Monday, January 30, 2012

Announcements from the Public Affairs Committee - January 30th 2012

The NIH lacks diversity

The NIH has recently assembled a task force to deal with what they view as a problem with a lack of diversity amongst NIH-funded trainees and scientists. The task force has been given the directive to focus on five key transition points in the pipeline: (i) entry into graduate degree programs; (ii) the transition from graduate degree to post-doctoral fellowship; (iii) the appointment from a post-doctoral position to the first independent scientific position; (iv) the award of the first independent research grant from NIH or equivalent in industry; and (v) award of tenure in an academic position or equivalent in an industrial setting. To read more about this project, please see below:

NIH Diversity Taskforce:

The future of the biomedical workforce

The NIH has recently compiled the combined input for a request from both the extramural and intramural communities on what the NIH should consider with regard to the future of the biomedical workforce. It contains a comprehensive set of data and is a must read for post-docs. considering a research career that depends on NIH support. Please see below for the full report.

Future of Biomed. Workforce:

Youtube used to report scientific misconduct

In an interesting twist on how to report ethical violations of scientific research and/or reporting, an anonymous whistleblower uses the website portal, YouTube, to report alleged wrongdoings by high profile researchers. To read more about this stunning revelation of combing social media with scientific research, please see the below link.

YouTube and misconduct:

Cell biology for post-docs.

Continuing with our new tradition of highlighting professional science societies that aide post-docs. in the all-so-critical transition from peon to professional, today we focus on The American Society for Cell Biology. This society provides career resources, meeting resources, as well as an actual committee made up to specifically help post-docs. This is all in addition to the many monetary and distinguished awards the society provides. To read more about being a post-doc. in this society, please see below.

Cell bio. for post-docs:

Support your post-doc. peers!

Our final note to the post-doctoral community focuses on supporting one another. Our very own Vice President of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division Post-Doctoral Association is starring in local theatre. Show your support and kick back and enjoy the show, Bittersweet Love, playing February 10, 11 and 12 at The Experimental Station in Hyde Park. For more information, please see the link below.

Bittersweet Love:

Monday, January 16, 2012

From the Public Affairs Committee - January 16th 2012

Post-Docs get the chance to submit R01 applications at Stanford
In the competitive academic environment in which post-docs. are competing for faculty positions, the National Institutes of Health has tried to engineer strategies that give some advantage to post-docs. in the form of career development awards. These awards range from the F32, K01, K08, K12, K99, etc. and include various stipend levels and associated research budgets, depending on institute applied to, degree, and background. However, post-doc. success rates in these awards have been decreasing over the past several years. To circumvent this challenge, the Stanford University is beta-testing a program whereby post-docs. submit and compete for an R01, to reduce the overall time to research independence. You can read more about this trial program below and submit your thoughts on our UoCPDA blog website.
Post-Doc. R01 Trial:

2011 success rates, applications and investigators
One of the great things about being a post-doc. at UoC is that many career routes are available. One of the most obvious paths is the academic biomedical research career. In today’s standards, NIH funding is essential to that career progression. Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH’s deputy director of extramural research, has recently posted on her blog that overall success rates fell between 2010 and 2011. To understand which awards had the lowest and highest success rates, please visit the NIH’s data book for 2011, below. In contrast, you can visit Dr. Rockey’s ‘Rock Talk’ blog to learn more about specific areas that she highlighted in her comments about the new 2011 data.
NIH Data Book:
Rock Talk Blog:

Bill introduced to limit NIH’s open-access policy
Republican Representative Darrell Issa introduced HR.3699, also known as the ‘Research Works Act’. This bill intends to reverse the 4-year old process that NIH implemented to make sure that biomedical researcher’s work can be read by anyone, for free, after inclusion in the PubMed Central Database. A link to the formal language of the bill, as well as an op-ed. piece opposing the legislation, published in The New York Times, can be found below.
Research Works Act:
New York Times Rebuttal:
Ending on a Good Note
With an almost completely stagnant budget at the NIH, not all of the news coming from the NIH has been great for post-docs. However, there is careful optimism on the horizon. Rumor has it that post-docs. will get an 2% salary increase in the year, 2012, based on a post at The National Post-Doc. Association’s website. Check back soon for confirmation of the great news!
NRSA Salary Increase in 2012:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Announcements from the Public Affairs Committee - January 9th 2012

NIH slated for a small budget increase in 2012
Progress on budget details that affect the NIH and thus, post-docs., have been potentially smoothed out for the 2012 budget. A compromise between democrats and republicans has produced a tentative deal that would provide a $239 million dollar increase in the budget, which results in an overall 0.8% increase in appropriations. For more details, please see the weblink below:

University of Chicago ranks at the top for post-doctoral NIH support
The Public Affairs Committee has compiled data from the NIH showing the total amount of research post-doctoral funding at all major Chicago-based research institutions (Figure 1), the percentage of funds for each post-doctoral funding mechanism contributing to the overall total at The University of Chicago (Figure 2) and the absolute number of awards per each post-doctoral mechanism at The University of Chicago (Figure 3). Note: these figures are based on independent post-doctoral awards (i.e. F32, K08, K99, etc.) and do not reflect training grants and non-NIH support.

Figure 1. Figure 2.
      Figure 1.                                                                      Figure 2.                                                                      Figure 3.                             

Highlighting post-doc. friendly scientific societies and organizations
Each month, the Public Affairs Committee will highlight an organization that commits strong support to their post-doctoral membership with regard to mentorship, grants, competitive awards or friendly atmosphere. This month, we are highlighting the American Association of Anatomists (AAA). The AAA was chosen as the inaugural pick, due to their unprecedented support for post-docs. The AAA provides $20,000 in grant support to post-docs. Irrespective of the field of study, career development mentors, competitive awards of up to $500 for platform sessions and poster presentations at the annual Experimental Biology meeting, as well as guaranteed travel awards of $350 to any post-doc. member that attends the annual Experimental Biology meeting. In addition, the association hosts wine/beer/soda/appetizer mixers at the Experimental Biology conference to promote networking and collaboration amongst their members. To learn more about membership to this organization and the opportunities for post-docs., please see the link below:
AAA for Post-Docs.: