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.
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?
Between you and Evil Reviewer #2: 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.
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.
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 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 - communicate science
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.
In the age of no privacy, finding and expressing your voice through social media has become a critical tool in the process of building one’s individual scientific impact. As social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook scans are becoming an integral part of any interviewing process, managing these platforms properly is make or break. In this panel we aim to: (1) Introduce social media platforms and discuss the ways to increase individual scientific impact through them, and (2) Discuss different social media platforms, their potential contribution towards career building and their interfaces with academia and industry.
In the greater Boston area, there are many postdocs who come from outside of the US. For this population, it is a challenge to get accustomed to a new environment, and settling into a new country creates multiple hurdles to overcome, including language and cultural differences as well as the new system factors, work circumstances, etc. The goal of this panel is to give a broad introduction to the international researchers who are having trouble settling in, in order to help postdocs progress towards meaningfully settling in the US. In this session with 6 experts about this topic, we aim to share some ideas and tips to adapt to new circumstances, and provide helpful resources to thrive as an international postdoc. Also, panelists will share their success stories to use as encouraging case studies.
Postdocs are traditionally trained to develop skills necessary for securing a job as a faculty member in an academic institution. More frequently, and especially in Boston, postdocs transition to industry positions that often lead them to being Industry PIs (i.e group leads, directors, senior investigators), but the pathway to this career can seem unclear. This panel will focus on which abilities and expertise are prioritized for hiring in these roles, how funding and operational structures are organized, and will broadly illustrate day-to-day life and similarities/differences comparing industry with academic research settings.
What is your purpose in life? To become a successful researcher? Or living a happy life with your family? For a young researcher, it is always a challenge to maintain that balance. If you are the kind of a person who seeks to establish the elusive balance between your research and personal pursuits, this panel is for you. This panel aims to share the work-life balance experience of researchers and give attendees the chance to ask questions and advice. The speaker will also suggest ways to manage stress and the panel will discuss what strategies we can all incorporate in our daily lives to achieve a balance.
This session is aimed to help postdocs interested in academia to better prepare themselves to reach their career goal. This session aims to help the audience benchmark their steps towards a faculty position. The topics that will be discussed in this session can be broadly divided into three sections: 1) pre-application preparations such as funding application and scientific communication; 2) challenges during transition period such as shaping ideas for research project for their own lab and maintaining healthy relationship with postdoctoral mentor; and 3) practical considerations involved in setting up an independent lab such as team building and establish collaborations. Our panelists are all fresh hires from prestigious research institutes with broad background and research interest, covering bioengineering, biochemistry, immunology as well as neurobiology. This session is mainly Q & A based. Our panelists will share their perspective and experience regarding questions and concerns raised by moderator and the audience. Ultimately, we hope this session can help our audience achieve a more efficient postdoctoral training.