‘Manager of the miscellaneous:’ why you need a business administration partner

Editor’s note: We are delighted to have a guest series from Lynn Walder, a 20-plus year career executive administrator (with more than 10of those years focused on biotech), and a passionate advocate of executive-level business administration function. In this article, Lynn discusses the evolution of the admin role and, in her next guest article, will focus on how organizations can better integrate them into their operations. In my experience, the challenges a chief executive officer…

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Trust is the key to being more productive — and academics stink at it

Maybe it’s the way we’ve been trained – assess, criticize, look for the gaps, and definitely do not just believe what it says on the tin. Whatever the reasons, the further I go in my career, the more I realize that I need to rely on other people to get jobs done. Alongside this, I have observed that people in senior positions have either built a network they trust, or they are run completely ragged trying…

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The skillsets academic scientists need to start a new company

Earlier this year I participated as an invited lecturer at a workshop on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership organized by the International Mentoring Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education (IMFAHE).  While  the session was very well received, the discussion that ensued was particularly insightful and warrants exploring. (My session was titled “Test Your Idea. Take your idea into a project, a prototype, and a company.” It is one of a number of online courses offered…

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The skillsets academic scientists need to start a new company

Earlier this year I participated as an invited lecturer at a workshop on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership organized by the International Mentoring Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education (IMFAHE).  While  the session was very well received, the discussion that ensued was particularly insightful and warrants exploring. (My session was titled “Test Your Idea. Take your idea into a project, a prototype, and a company.” It is one of a number of online courses offered…

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The role of intuition and luck when starting a company

Last month, I was an invited lecturer in a workshop on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership held by the International Mentoring Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education (IMFAHE). While this session was very well received, the discussion that ensued was particularly insightful and warrants exploring. The first of these posts can be found here: The importance of having a multidisciplinary team I have paraphrased questions raised in the post-workshop discussion for succinctness and clarity and…

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A call for widespread adoption of universal MTAs

When academics share things (e.g. tools, reagents) with each other, it is rarely because they want to get rich. This is because the vast majority what is shared cannot be commercialized and secondly, even if they could be, they would not make much money anyway. However, the current process to approve material transfer agreements treats every single request as a billion-dollar opportunity. I am sure we all have a story of an academic who didn’t…

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The benefits of hiring an executive coach

I would like to pick up on something David Kent noted in his post last week highlighting gaps in early career training:  “Nobody is born knowing everything.”  It is worth emphasizing that this is generally true for management and leadership skills, and especially true for professional functions such as principal investigator, director, or executive officer, for which most of us receive no formal training. While the metrics by which we gauge a manager’s success in these…

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What I wish I knew sooner: highlighting gaps in early career researcher training

Nobody is born knowing everything, although sometimes it can feel that the current academic system selects for people who behave like they do. Academic researchers learn an enormous amount from their peers and mentors along the way and, as you can probably imagine, the access points to such learning are highly variable from person to person. Depending on the career you want to enter, when you learn certain things can also be instrumental in propelling…

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What I wish I knew sooner: highlighting gaps in early career researcher training

Nobody is born knowing everything, although sometimes it can feel that the current academic system selects for people who behave like they do. Academic researchers learn an enormous amount from their peers and mentors along the way and, as you can probably imagine, the access points to such learning are highly variable from person to person. Depending on the career you want to enter, when you learn certain things can also be instrumental in propelling…

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The importance of having a multidisciplinary team

During the first week of February, I was an invited lecturer for the International Mentoring Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education (IMFAHE)’s workshop on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. The IMFAHE is a non-profit and apolitical association, created for and by international professionals affiliated to top institutions in the world. It promotes excellence and career development through mentorship, webinars, workshops, and international fellowships, bridging the gap between talent and opportunity. My session was titled ‘Test…

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