Dear Research Advocate:
Myth #1: Congress doesn’t pay attention during the August recess. Not true! Many town hall meetings are planned. Since the debt ceiling and appropriations negotiations are coming up in September, the August recess is actually a very important time for advocacy. Use this month to drive the point home that medical research should not be subjected to budget cuts by attending a town hall meeting, meeting with district staff and participating in our social media campaign, #curesnotcuts. Click here for sample messages, or draw from a recent op-ed penned by The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America chair. The op-ed ran in several McClatchy-Tribune newspapers across the country last weekend. In it, he highlights the dangers that indiscriminate budget cuts pose to our medical and health research ecosystem.
Myth #2: It makes no difference when scientists speak out. On the contrary, one of the most effective strategies for promoting and protecting research is public engagement by scientists. It may seem like a waste of time or an unjustifiable obligation, but if scientists don’t speak up about their work, the funding that allows that work may evaporate. In a recent entry on his website, David Eagleman, a PhD researcher who recently received an award from the Society for Neuroscience, makes the case that the benefits (such as inspiring critical thinkers, stemming the flow of bad information, informing public policy and more) clearly outweigh the cost of time to engage in outreach and advocacy. For those ready to engage, some important points and valuable tips on how to communicate clearly and effectively were highlighted in yesterday’s Nature blog. Research!America Board member and AAAS CEO Alan Leshner is among the experts quoted. Continue reading →
NIH Career Symposium educates young scientists on range of career opportunities and burgeoning responsibilities of scientists
Now, more than ever, young scientists are grappling with important career decisions. For newly minted PhDs, there are fewer and fewer academic faculty positions available. These coveted “tenure track” positions have been the “typical” career path for research scientists in a variety of biomedical fields. Yet in an environment with flat funded research budgets combined with sequestration, a decade of cuts, more scientists are pursuing ‘alternative’ careers.
This desire to learn about the diversity of career options for scientists prompted nearly 1,400 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other scientists-in-training to register for the recent Career Symposium hosted by the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) at the National Institutes of Health on May 14. This was the 6th such symposium and it featured sessions on not only the traditional academic track—still a popular career path—but also industry, policy, communications, education and research career options for medical doctors as well. The event also included rapid “skills blitz” sessions on topics like the basics of job searches, resumes and interviewing skills. Continue reading →
Some group shots from yesterday’s events: