Spectrum Launch: Slack time, job searches, pandemic mentoring | Spectrum
Hello and welcome to the first issue of Spectrum Launch, a newsletter on how to navigate the uncharted waters of autism research in the early stages of your career.
The aim of this newsletter is to provide guidance and resources to young autism researchers entering graduate school, completing a dissertation, pursuing an academic job, or starting a research group. We plan to interview people who have overcome professional challenges and point out bumps on the path of “academic careers”. We also want to provide practical information on essential tools, techniques and learning opportunities.
Because one of the most important resources for young scientists is the community, we want to make this a place where we can develop it too. So: Do you have burning questions for fellow researchers, things you wanted to know to get started, or suggestions on how to make this newsletter as useful as possible? Send them to email@example.com.
One of the big milestones in a research career is the establishment of a laboratory. But life as a new Principal Investigator (PI) can be challenging – and lonely.
“You suddenly have to figure out how to manage budgets, hire people, do research, delegate things to others, and navigate university bureaucracy,” said Chiara Manzini, associate professor of neuroscience and cell biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who started her own laboratory nearly 10 years ago.
Enter the new PI Slack group. The community – founded in 2016 by cell biologist Prachee Avasthi, now an Associate Professor at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire – is open to researchers from all disciplines who have recently set up their own laboratory.
Prospective PIs can use various “channels” to obtain advice on a variety of topics, including applying for scholarships, dealing with personnel conflicts and managing childcare. Some channels focus on specific geographic regions or research areas. There is no dedicated channel for autism research, says Manzini, but she found support in the “Neuroscience” channel.
Since the members agree to keep conversations confidential (“What is discussed in the Slack stays in the Slack” is one of the group’s mottos), new PIs feel comfortable asking questions that they might not otherwise ask, says Manzini.
The group also celebrates the achievements of the other members, such as B. successful applications for funding and even leaving the ‘Mid-Career PI Slack’ community. (For postdocs there is also the option “Future PI Slack”.)
In April, Alexander Chubykin, who is studying Circuit Plasticity and Visual Awareness at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, was appointed permanent and promoted to associate professor – meaning he is no longer eligible for the New PI Slack group comes.
Such announcements would typically be greeted with “hundreds of crying faces” when people say goodbye, says Manzini, who like Chubykin has since moved up to the mid-career group.
Chubykin says he got a lot of support from his department at the beginning, but the New PI Slack group provided a way to connect with colleagues who were often up to date with the latest techniques and requirements in his particular area of study.
“It’s helpful to know that other people are going through the same challenges,” says Chubykin.
Jobs and funds:
- If you are interested in learning more about money and funding in science, this Twitter thread is a helpful guide.
- The Autism Science Foundation, which offers multiple funding opportunities to autism researchers, has a new scholarship for students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to gain research experience through full-time work in a laboratory. The deadline for this and other awards from the Autism Science Foundation is December 7th.
- The Psych Job Search website offers a range of job vacancies – from postdoc positions to tenure track positions. Noah Sasson shared this page on Twitter, along with a tip that those looking for a postdoctoral position should also try to reach out to PIs in their area. “Fortune favors the brave … and the wealthy,” he said.
Also, my general advice: Contact PIs in your area to see if they have any vacancies. Fortune favors the brave … and the wealthy.
– Noah Sasson (@Noahsasson) August 18, 2021
- The International Society for Autism Research released a special edition of its Student and Internship Committee newsletter earlier this month with advice from experts in the field.
- Application for a high school? This Twitter thread has some tips on how to improve your application and be successful from day one.
- Both young scientists and young scientists can find guidance in this overview of the relationship between doctoral students and supervisors.
- The pandemic can have long-term effects on academic mentoring – some negative, but many positive. Researchers discuss these changes in Nature’s Working Scientist podcast series
- Researchers entering the tenure track job market must prepare a “chalk lecture”. But what does that mean anyway? Leslie Vosshall, Professor of Neurogenetics at Rockefeller University in New York City, has some tips:
It is the season of the biomedical academic search with tenure track and “chalk talks” are just around the corner. Chalk talks are not something we “teach” our trainees and most postdocs are therefore not prepared for them.
Here are my Chalk Talk Pro tips: https://t.co/nueGEsD3V7
– Leslie Vosshall PhD (@leslievosshall) October 26, 2021
- And this paper delves into some of the myths and facts behind the mysterious process of getting a faculty position in neuroscience.
- However, if you’re like this writer, serving on a recruiting committee can change your mind about wanting to become a professor.
- Researchers who contribute to a study at the beginning of their career can end up being “ghost authors” in the thesis. Read an author’s plea for senior scientists to honor early career researchers for their work.
- Finally, in a multi-part feature for Nature, reporters covered the years in the lives of two British researchers trying to get their laboratories up and running – and all their ups and downs – up and running.
Quote this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/LCZE5695