Taking Control of Your Scientific Career: Building Towards Independence and Beyond… Biotechnology Pharmaceutical research Science Journalism Technical Writing Research Administration Technology Transfer Patent Law Investment Analysis Management Consulting Federal Science Policy
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Federal Science Policy
Secondary School Teaching
Community College Teaching
EntrepreneurshipAcknowledge Multiple Career Options
Opens new directions for future studies
Builds upon experience
Source of enjoyment
A highly motivated, self-directed, high integrity individual passionate about biomedical research.
This individual requires very little sleep, is willing to work long hours to complete complex experiments, and is willing to accept limited pay while in training.
Willing to work with others to achieve
research objectives (teamwork essential) and
communicate results in both written and
Can climb tall buildings in a single leap.
(Highly motivated but clueless!)
What interests you the most?
What do you want out of your career?
Where do you want to be?
-What kind of institution do you want to work in?
What kind of job do you want to have
(how much ambition?)
When do I start? NOW!
Honest and Fair
-Not willing to accept current limitations
-Willing to persevere to reach goals
-demand excellence of yourself and others
-VERY strong backbone and VERY thick-skinned
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” Calvin Coolidge
-Values team work
-Works well with others
-Willing (Happy!) to share credit
-Communicates the results of research in a scholarly and professional manner
-Equally good at writing and talking
-can be concise and simple in communication
Calculated Risk Taker
- Willing to try to leap tall buildings
with the correct equipment and rehearsals
-Willing to listen to advice!
-Willing to seize opportunities
If not, academic Science will be hard for you
Responsibility to yourself, your family and your scientific community to plan your journey
Spiderman (and others)
You’ve been hired to produce a new TV series..
The Apprentice: New PI! (Reality Television meets Scientific Career Survival)
As the producer, what new knowledge and expertisewould be helpful to ensure a successful transitionfrom trainee to independent investigator?
What skills are needed for a career in science
and what challenges might help provide experience
It is important to develop a wide range of individuals to assist you with finding resources, information and serve as trusted colleagues
Create a plan for
You/your team to network
with senior colleagues
(local committees, conferences, professional societies, the web)#1 Networking
Good mentoring can be the single difference between success and failure
Identify and develop a plan for you to be mentored in your institution and outside of your current institution#2: Mentoring
Mentors can be the key to your career success
seasoned advice (career/science decisions)
confidence (emotional support)
networking (career opportunities)
-BUT THEY CAN’T GIVE YOU ESSENTIAL SOCIAL OR INTELLECTUAL SKILLS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE
Advisers: people with career experience willing to share their knowledge
Supporters: people who give emotional and moral encouragement and teach you emotional intelligence
Tutors: people who teach, and give specific feedback on one’s performance
Masters: trainers of apprentices - setting the bar for problem solving
Sponsors: sources of info and aid about development opportunities
Models: setting the bar for identity, of the kind of person one would like to be as an academic scientist
There are some very special challenges for certain students/PDFs and some student/PDF – adviser pairings. We all need to note, keep an eye on others, and take some responsibility here!
Research is not complete until published in a peer-reviewed journal. High quality papers help to establish one as an “expert” in a scientific field
Find papers you really like, and papers you really, really don’t.
- learn what makes a good paper flow
- learn the process to publish high impact
- high/low impact - what is the difference?
- are you willing to take the risk to aim high?#3 Peer-reviewed Publications
Research can not be performed without money. Money relies on successful peer review. Selling your story is critical! Grant writing is cathartic, inspiring and painful
(BUT NOT AS PAINFUL AS WHAT COMES NEXT!)
You/your team will develop a hypothesis and a series of specific aims for a pilot research award proposal
How do you formulate a research question?
• How do you articulate your research problem?
• How do you approach a literature review?
• How do you use your literature review to build the structure of your argument?#4 Peer-reviewed Grants
- Hit the web (lots of sites to help; templates, advice from agencies)
- Closely examine grant applications from successful grantees
- Have experienced grantees (reviewers) critique your application
- Be willing to change yourself, your projects, your career.
“I don’t understand why the applicant is proposing a new proteomic approach to identify novel secreted factors that stimulate this extent of regeneration, when they could simply assay all the known trophic factors”
“This proposal could generate data that would provide a breakthrough in the field. Then again, the data could be uninterpretable”
“The approaches are innovative and build on previous expertise this lab has applied to other questions; this is both a strength and a weakness.”
“This grant is clearly written, highly innovative and has the potential to have a high impact on the field of CNS regeneration, if I only believed the cells they are working with are actually olfactory ensheathing cells”
2006:”Dr. Roskams is an outstanding investigator recognized internationally for her work in the developing nervous system, especially her studies of the cellular interactions that regulate the cell dynamics so critical for producing and maintaining a functional olfactory epithelium. She has a passion for this area of research necessary to drive the conceptual innovation and ground-breaking approaches exemplified in this proposal. Only a few other investigators around the world are studying in-depth aspects of the same questions posed here and none match the qualifications of Dr. Roskams for pursuing these questions.”
Execution of research projects requires planning for human resources (people hiring and management), time management (juggling, prioritizing) and fiscal responsibility (book-keeping)
You/Your team must manage a budget of $200,000 and complete a research project, including hiring and training of laboratory personnel in a 3-year time frame#5 Manage Resources
Collaboration and teams of investigators from multiple disciplines is required for many advances in biomedical research
The contacts you make now you will carry with you. Talk to others in your lab/adjacent labs to learn new areas or techniques.
- The interface between disciplines is the future of scientific research#6 Team Work
to help you learn
how to manage a
- “At the Helm” (CSHL)
- CIHR New PI Workshops
Leading a research program requires vision and skills to engage others in your passion for biomedical research
Take a leadership position in your home institution to improve communication of scientific research or collaboration in your community
(how comfortable are you doing this?)#7 Leadership
LEADERSHIP: My team is in place; how do I maintain my perfect little lab world?
Get OUT THERE! You are the role model and motivator
-assess individual needs and adjust your supervision accordingly
This is YOUR LAB: You must provide a philosophical and practical framework
for the lab to grow into. Decide what type of lab culture you want (format for lab notebooks? Flexible hours? Music?)
Communication is key: have group meetings, no matter how painful.
Demonstrate by example that honesty, integrity, courtesy and professionalism
are part of your lab philosophy
Learn from watching: how do other successful scientists manage their labs,
their lives, negotiate jobs, the tenure-and-promotion process? ASK THEM!!!!
Be a good colleague: cultivate scientific collaborations and relationships (networking again!)
Multiple career options are available for today’s biomedical investigator
-Try other careers on for size (mentally)
- Research what each entails (network! Use your mentors!)
- Make a list of what you do or don’t want in the future. What best fits?
- Work on planning your career moves to achieve that, whilst keeping options open#8 OtherCareer Options
to prepare for the future
Career success requires many professional skills that are beyond the bench and/or bedside techniques
Your must develop a list of interpersonal skills required for success (see earlier!) and find how to receive training to improve your confidence with these skills
(choice of graduate/PDF lab, Dept of your first position)#9 Professional Development
Life success requires dedication, sacrifice, compromise and planning ahead (and a partner willing to understand your career demands and work with you)
- prioritize what you want the most and when
work with your partner to plan careers ahead
Children? When? Where? How?
Balance (hobbies!) in the face of single-minded career dedication (single being the operative term)#10 Personal Development
IF you want to excel, you can’t have it all! (Sorry! The Rolling Stones were right…..)
The same characteristics that make you successful in business make you successful in science!
ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH GREATNESS!
There are always graceful ways out (without giving up)
The good news is, we are superb multi-taskers, intuitive, collaborative, and usually non-threatening to alpha males (who usually like to collaborate with us)
What is your Plan B?
Publications: At least two first authorships in high impact journals (Cell Press, Nature group) as PDF (16 authors don’t count!)
(Has this person learned how to aim high and achieve it?)
Grants: Evidence of Independent funding and awards
(competitiveness, track record, ability to attract external funds -> will be around for a while and not be a liability)
Letters: VERY Important. Address all characteristics covered earlier
(Does this person have what it takes? Team player? Would I trust them? Would I want them to be my colleague/collaborator?)
Research Plan: What I plan on researching for the next 5-10 yrs
(Can they articulate their research plan or did their previous advisor write their fellowship? Do their future interests compliment ours? Are they thinking outside the box? Are they doing the same thing as their advisor/previous graduates of that lab? Can we learn from them? What will/can they teach?)
-Core support (Admin?)
-Core support (equipment)
What is Fair?
-What do you reasonably need?
(network/mentors will help)
-Approach Sr colleagues and ask!
-Talk with recent hires and ask!
-Don’t believe everything you’re told by chairs or Deans!
- Don’t ask for more than you reasonably need to get going!
Then, make friends in your new world as fast as you can!!!
Your role in charting your training/career is HUGE!
IT TAKES A VILLAGE!
HHMIpublications:(http://www.hhmi.org/resources/scientists.html) including: Making the Right Moves
CSHL Manuals: At the Helm (for you!), At the Bench (for new lab people)
National Academy of Sciences publications: (http://lab.nap.edu/) including:
Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering
Careers in Science and Engineering:A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond
On Being a Scientist:Responsible Conduct in Research, Second Edition
Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
People Who Shared Slides with Me: Brenda Andrews, Gabrielle Boullianne (U of T), Joan Lakoski (VP Academic, U. Pitt), CSHL Press.
People Who believe(d) in Me: My support Network - FAMILY (Phil Hieter) and kids (Breeshey and Dylan); Science FRIENDS - Margarete Heck (Univ of Edinburgh), Marie Filbin (NYU), Mary Lucero (U. Utah), Freda Miller (Univ of Toronto), Maria Klawe (ex-UBC, now Harvey Mudd President), Lynn Raymond (UBC), Diane Snow (U. Kentucky), Linda Barlow (U. Colorado)
People Who have Inspired (Mentored) Me: Mary Bunge (Miami), Michael Smith (formerly UBC), Rick Huganir and David Linden (JHU), David Danner (NIH), Shirley Tighlman (Princeton), Wolf Tetzlaff, Vanessa Auld, Linda Matsuuchi, Tim O’Connor, Phil Hieter, Bill Milsom (UBC), Jerry Silver (Case Western), Charlie Greer (Yale), Indira Samarakasera (formerly UBC)
People Who Collaborate(d) with Me: Don Nicholson (Merck), Wolf Tetzlaff, Os Steward (UC Irvine), Mark Tuszynski (UCSD), Marie Filbin, Gord Fishell (NYU), Jane Johnson (U. Texas), Nat Heintz and Todd Anthony (Rockefeller),Mary Lucero (Utah), Frank Margolis (U. Maryland), etc…..
(and also inspire me)