Our readers might be interested to know that the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars initiated and completed its 2013 survey of Canadian postdocs and had an incredible 1,800 responses. The survey data is currently being analyzed and compiled and we’ll be very excited to read and write about the results when they become available. From the Black Hole newsroom, we are still preparing our resource site (apologies to those who have been waiting!) and hope to have it ready this autumn and we are always looking to have guest posts on topics that our readers are passionate about. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are keen to contribute.
For now, here’s a recap of this quarter’s posts:
- National Research Council funding priorities miss the point
- What happens when you insufficiently fund basic research
- Federal research institutes should host crowdfunding initiatives
- Re-inventing crowdfunding for academic research
- Democratizing academic research through crowd funding
- To close the gender gap, make other jobs sexy
- Tri-Councils should learn from EMBO fellowships
- Postdoctoral mentors and a regular reality check
- Calling for a unified paper submission style
Dave continued to write for the Signals blog with three entries:
- Dear student: Read the supplementary material
- Political furor drives government funding for clinical trial – who should fund stem cell therapy trials?
- The importance of unequal division in stem cells
Many of our readers supported the idea of a unified journal submission style and we’ll explore the idea of pushing this concept at some higher levels. SB made some excellent points regarding the article on closing the gender gap by encouraging men to leave science – suggesting rather that we build a culture that supports women. Jonathan’s entries on crowdfunding science generated some buzz with concerns about the peer-review process of grant funding.
We hope that everyone is enjoying their summer and look forward to excellent continued discussion in the autumn.
Happy 2013 to our readers!
We’ll start this year with a summary of our autumnal posts capturing the third quarter of activity at our new University Affairs home. Both Jonathan and I have enjoyed the transition and are looking forward to a year packed with good discussion and constructive solutions. We have several guest posts lined up that will be interspersed throughout the year, but also encourage others who feel passionately about particular issues related to education and training of scientists to get in touch at email@example.com.
October-December blog posts:
Guest Post – Banting Award winner
- Funding the academic career: My journey
- The perils to research of the U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’
- The good, the bad and the ugly of gender bias in academic science
- Free journal access for postdocs in between positions
- Inaugural meeting of Canadian Postdoctoral Administrators: will fanfare = results?
- CIHR announces its third set of Science Policy Fellowships
The two most popular posts by far this past autumn were Jonathan’s on gender bias and our guest post on the Banting awards. Much discussion ensued on both. On the former, Lorne challenged Jonathan on whether or not we’d make the same choices if no constraints existed; and on the latter about the Banting awards, the discussion got quite lively, with ideas aplenty and the challenging question of whether or not Canada should have pre-PI awards.
We hope that everyone is feeling refreshed after a good Christmas break and shares our enthusiasm for 2013. We always look forward to hearing from our readers in the comments below and in guest posts.
Dave and Jonathan
This quarter has been a very busy one for both Jonathan and me. Unfortunately from my end, this meant that the scienceadvocacy.org resource site is not yet live. Things are starting to take shape and it should be launched this autumn. We hope this will be an easier-to-navigate resource page that can direct early career researchers and policymakers to the items they need without having to dig around too much or re-invent the wheel. We’ll certainly keep readers posted on its progress.
For now, here’s the quarterly recap for those readers that have been busy too!
Our other activities
Dave published a feature article in BlueSci, Cambridge’s science magazine on the training of scientists, entitled Whose Training is it Anyway?
In response to my comments on the NIH and NAS reports, S_C pitched a question to readers that sadly went untouched. I think we’ll have to follow up on it. It’s an interesting suggestion to create research-focused assistant professors for 5-10 years and evaluate their performance – good ones stay, bad ones go (I see Cambridge doing similar things, Boston too).
One of the most heavily commented and read articles on our site, the discussion that ensued from the article on NSERC restricting postdocs to one fellowship application per lifetime, was very heated. This is one of the poorest decisions that NSERC has ever made and I really think they’ve failed to see the hugely negative impact that it will have on the system – see the CAPS letter in response to this.
Popular posts this quarter
Quick hit: Beth forwarded something interesting to me in a follow up to my slightly controversial critique of the Three Minute Thesis article – Jorge Cham of PhD Comics fame has just launched a two minute thesis video competition to have your thesis illustrated. An interesting idea for sure and something that should aid in the communication of scientific concepts to lay audiences when complete.
Quarterly summary: Transition success
This quarter was a disruptive but productive one as The Black Hole successfully moved from our old site to being hosted by University Affairs – we are very happy with our new home and colleagues and look forward to engaging more people as the momentum for the site builds. Instead of a summer series like So you want to be a…. and Notches in the STIC, we decided this summer to focus on a resource page which we hope to launch in early autumn to help early-career researchers better navigate through the resources that we’ve spoken about in the past. Stay tuned!
- The research bottleneck – flying blind
- Introducing career streams into academic research
- A call to arms
- Show me the money!
- Engaging early – changing direction before graduation
- Career streams in academia: Who foots the bill?
- Reality TV invading university – Thumbs down to the three minute thesis
- Networks – the big kind – and how they drive Canadian science
- Our blog for early career scientists – hello to UA readers!
Our other activities
- Pleasantly surprised at World Stem Cells congress
- Strategies to boost regenerative medicine: Growing an extra layer of skin
- View from the floor 5: Pushing the boundaries with technology
- View from the floor 3: Till & McCulloch Meetings
- SB identified the Action Canada program as a way for people to obtain policy experience.
- Monica challenged Jonathan on the usefulness of looking at grad student statistics, believing the real problem to be the increasing length of postdoctoral terms.
- A lengthy discussion on the increasing number of PhDs being trained was had following Jonathan’s Introducing career streams into academic research post
- I had some strong disagreement to my critique of the Three Minute Thesis competitions – see here and share your views too!
Popular posts this quarter
- Introducing career streams into academic research (2,333)
- Reality TV invading university – Thumbs down to the three minute thesis (1,753)
- Networks – the big kind – and how they drive Canadian science (956)
- Our blog for early career scientists – hello to UA readers! (702)
- The research bottleneck – flying blind (587)