Science policy

As postdoctoral researchers, we are experts in a particular area of science.  We may engage with the government when it comes time to seek funding and to determine research priorities, but many of us rarely engage with governmental organizations when it comes to communicating about our research expertise or influencing policy decisions.  Though our research may have policy implications, we are often focused on communicating our results with other scientific peers and can be reticent to speak publicly as experts. In this panel, we will hear from scientists, policy-makers, and advocates about what it means to do science policy, how academic and industry scientists can contribute to conversations about policy, and ways for postdocs to develop a career in science policy. 


Building a Team

Successful teams are often managed by leaders who inspire their subordinates to meet deadlines while making sure that their teams enjoy an enthusiastic work environment that allows them to fulfill their career objectives. Achieving this goal requires employing leadership approaches that range from being authoritative when important deadlines are to be met, to, being affiliative when a team is going through a hard time, so that a team can remain productive while not losing their innovative edge. Being able to strike the fine balance between these two extremes is what we will discuss in this panel. While leadership styles can vary significantly based on the need for the hour and a leader’s personal traits, is there any consensus on a universal set of skills that all leaders must have? Is it possible to cultivate these skills and what are some of the approaches towards learning these skills? Lastly, for those who may not want to lead from the front at this very moment, how do you spot a team with a good leader? 


Being an editor

Editors are the first line of screening for our papers, but – before – they were postdocs, too. How do you become an editor? Is it a full time job or something you can do on the side? In this panel, we will gather editors from different journals of the Elsevier and Springer groups at different stages of their careers, as well as scientists that serve as editors, still pursuing active research. In the conversation, we will learn how they became editors and what does actually entails in the day-to-day this type of job.


Chalk talks

Although chalk talks are essential to any academic interview, most prospective professors will receive little to no guidance on how to conduct one.  This panel will feature newly-hired professors and those that have sat on many hiring committees discussing their insider tips for how to prepare and deliver a chalk talk.  Panelists will provide their opinion on essential dos and don'ts, followed by open time for questions from the audience.  


A Day in the Life of Various Industry Scientists

We open the ‘black box industry’, the most common career path for life-science postdocs in the US! About 53% of PhD students in the biological sciences rank research professorship as their desired career path, yet <10% end up as tenured professors. Through our academic career most of us get little or no exposure to industry, especially when working in the fundamental sciences. Thus it is hard to evaluate industry as an ‘alternative’ career path to the traditional pre-set life in academia. Our panelist were all postdocs before their move to industry and will share their experience transitioning to industry, compare their life in academia with that during their industrial career and demystify the job of an industrial scientist.  


Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important to companies and universities looking to stay competitive and recruit more quality talent. Research has shown that more diverse teams do higher-quality, more widely cited scientific research. Supporting diverse teams once they have been built may require changes to workplace culture in order to create a truly inclusive environment. The Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace panel focused on the successes, opportunities, and challenges of building and maintaining diverse teams.  Panelists will discuss individual and institutional approaches to creating inclusive spaces and celebrating diversity in research.   


Beyond the impact factor - Life of a scientific journalist

We all love science and we would like to talk about it or write about it all the time. Some people can. What does it take to become a scientific journalist for a non-scientific magazine/newspaper? What are the challenges when writing about science for a non-scientific audience? In this panel we will gather journalists that curate the science and technology section of magazines and newspapers and science bloggers and we will learn how they ended up doing what they do, as well as the various differences between the different media.