Monday, December 19, 2011

Announcements from the Public Affairs Committee - Nov 1st 2011

The NIH Invites Comments and Suggestions on Ways to Support Research Funding In Fiscally-Challenging Times
Did you know that the Office of Extramural Research (OER) has a blog? Did you know that they are reviewing how to fund NIH research in these challenging times? Make your voice heard. Give the NIH your opinion on how they should prioritize research funding in the future. Remember, you are a part of that future and you can only have an impact if you participate. Please see the Director of OER’s (Dr. Sally Rockey’s) blog below:

The National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program
Do you have any outstanding student loans from your undergraduate, graduate or medical education and are performing clinically-related research? Are you aware that the deadline for applying for the NIH’s loan repayment program (LRP) is November 15th? Do you want to know the tricks of the trade, regarding the submission of a successful LRP application? We have enclosed links that provide tips when writing the LRP application, as well as a webinar, that goes through helpful information, below:
Written Tips:
Online webinar:

The Postdoc: Transition to Independent Positions
 Are you unsure of what to do, who to talk to, what to say or even where to start when thinking about your future? Then click on the link below, which will take you to the website for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. This website includes information via webinar regarding, 1) Making the right career choice; 2) Finding a good institutional fit; 3) Applying for the position; 4) The job interview and seminar; 5) Negotiating a start-up package; 5) Establishing a lab; 6) Finding a mentor; 7) Networking and collaborations; 8) Applying for and getting a grant; 9) The tenure process; 10) Teaching; 11) Non-academic careers; 12) Balancing research/teaching/family/Other commitments.
Website that includes informational webinars:

Did you know….
            Dr. Nancy E. Schwartz, Associate Dean of Postdoctoral Affairs at The University of Chicago has been appointed by The National Academies to review, “The State of the Post-Doctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers”? The project duration is slated to last for up to 15 months. For more information about the goals of the committee, please see the weblink below.

Post-Doc. Awareness Campaign
Are there issues and/or topics that you feel the post-doc. community should be aware of? If so, 2 seats are still available on the University of Chicago Postdoctoral Association’s Public Affairs Committee. Please email Pragati Nigam, Beth Russell and/or Derek A. Wainwright for more information. Alternatively, email us your thoughts or suggestions and we will try to include them in future informational inserts.  Our email addresses can be found below:
Pragati Nigam (Member):
Beth Russell (Member):
Derek A. Wainwright (Chair):

Announcements from the Public Affairs Committee - Nov 14th 2011

Urge Congress to Reject NIH and NSF Spending Cuts

Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended that the 2012 budgets of the NIH and NSF should be cut by $190 and $162 million, respectfully. However, the House Appropriations Committee has recommended a $1 billion increase for NIH and no funding cuts for NSF. It is critical that you let your members of Congress know that the Senate’s proposals would be devastating to scientific progress. Use the following link below, freely provided by FASEB, to advocate for increased funding levels.

NIH Research Funding Trends, 1995 – 2012

Are you looking towards the future and wonder what the NIH has funded in the past? Now you can explore data that presents the trends in funding from the last 7 years. Click on the link below for more information.

The National Post-Doctoral Association

            Did you know that there is a National Post-Doctoral Association (NPA)? There are currently many initiatives being promoted by the NPA, including a call for international officers, the announcement of new NPA board members and the announcement that Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS, will be the keynote speaker of the 10th annual NPA meeting. All of the links below will take you to these important updates.

Impact your future
Some of the post-docs. that call University of Chicago their home are currently attending the Society of Neuroscience meeting, being hosted in Washington D.C. Aside from the outstanding research that the meeting offers, many student/post-doc.-oriented symposiums are geared towards informing those individuals how best to impact their future. One of the workshops, “Advocating in Congress for Federal Research Funding”, emphasized that the future of biomedical research funding is dependent on us, as post-docs. If we fail to advocate for the basic science- and disease-research areas that we all value so deeply, we not only negatively impact the future of science, but also significantly affect future careers in the biomedical field, including ours. Remember, it won’t matter how well connected you are nor how well your grant is written if funding for the NIH/NSF stagnates/decreases in future years. Please contact your society’s advocacy office to see how you can make a difference and if you don’t belong to a scientific society, JOIN ONE!

Announcements from the Public Affairs Committee - December 5th

These announcements were found in the bulletin on December 5th 2011

Failure to agree by the deficit reduction ‘super committee’ has broad implications for future funding at the NIH
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach a consensus on a long-term cost-cutting package by the November 23, 2011, deadline. Although a direct impact on NIH’s budget in 2012 remains to be determined, the automatic trigger of cutting $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending will likely have an enormous impact on biomedical research during the next 10 years, unless congress acts to protect that programmatic area. We urge you to contact your state senators, congressional representatives and community officials to express the consequences to biomedical research, high quality jobs and to the future careers of countless post-docs., whom will be impacted by this potential action over the short- and long-term.
Please visit the weblink below to understand what the NIH is currently facing, ways it is coping with years of budgetary stagnation and thoughts on potential cuts in the future.

The NIH operates under a continuing resolution
The NIH has announced that due to the lack of a defined budget for 2012, it will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level).

2012 workshop for postdocs. transitioning into independent positions
The NIGMS is currently organizing a program whereby post-docs. that are thinking about-, applying for- or transitioning into independent positions get a special look into how best to go about career planning. Notably, the Director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins will be delivering the keynote address. Furthermore, travel awards of up to $1,250 are available to those that are interested in attending this event. Finally, the time to consider this event is limited. The application deadline is January 6th, 2012. For more information, please see the weblink below.

Tis the season for treats and weight gain
Are you contemplating going on a diet to combat the holiday weight gain? If you are looking to maintain your waistline, simply want to stay healthy or considering how to decrease stress levels, consider a fitness membership at one of our outstanding recreational facilities. The rates listed below are for the combined access to the Ratner Athletics Center and Henry Crown Field House.
Rates for Post-Doctoral Scholars/Fellows = $405/annually or $170/quarter
Rates for Post-Doctoral Medical Residents = $144/annually or $36/quarter
Want to sign up a spouse? Please see the following weblink for additional pricing.