What are the (personal) odds?

Many people publish a Shadow CV of sorts, including Jeremy Fox at Dynamic Ecology and Manu Saunders at Ecology is not a dirty word. Jacquelyn Gill at Contemplative Mammoth advocates for the idea but hasn't published one yet - tsk tsk! Personally, I really liked the post by Jeremy Yoder about time to tenure track.The Shadow CV is supposed to illustrate that life isn't all peaches and cream. It serves as a reminder that for…

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Is my wagon broken? – Talk about academic mental health

Over the years I have seen a number of friends/colleagues suffer through tough times, uncertainty and poor mental health.We all know that mental health is an important topic yet it so often goes unspoken or ignored. There is this ridiculous stigma that the speaker will appear ‘weak’ or ‘unbalanced’, or perhaps even seen as a ‘whiner’ who should just ‘deal with it’. There is also the problem that it often makes listeners feel uncomfortable –…

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What to expect when applying for academic jobs: selection panels versus endurance tests

This is not a blog that tells you how to do well in an interview. Those can be found in many other places (e.g. here and here). Rather, this blog is for highlighting differences in procedures and expectations between regions/countries that you may end up interviewing for. For example, do you do a one hour interview with four people or a three-day interview with an entire department? (Plus, Manu Saunders over at Ecology Is Not…

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Is a European PhD comparable to a North American one?

It’s a common question. A REALLY common question!Many countries throughout Europe and the Southern Hemisphere (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore) have 3-year PhD programmes (or programs for the US spellers). Meanwhile North Americans typically opt for 5+ years. Why is there such a difference, and is one system better than the other?https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/3503/is-it-true-that-it-is-easier-to-obtain-a-phd-in-europe-than-the-us-on-averageThe irony of it allObviously, European countries were producing PhD degrees before North America but, back in the 19th century, those…

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PART III – Thoughts on grant review and making it better

By Jasmine Janes, Manu Saunders and Sean TomlinsonLast month we posted a two-part blog post about the peer review of grants. In part onewe asked if peer review was ‘fair’ and if it could be made better for ECRs. In part two we highlighted and discussed some of the ways that people have suggested improving the grant review process. Finally, we asked you - the greater research community - what your experiences, thoughts and feelings…

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Questions asked in the ‘making grant review process better’ survey

In case you missed it, or in case you forgot, here is a list of the questions that we asked regarding the grant application review process.Q1 - what is your career stage?graduate studentpostdocnon-tenured (contract or non-tenured)tenuredQ2 - which funding bodies have you applied to?ARCNERCNSERCNSFgovernment/industrysociety/charityQ3 - do you feel the grant review system is fair?YesNoUnsureQ4 - have you acted as a reviewer for any of the following?ARCNERCNSERCNSFgovernment/industrysociety/charityQ5 - if you received feedback from a funding body, was…

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PART II – Peer Review of Grants: Can the grant peer review experience be improved?

By Dr Jasmine Janes, Dr Manu Saunders & Dr Sean TomlinsonContribute to making it better - take this 5 min, anonymous surveyYesterday we asked if peer review in funding circles was biased, particularly against ECRs (early career researchers).  Today we offer some suggestions for improving the grant peer review experience.So, can the grant peer review experience be improved?Yes!! Below are a few aspects of the grant system that we feel can reduce stress and increase…

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PART I – Peer Review of Grants: Can we make it better for ECRs?

By Dr Jasmine Janes, Dr Manu Saunders & Dr Sean TomlinsonThe current system of peer reviewing grant proposals is recent, relative to editorial peer review. It started informally in the USA around the 1950s, apparently within Defence-related research offices, and quickly spread to the major government funding bodies. Today, peer review of grants is commonplace, because it can assist in justifying government spending on research and vet ideas before expert peers.But how fair is the…

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The Lonesome Postdoc – Part VI: Is working remotely really that great?

As a postdoc/grad student/ECR, have you ever wished that you could work from home on a regular basis? You have probably done this a few times, or perhaps you do it a couple of days a week. Do you find you get more done? It seems great, right? Many non-academic businesses are openly embracing the work-from-home or work-remotely ideology because with today’s technology it is often pretty easy to do so. There’s teleconferencing, VPN connections,…

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The Lonesome Postdoc – Part V: The importance of friends

It was back to the usual ‘new move’ routine – try to make friends, try to find collaborators, try to find funding sources, try to understand the system. It was hard coming back. Things had changed. I had changed. Going overseas and learning how other systems work leads you to make comparisons, identifying aspects that you feel are better or worse, and hoping to make changes based on these observations. Below are some of the…

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