent me a link to this article from Science about how successful academic women learn to outsource daily tasks like housekeeping, childcare, and laundry. While, I think the advice is generally good, ScienceMama picked up on the underlying social message of the article. She wrote to me:
I can't exactly put into words why this article bothers me so much. I understand the general intention of the article, but for some reason the take home message for me seems to be "If you're a female scientist, you need to hire a housekeeper, whereas if you're a male scientist you can just get a wife."
By focusing just on female scientists, it seems like what the article is saying is that domestic chores are a woman's responsibility. Why shouldn't male scientists also be encouraged to get a housekeeper to cover all the work they are clearly neglecting at home?
Again, I understand that the article was well-intentioned (spend your limited free time with your family or on a hobby instead of mopping your floors), but the fact that it's aimed only at female scientists seems to reinforce the idea that all of the domestic chores are the woman's responsibility.
She's exactly right.
No, she's not. Why single out women in suggesting a housekeeper? Because men don't seem to have a problem. Men, on average, don't need help with the housekeeping. This is not about should; it's about doing what you have to to make your life -- personal and professional -- work. I don't mean to be patronizing, but this is kind of obvious, isn't it?
Indeed, the ScienceMama/Dr. Isis account seems to me the result of a careful, selective, and uncharitable reading of what Venkatraman wrote. One of the explicit themes of the article was: Feeling guilt over not meeting a woman's traditional roles? Get over it!
What would they advise instead? Wait until the social
norms have changed and THEN go into science? Get a divorce, then
(re)marry for domestic skills instead of love? The latter could be a
fine choice for some women, but it's deeply personal, and you won't
catch me advising it.
I've done my best over the years to make
Science Careers a source of practical advice for aspiring
scientists. That's a more noble and difficult challenge than being on
the right side of some principle. True, since I've been editor, Science
Careers articles have consistently made it clear that there's a point
where you have to stand on principle, and it's up to each scientist to
decide for him or herself where that point is. But, given a choice
between moral brownie points and helping someone get tenure, I'll choose
the latter every time, and so will the writers who write for Science
There's one more question I need to take on, the
question of standing. I am, after all, a guy. But I think I have
standing partly due to the 9 years -- I've just realized that TODAY is
the ninth anniversary of my employment at AAAS -- I've worked to advance
the interests of younger scientists -- especially (but not exclusively)
scientists from under-represented groups. (An aside: These days youth
itself is under-represented in science, and I've spent virtually every
working moment of the last 9 years working to advance the interests of
But there's another thing that gives me
standing: I can claim a distinction that's rare among men, and I claim
it proudly: I gave up a research career (in physics) so that my wife
could pursue one (in chemistry). She's now a full professor, finishing
up a 4-year stint as department chair.
My wife deserves all the credit for her accomplishments. She earned her success with tireless, excellent work. But I have done my share of housework.
On Twitter: @SciCareerEditor
Previous NINDS language stated that R21 proposals were "limited to those with the potential for truly ground-breaking impact". We would like to emphasize that such impact, as described in the trans-NIH parent R21 announcement (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-069.html), can be achieved in many different ways. For example, projects can assess the feasibility of a novel area of investigation, develop new techniques or models, apply existing methodologies to a new scientific area, etc. (see parent announcement for additional examples).What is NINDS really saying here? The point of this section, writes Robert Finkelstein, the director of the NINDS extramural division, in an e-mail, is to correct the apparently widespread impression -- created by earlier NINDS language -- that NINDS imposes an additional burden on investigators. "Over the last few years, we've learned that the NINDS language cited in the broad announcement was confusing many reviewers and applicants, who seemed to believe that our goals are very different from those described in the announcement," Finkelstein writes. "This is in fact not true." (It's important to note that the message is intended for reviewers as well as applicants.) The take-home message: Send in those R-21 applications...
It is important to note that analyses of new investigator applications to NINDS indicate that the success rate for R21 applicants is lower than for R01 applicants ... [so] the NINDS encourages New Investigators, and in particular Early Stage Investigators (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-121.html), to apply for R01 grants when seeking first-time funding from the NIH.This part of the announcement was necessary, Finkelstein writes, because "a large fraction of R21 applications come from new PI's" -- under the mistaken impression, probably, that their odds of winning the smaller grant are better. "Many new PI's seem to believe that the R21 is an easier way to get money, which it definitely isn't." Consequently, "we, like many other NIH Institutes, would prefer to see new investigators submit R01 applications. Our current policies are designed to ensure that success rates for new R01 investigators are approximately equal to those for established investigators."
I encourage my students to be very creative in their efforts to push paradigms beyond what we know. To do that, I encourage them to take risks. In exchange, I provide the safety net to make sure it won't hurt their careers.Most impressive, however, is what he regards as his career-defining moment. Was it winning a scientific prize? Getting published in a top-tier journal? A prestigious faculty appointment? No. His career-defining moment was watching his first postdoc succeed:
I was still unclear on how the field would view our work when the first postdoc from my lab started exploring the job market. It was daunting. But when she started getting awards and fantastic job interviews, I was quite relieved. I remember thinking: 'We're training people who will do well. We're not destroying someone's career.'On Twitter: @SciCareerEditor
The most important thing is to get everything in writing. Don't take the Chair's or the Dean's word for it that you'll get a summer salary or that you won't have to teach for the first two years. GET IT IN WRITING. Was that clear enough? No? I'll say it again just to make sure. GET IT IN WRITING. Everything....and then goes on to discuss the nitty gritty: soft money, summer salary, teaching load, and so on. Read the comments, too; there's some good insight in there as well.
The benefits provided by worker participation are twofold. Quality is improved because of the finding and fixing of a very large number of problems, but also, and perhaps equally important, morale is improved.So trust your carpenters.
Schultz says the concerns raised were serious enough that he asked a group of lab members to try to replicate the work in [then-postdoc Zhiwen] Zhang's Science paper in addition to several other important discoveries Zhang had made. That task, however, was complicated by the fact that Zhang's lab notebooks, describing his experiments in detail, were missing. Schultz says that in the early fall of 2006, the notebooks were in Schultz's office. But at some point after that they were taken without his knowledge and have never resurfaced.Much of Zhang's work was eventually replicated, but key experiments turned out to be wrong. The story involves anonymous charges of fraud, a threatened suicide, and an extortion attempt. The papers were retracted in the midst of Zhang's tenure process at the University of Texas at Austin, and he was eventually denied tenure.
We will arrive in Punta Arenas tomorrow and on the 23rd will sail to Seymour Island to install the paleontologists' camp, will hang out with them (hopefully walking around in search on dinos and mammals) and sail to Palmer Station 2 days later.
The paleontologists are Ross MacPhee of the Natural History Museum in New York and Matt Lamanna, a long time friend (what a coincidence!) from Carnegie, an expert in Patagonic dinos. They are going to look for clues of mammals and hopefully a dino from a specific geologic era that will give evidence of a land bridge between South America and Antarctica and Australia. Very cool. Wouldn't it be fabulous if we found something new?
The loveliest thing is that I managed to involve in the conferences this isolated, forgotten community in the Colombian pacific jungles, the Universidad del Choco, and are so thrilled at the idea of just seeing the ice! They are asking a thousand questions already.In addition to talking science to people, Posada-Swafford will also be sending us regular updates, posted on our blog, telling us about the scientists she meets and what it's like to do science in Antarctica.
Only once before had NSF allowed streaming video and that was for 10-minute reporting for the Ophrah Winfrey show. But now they are going full one or more hours per video conference and I have decided that I want 2 of them, one week apart. The kids at the different museums get to ask questions as I tell them all about the station's LTER research (long term ecological research), climate change from the molecular to penguin levels, etc.
Here are the links, also, to two websites that are following my expedition to the detail, through my own dispatches, which will come in every day with pictures, audio and video. They are doing an animated map of the trip, and a zillion more things, which already started with my chronicles of the preparations for the trip. I haven't left and there are already many comments.
This is a great opportunity to talk science to people! One of the links is for my magazine in Spain, MUY INTERESANTE. The second one is for the very sophicticated science museum in Bogota, Colombia, which is orchestrating the video conferences in Latin America:
index.php/ciencia-y-natura/44- ciencia-a-natura/8233-desde- la-antartida-
The videoconferences can be seen at the Maloka website in real time and later, as they'll be recorded. The dates are:
(Saturdays are good for the children in Latin America and they are also good for the Palmer scientists who will take those days off!)
- Saturday 5 December at 2 p.m. U.S. eastern time (4 p.m. Palmer time)
- Saturday 12 December at the same time.
Elisabeth Pain and Kate Travis in Science Careers (November 6, 2009) are correct in discussing the changes in science that have taken place in Eastern Europe since "The Fall of the Wall." But the two authors are mistaken when they write that "Research in those countries [the Soviet bloc] was done in near-complete isolation from the international community."
Using primarily cultural and scientific exchanges, in addition to espionage, the Soviets had a very effective system for learning what scientists in countries of the West were doing. During the 30 years of the U.S.-Soviet Cultural Agreement more than 50,000 Soviet citizens came to the United States on exchange, many of them scientists and engineers, and many thousands more came to countries of Western Europe that had similar agreements. And because the exchanges were reciprocal, U.S. and other Western scientists went to the Soviet Union in exchange. The Soviets were all cleared by the KGB in advance of nomination for their exchange visits, but before their U.S. visas were authorized they were also screened by the U.S. intelligence community to ensure that they would have no access to U.S.-funded defense research, and that the exchanges were mutually beneficial. The watchword was "Is the Soviet scientist going to learn more from us than we will learn from him?" And they were all "hims," since no women scientists were nominated by the Soviets.
In our "flagship exchange," of graduate students and young faculty for a full academic year, we would send real graduate students in language, history, and literature, while the Soviets, in the early years of the exchanges, would send us mainly scientists and engineers who already had their Kandidat degree, more or less equivalent to our PhD. Each U.S.-USSR cultural agreement, renegotiated every 2 or 3 years, also contained a section devoted to exchanges of delegations of scientists in various fields.
In addition to the exchange programs of the State Department, our National Academy of Sciences and Atomic Energy Commission also had exchanges with the Soviet bloc. To give you an idea of the extent of those exchange programs, when martial law was declared in Poland in 1981, we had several hundred Polish scientists stuck in the United States and unwilling to return home. Also, Pain and Travis fail to consider the 11 cooperative agreements in S & T signed with the Soviet Union during the detente years of the 1970s which brought hundreds more Soviet scientists to the United States, and a reciprocal number of Americans to the Soviet Union.
After their return home and their debriefing by science officials, the Soviet scientists who had studied abroad were required to give talks to their colleagues on what they had learned during their foreign visit. As a result of all those exchange programs, Soviet science was anything but isolated from the international community.
For more on this, read my book, Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: Raising the Iron Curtain (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003).(We'll post the authors' reply in a separate post. My thanks to Yale Richmond for his thoughtful reply.)
- Yale Richmond
The researchers--led by Lowell and Harold Salzman, a sociologist at the Urban Institute and Rutgers University, New Brunswick--argue that boosting the STEM pipeline may end up hurting the United States in the long-term.
This happens, they say, by depressing wages in S&T fields and turning potential science and technology innovators into management professionals and hedge fund managers.
So how do you create a vibrant scientific economy? You invest more in
science itself. There will be shortages. Salaries will rise. Science
will once again be viewed as an elite career:
The way to promote US competitiveness in STEM fields is to "put more emphasis on the demand side," says Lowell, noting that U.S. colleges and universities produce three times more STEM graduates every year than the number of STEM jobs available. Cranking out even more STEM graduates, he says, does not give corporations any incentive to boost wages for STEM jobs, which would be one way to retain the highest-performing students in STEM.
Of course, many people in business don't like this approach because they want to be able to continue hiring scientists cheaply. It's short-sighted, but understandable:
No question? The Conference Board reports that things are especially bad for engineers, with two online ads for every job opening. To compare, there is only one job-seeking health worker for every three opportunities posted in that sector.
Susan Traiman of the Business Roundtable criticizes the new study, saying that it gives an illusion of a robust supply because it bundles all STEM fields together. There may be an oversupply in the life sciences and social sciences, she argues, but there is no question that there are shortages in engineering and the physical sciences. The findings "are not going to make us go back and re-examine everything we've been calling for," she says.
"Somebody might be a great manager of a team but incapable of working across the company to get things done because they're competitive, or because of any number of reasons...That's just one interpersonal challenge--there are many others--but it's one that I, personally, have struggled with. How do you win, and deploy, the loyalty of people who don't report to you and are always very busy with other work? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
...there is very little [in the typical MBA training] about how to work with your peers where you need to get X done, and you need these other three departments to give you X amount of time in order to succeed at that.
The people who truly succeed in business are the ones who actually have figured out how to mobilize people who are not their direct reports. Everyone can get their direct reports to work for them, but getting people who do not have to give you their time to engage and to support you and want you to succeed is something that is sorely missing from B-school courses."
The following announcement comes from Daniel Poux and the AAAS Science and Policy Fellowships program:
For 36 years, the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships have provided scientists and engineers with a unique opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to national and international issues in the federal policy realm, while learning first-hand how to craft policy in Congress and implement policy in more than 15 federal agencies.
AAAS seeks candidates from a broad array of disciplines, ethnicities and disability status. Fellows represent a spectrum of career stages, from recent PhD graduates, to faculty on sabbatical, to retired scientists and engineers. Fellows also come from a range of sectors, including academia, industry, non-profit organizations and government labs.
Click here to RSVP for a webinar on 2 October, 2009 at 12:00 pm EDT
you can learn more about the fellowships application, selection,
placement processes and ask questions of former Fellows about how the
experience affected their careers. If the above link is not active,
please paste the following into your browser: http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=
Eligibility & Criteria:
To be considered for a fellowship via AAAS, successful applicants must hold a doctoral level degree (PhD, ScD, MD, DVM, etc.), in any of the following:
* Social sciences
* Health sciences
* Biological sciences
* Physical sciences
* Earth sciences
* Computational sciences
Applicants with a MS in Engineering and three years of post-degree professional experience also qualify.
All degree requirements must be completed by the 15 December, 2009 application deadline.
Additionally, successful applicants must:
* Show a commitment to serve society
* Exhibit good communication skills and the ability to engage with non-scientific audiences
* Demonstrate problem-solving ability, flexibility and leadership qualities
* Hold U.S. citizenship
Federal employees are not eligible.
This is a year-long opportunity, beginning 1 September, 2010 and ending 31 August, 2011. Fellows in most executive branch agencies have the opportunity to renew their fellowship for up to 12 additional months.
STIPEND & BENEFITS:
Stipend: Approximately $73,000 to $95,000 (depending on years of experience and previous salary).
Relocation Allowance: Up to $4,000 for first-year Fellows with stipends via AAAS if move is greater than 50 miles outside Washington, D.C.
Health Insurance: Monthly reimbursements for Fellows who receive stipends via AAAS. Insurance coverage via agency for those hired directly as temporary federal employees.
Travel/Training: Minimum of $4,000 for Fellows receiving a stipend via AAAS, to be used for fellowship assignment-related travel, conferences, and/or training.
Professional Development: A year-long program including orientation, monthly seminars, skill-building workshops, career sessions, and networking events.
Apply: The deadline is 15 December, 2009
AAAS accepts online applications only. Full details at www.fellowships.aaas.org
AAAS partners with approximately 30 scientific and engineering societies that also sponsor fellowships. They conduct separate application and selection processes and may provide different stipend and benefits support. Individuals interested in the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are encouraged to apply with all scientific and engineering societies for which they qualify. Please see our website at www.fellowships.aaas.org for details.
Click here to RSVP for a webinar 2 October, 2009 at 12:00 pm EDT
you can learn more about the fellowships application, selection,
placement processes and ask questions of former Fellows about how the
experience affected their careers. If the above link is not active,
please paste the following into your browser: http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=
The bottom line is this: a career in academic science, especially biology, demands a lot of you in terms of training, skill, time, and dedication, and the rewards are uncertain and in any case a long way off. Obviously doing science is great, which is why a lot of people still go into the career, yet perhaps we're luring in fresh undergraduate recruits with a little bit of false advertising: you go in thinking what could be better than having the same kind of job Einstein had, and then, 12 years later, it dawns on you that it's actually kind of hard to stake your claim to a corner of the scientific landscape that shows potential for paradigm-shifting discoveries. You can go through years of training, letting the opportunity costs add up, and wind up working on research problems that are interesting, but not enough to keep away the doubts about your career choice and the opportunities you gave up to pursue science.Although there is nothing particularly new here, it's a point that cannot be made too strongly or too often. Even as policy makers continue to try to attract more smart people into science, they fail to address the main obstacle to recruiting and keeping people in the field: The uncertainty in career prospects.
Julia Dutaud, 16, sitting in the back in her school-rugby T-shirt, would like to study environmental science - a field growing as rapidly as any - but she wonders if she could make a good living at it: "Going into science would be a nice thing to do," she says. "But we aren't sure how much opportunity we would get after university."Later:
A study released this week found that in Canada and many other Western countries, few of the best high-school science students are interested in trading their A's for electron microscopes and brain scanners. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported that on average 60 per cent of the highest-achieving, 15-year-old science students were uninterested in careers in advanced research.Our educational systems often gets the blame for the lack of interest in scientific careers among young people, but this shows that that's not the only, and probably not the main, problem. Clearly, science is not an attractive career option. It's pretty obvious what the problem is--too few good jobs for far too many bright young people. It's far less obvious what the answer is. The more science we do, of course, the more scientists we'll need. And the more scientists we need, the more opportunities there will be for scientists. But right now, young, smart Americans--on both sides of the border--know that there are more dependable career options: clinical medicine, say, or law, or business.
In the view that is now dominant, even Mozart's early abilities were not the product of some innate spiritual gift. His early compositions were nothing special. They were pastiches of other people's work. Mozart was a good musician at an early age, but he would not stand out among today's top child-performers.According to the modern theory, the key to success, Brooks writes, is "deliberate practice"--with the emphasis on "deliberate." Brooks points readers towards "two enjoyable new books: 'The Talent Code' by Daniel Coyle; and 'Talent is Overrated' by Geoff Colvin."
What Mozart had, we now believe, was the same thing Tiger Woods had--the ability to focus for long periods of time and a father intent on improving his skills. Mozart played a lot of piano at a very young age, so he got his 10,000 hours of practice in early and then he built from there."
If you wanted to picture how a typical genius might develop, you'd take a girl who possessed a slightly above average verbal ability. It wouldn't have to be a big talent, just enough so that she might gain some sense of distinction. Then you would want her to meet, say, a novelist, who coincidentally shared some similar biographical traits. Maybe the writer was from the same town, had the same ethnic background, or shared the same birthday--anything to create a sense of affinity.The idea is that the shared traits would help the girl to visualize what she could become. Later, Brooks mentions another role a mentor can play: providing detailed feedback and correction. It need not be the same mentor.
Over the years, many European countries have put in place funding programs that allow early career scientists to do Ph.D.s jointly in academia and industry in an effort to bridge the two worlds. A survey carried out in France suggests that these programs have been effective in helping Ph.D. scientists enter industry. But the survey shows that doing a Ph.D. in partnership with a company may also make it more difficult to find a job in academia.
The survey, which was released by the French National Association for Research and Technology (ANRT), looked at the CIFRE (Convention Industrielle de Formation par la Recherche) program (also run by the ANRT). Since its launch in 1981, the CIFRE program has allowed more than 12,700 students to complete Ph.D.s under the joint supervision of an academic and an industrial supervisor in France, with a completion rate of 87%.
The survey drew a response rate of 22% and the vast majority (86%) of the responding CIFRE graduates said they had fulfilled their career ambitions.
Ninety-six per cent of the responding CIFRE graduates reported obtaining a job within a year of their graduation. Almost half of them (42%) were recruited by their host company, while 16% continued working in their academic Ph.D. labs. Altogether, about one fifth of them (22%) continued with a postdoc, most often in France.
At the time of the survey, the majority of the responding graduates worked in a large company (38%) or in a public higher education and research institution (27%). Almost a quarter of them (23%) worked in a small or medium-size company and another 5% were employed in a non-research public institution.
Three quarters of those who obtained their Ph.D.s in the 1980's reported having some managerial responsibilities, and between 20 and 30% of the respondents with most experience reported salaries higher than 60k€.
Altogether, 40% of the responding graduates had either taken a new position or left for a new employer at least once in their career. In the majority of the cases, this career change occurred in the year following graduation.
"It seems that the doctorate, supported by the CIFRE program, has served the respondents' careers well, significantly at the beginning of their professional careers, with the rapid and relatively durable stabilization of their employment and sector of activity," the ANRT report concludes.
Seventy per cent of the responding graduates felt that doing a Ph.D. under the CIFRE program indeed helped them overcome the misconceptions that industrial employers traditionally have in France. Yet the study also shows that those who chose to come back to academia had a harder time: 40% of the respondents felt their CIFRE Ph.D. closed university doors. Thirty per cent of those who eventually found a job in academia felt it had been a handicap, a feeling that was shared by almost half of the respondents working in industry at the time of the survey.
The data indicate wariness among academic science toward research projects done in partnership with companies, the report says. Consequently some CIFRE graduates may also have been thwarted in their hopes to one day join academia, the report adds. Ultimatelty, if your career goal is to eventually work in academia, a CIFRE Ph.D. may not be the best preparation.
You can download the full report from the ANRT Web site (in French)
A central fact about labor markets--translated into real-world terms that means jobs for job-seekers and suitable employees for companies with positions to fill--is that they're hideously inefficient. That means it's hard to match up buyers and sellers.
In stark contrast to a commodity market, the parts of a labor market are not interchangeable. And the higher up the employment hierarchy you go, the more specialized you get, and the less interchangeable the parts become. You, as an expert in (fill in your biological science specialty here) are not, in most ways, interchangeable with that person you used to say hello to on the quad when you were in graduate school, who eventually emerged from his dark laboratory in the building across the way with a Ph.D. in physics. Your training is specialized. To get hired, you need to find a job that matches your credentials.