How are mid-career scientists’ research efforts affected when they take on administrative and leadership positions? What is their advice about navigating workplace politics? And do their employers treat them better, or worse, than their junior colleagues?
These are just some of the questions early-career researchers wanted mid-career colleagues to answer in the penultimate episode of Muddle of the Middle, a Working Scientist podcast about the mid-career stage in science.
Julie Gould also asks her five interviewees what they’d tell their younger selves about this often-neglected career stage. Their answers range from finding out more about team-building and conflict management, not to stress about being disagreed with, remembering to be generous and having fun along the way.
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Weitere Episoden von „Working Scientist“
Why empathy is a key quality in science leadership
20:00How do you learn leadership skills as a researcher, and how well is science served by its current crop of leaders?These are just two of the questions asked of scientific leaders from a range of sectors and backgrounds in this five-part Working Scientist podcast series, all about leadership.In this episode, Hagen Zimer tells Julie Gould about the qualities and skills you need to be a science leader in industry and how he approaches his role as managing director of TRUMPF Laser, a global company based in Schramberg, Germany, that manufactures lasers and laser-processing machine tools.Zimer says that effective leaders are good listeners who display high levels of empathy, so that they can understand individual colleagues’ fears and concerns. They also need to be authentic, he adds. If not, teams will not believe what they are being told.Zimer says that early-career researchers with leadership ambitions should ask themselves whether they see themselves taking the lead role in a play. “If you are in the leading position, you cannot hide any more. You are at some point also alone.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Mastering the art of saying no should be part of a research leader’s toolkit
19:17How do you learn leadership skills as a researcher, and how well is science served by its current crop of leaders?These are just two of the questions asked of scientific leaders from a range of different sectors and backgrounds in this five-part Working Scientist podcast series all about leadership.In this episode, Spanish neuroscience and mental health researcher Gemma Modinos talks about her own leadership journey as a group leader at King’s College London and former chair of the Young Academy Europe.Modinos compares “command and control” leadership styles with more collaborative approaches and says aspiring science leaders should not neglect leadership training as part of their career development.Learning how to say no effectively and allocating time to meet looming deadlines is another key skill, she tells Julie Gould.But should all early career researchers nurture leadership ambitions? No, says Modinos. “Not everyone has to strive to become a PI, or to be involved in chairing an organization, or being president, or being in boards,” she says. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Leadership in science: how female researchers are breaking up the boys’ club
21:03How do you learn leadership skills as a researcher, and how well is science served by its current crop of leaders?These are just two of the questions asked of scientific leaders from a range of different sectors and backgrounds in this five-part Working Scientist podcast series.In this episode, Charu Kaushic, a research group leader at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, says that leadership is more than just exercising power, competence and confidence, it is also about wanting to do good.Kaushic, who is also scientific director of the Canadian Institute of Infection and Immunity in Ottawa, describes how a better gender balance in science’s senior ranks will lead to a more consensual style of leading teams.She also offers some insights into how she honed her personal leadership style and how she adapts it for her different roles. She also talks about some leadership tasks that she still finds challenging. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Rescinded job offers and quarantine hotels: what lockdown lab moves taught us
24:26Alongside the stresses of adapting to a new country and settling into a new lab, scientists who have made the move abroad since 2020 often face extra barriers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.These include rescinded job offers, postponed start dates, burdensome vaccine paperwork and long and lonely stints in quarantine hotels.Neuroscientist Jen Lewendon tells Adam Levy about her move from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong via Thailand to begin a postdoc at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.“The obvious disparity between the way COVID is being handled in the West and the way COVID is often being handled in Asia makes splitting life between two places very difficult,” she says.Astrophysicist Katie Mack was on an extended visit to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, when the 2020 lockdown took effect, preventing her return North Carolina State University in Raleigh.The experience made her re-assess her career priorities.This is the final episode of a six-part Working Scientist podcast series on moving labs. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Moving labs: a checklist for researchers with disabilities
28:35Kelsey Byers outlines some of the things disabled scientists should look out when they are looking to move labs, both at home and abroad. Byers, an evolutionary chemical ecologist who was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in her 20s and is now a group leader at the John Innes Institute, a plant and microbial research institute in Norwich, UK, also offers advice on how to talk about disability to potential employers.She is joined by Logan Gin, a STEM education researcher at Brown University in Providence. Gin, who has diastrophic dysplasia dwarfism, describes how his research is helping to identify solutions to support students with disabilities.Every institution should be able to support faculty members and scholars with disabilities, adds Siobhán Mattison, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, who has myasthenia gravis.Kim Gerecke, a behavioural neuroscientist at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, talks about the measures she has been able to take to support disabled colleagues at her institution. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
‘The dumbest person in the room:’ moving labs and switching fields
26:09After completing a PhD in cancer biology at the University of Chicago, Illinois, in 2017, Tim Fessenden moved to a laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to focus on immunology.Fessenden, who is now an editor at the Journal of Cell Biology in New York City, says that alongside adjusting to a new lab culture, he needed to learn new techniques, adding: “I am a lifelong student, someone who always wants to be the dumbest person in the room.”Fessenden is joined by physician-scientist Ken Kosik, and Jennifer Pursley, a particle physicist-turned-medical physicist.Kosik’s neuroscience research and collaborations are influenced by his close working proximity to physical scientists. In 2004, he quit a tenured post at Harvard University’s Longwood campus in Boston, Massachusetts, moving to a more multi-disciplinary location at the University of California, Santa Barbara.Pursley, who left the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in Batavia, Illinois, in 2010, says of her move to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston: “I walked into this completely new environment — I didn’t know anyone. It was a real shock.”This is the fourth episode in a six-part Working Scientist podcast series on moving labs. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Moving labs, moving countries: how to get both right
28:30In the third episode of this six-part Working Scientist podcast series about moving labs, three researchers who moved abroad for work describe how they handled the challenges it brought, including language barriers, cultural differences and experiences of racism.Sara Suliman, an immunology researcher and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, shares her experiences of labs in South Africa, Canada and the United States as a scientist from the African diaspora. She was born in Sudan.Ali Bermani, a PhD student who moved from Iran in 2019 to study electrical engineering at the University of Gävle in Sweden, talks about how he learnt to decipher feedback from Swedish colleagues, and about their calm approach to work compared to previous work experiences.And Keshun Zhang, a psychologist at Qingdao University in China, explains why he returned to that country after completing his PhD at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and why he now urges his students and colleagues to work and study abroad. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
‘Trailing spouses’ and ‘two body’ problems: how to move labs as a scientist couple
21:28In the second episode of this Working Scientist podcast series about moving labs, physical geographer Mette Bendixen and her ecologist husband Lars Iversen describe how they resolved their two-body problem after moving from Denmark to the United States in 2018 with their three-year-old son.With the help of supportive supervisors and a sympathetic funder, the couple worked 1,200 kilometres apart for a while, before they each found academic positions at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.They are joined by Andrea Stathopoulos, who met her partner in 2010 when they were neuroscience PhD students at Florida State University in Tallahassee.Stathopoulos is now a scientific analyst at Verge Science Communications, based in Arlington, Virginia. She says that her ambivalence about an academic career perhaps defined her as the “trailing spouse” whose career would take a back seat while her husband’s progressed. The couple’s career plans changed frequently over the years, and they’ve had to spend time living apart. They resolved their two-body problem by leaving academia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
‘Is the PI a jerk?’ Key questions to ask when you’re moving lab
21:52Laboratory leaders are not doing you a favour when they hire you, says geneticist Joanne Kamens, a senior consultant at The Impact Seat, a scientific workplace consultancy based in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of the long hours and relatively low pay, you are doing them one by offering them your labour, she explains.Kamens lists questions you need to have answered before making a move. “I would say item number one is: Is the PI a jerk?" she says.In the first episode of this six-part Working Scientist podcast series about moving labs, Kamens shares advice alongside Tim Fessenden, a cancer researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and Kim Gerecke, a behavioural neuroscientist at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
More support needed to survive the mid-career stage in science
17:09In 2016, Salome Maswime’s five-year mid-career award from the South African Medical Research Council gave the clinician and global health researcher some much-needed funding security, enabling her to recruit staff and offer bursaries to graduate students as she established her own research group. In the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers something similar through its Mid-Career Advancement programme.Maswime and Leslie Rissler, a biologist and NSF programme director, tell Julie Gould that research outputs can easily suffer when scientists entering the mid-career stage suddenly get swamped with administrative and teaching duties, which is why the awards were set up.In the final episode of Muddle of the Middle, a six-part Working Scientist podcast, Gould also hears the pros and cons of making the mid-career stage better structured to support the development of skills and competencies, as it is in Brazil. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.