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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Peer support is central to improving PhD student mental health

Editor’s note: We are delighted to have a guest post from Dr. Sarah Masefield (@scmasefield) at the University of York, U.K. Sarah is founder of the Thrive and Survive in your PhD project. She is currently a research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre at the University of York and a registered occupational therapist. Doing a PhD is not supposed to be easy, but alongside the academic challenges, there seems to be a culture…

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Aligning your brand and culture within your team

I appreciate that the concepts of culture and brand will be new to many academic investigators. We rarely tackle these topics in our training, and most of us may not even understand the meaning of these words. In the first two posts of this series we defined what brand and culture are, and why they’re important in science. We also discussed how to identify whether your culture and brand are mismatched: See Part 1 here:  The…

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Will 2021 be the year for improving mental health in academia?

Alongside exposing numerous systemic weaknesses in scientific and medical infrastructure, 2020 has also been guilty of exposing some deep-seated issues in the state of academic mental health. People that regularly operate on the thinnest of margins with respect to time-management have had to overhaul their teaching delivery, take on part-time or full-time caring responsibilities, isolate themselves from their peer support network, and generally push themselves an extra little bit to make 2020 work. Cracks emerged,…

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The benefits of aligning your brand and culture

See Part 1 here:  The purpose of branding in science Who you recruit will ultimately determine how a research program is built and what the team, in its entirety, is able to accomplish. Therefore, how you brand yourself matters a lot. A research program is made up of both tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets include things like equipment, infrastructure and reagents (eg. cell lines, animal strains, software). Intangible assets are non-physical in nature, and…

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Caveat emptor: preprint servers in biomedical science

I need to start this article with a disclaimer – I am a major supporter of open science and data sharing. Our longer term readers will know this from previous articles on PreReview and journal clubs on articles from preprint manuscripts. Our lab is also a participant in the European Research Council’s Open Research Data pilot program where we are committed to making our data and technologies as open as possible and as soon as…

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The purpose of branding in science

“The art of branding is firstly to attract the kind of people you want to work with.” – Jonathan Thon Like it or not, branding and self-promotion are an integral part of science. Our training might focus primarily on how to do science, but that isn’t enough; we also need to promote ourselves and our findings in order to persuade others to fund and collaborate on our research, and to highlight the value of our…

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The purpose of branding in science

“The art of branding is firstly to attract the kind of people you want to work with.” – Jonathan Thon Like it or not, branding and self-promotion are an integral part of science. Our training might focus primarily on how to do science, but that isn’t enough; we also need to promote ourselves and our findings in order to persuade others to fund and collaborate on our research, and to highlight the value of our…

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On lockdown and international travel – I’ve been grounded and learned some lessons

Editor’s note: We are delighted to have a guest post from professor Berthold Göttgens at the University of Cambridge who shares his thoughts on the dramatic change in international travel, felt by academics across the world. I was looking at my calendar today and I was supposed to be in China. Next week, I was meant to be in Japan, then China again, then Paris, and then San Diego before coming home to the U.K.…

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