The Full Scoop (aka, TL;DNR):
I'm incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to participate in a series of meetings right now in Auckland, New Zealand. First up was the Science & Diplomacy Symposium on August 27th, and the Global Science Advice to Governments meeting August 28-29. These two meetings together explore the role of science in shaping public policy, and responding to needs in the public arena, from practical observations on how scientists can better contribute to making the world a better place, to the role of scientists from situations of crisis to conflicting ideology. I'll be live-Tweeting updates from the conference under the hashtag #SciAdvice14.
I'm in Auckland at the invitation of the International Council for Science (ICSU) thanks to the generous support of the German Research Foundation (DFG) to chair a panel on issues for early-career scientists at their General Assembly meeting, which is held once every three years (this year runs from Sunday night, August 31, through Wednesday, September 3). ICSU is a non-governmental organization with the mission to "strengthen international science for the benefit of society" through promoting international research collaboration, science for policy, and making science more open, equitable, and ethical throughout the world. Its members consist of over 120 national scientific academies of distinguished scholars elected to provide scientific advice and service to their countries (including the National Academy of Sciences in the US, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who award most of the Nobel Prizes). Other members include international scientific unions, which focus on promoting scientific subject areas (like the International Union of Biological Sciences). The 2014 ICSU General Assembly will include discussion of the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Goals, intergovernmental assessments like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the new international research initiative Future Earth.
The Early Career Panel will include a diverse group of researchers on Wednesday, September 3 (see participants below). We have 45 minutes to discuss issues facing early-career scientists across disciplines, institutions, and countries, and start the conversation about some of our proposed solutions. Among other issues, we'll be discussing challenges in research funding, mentorship, citation metrics as a means of evaluation, and linking research and teaching.
We're collecting more ideas for issues to raise in this forum using the hashtag #EarlyCareerSci on Twitter, and we'd love your input (let's say by 05:00 GMT on Tuesday, September 2nd, as we're a day ahead of Europe and North America here in New Zealand!).
Thanks for your input, and stay tuned for updates from the ICSU General Assembly under the #ICSUGA hashtag on Twitter.
My colleagues on the panel include:
1. Fola Babalola, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa at the University of Pretoria. Fola works on forest socio-economics.
2. Yvonne Grunder is a Royal Society Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at Liverpool University, where she works on understanding atomic-scale structure and reactions.
3. Christine Jasoni, a senior lecturer in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Christine works on how challenges in the womb can affect lifelong disease risk.
4. Wilma Waterlander, a research fellow at the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Wilma works on food policies to promote healthier eating and greater environmental sustainability.
5. Jianzhong Xu, a visiting scholar at the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California-Davis. Jianzhong works on chemical analyses from fog to Himalayan glaciers.
9/2/2014 02:11:53 am
I work with many early career scientists through the Science Network at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Most of these students or recent graduates are interested in getting more involved at the intersection of science and policy, and there are several themes I've heard while talking with them. Most importantly, there are not many academic programs or postdoctoral fellowships that have an interdisciplinary approach combining science/research, policy, and communications that prepare early career scientists for work in science policy. Tied to this, there are few resources out there for early career scientists to learn about the career opportunities related to policy, even though we can all recognize that scientists and their research do have a role to play in an informed decision making process. To address this, academic programs could incorporate more interdisciplinary work in their courses to prepare early career scientists for nonacademic careers, such as those in science and policy, where their expertise is sorely needed.
9/18/2014 11:50:36 pm
Hi Melissa, thanks so much for this thoughtful comment. I'm working on a Wikipedia page compiling info on programs that provide exactly these opportunities. I'll post the link when it's workable and it would be great to have your input! Many thanks, Kim
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