Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies

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The concept of postdoctoral training came to science and engineering about a century ago. Since the 1960s, the performance of research in the United States has increasingly relied on these recent PhDs who work on a full-time, but on a temporary basis, to gain additional research experience in preparation for a professional research career.

Such experiences are increasingly seen as central to careers in research, but for many, the postdoctoral experience falls short of expectations. Some postdocs indicate that they have not received the recognition, standing or compensation that is commensurate with their experience and skills. Is this the case? If so, how can the postdoctoral experience be enhanced for the over 40,000 individuals who hold these positions at university, government, and industry laboratories?

This new book offers its assessment of the postdoctoral experience and provides principles, action points, and recommendations for enhancing that experience.
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Additional Information

Publisher
National Academies Press
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Published on
Sep 8, 2000
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Pages
212
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ISBN
9780309171991
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Higher
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / Science & Technology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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In October 2005, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine released a policy report that served as a call to action. The report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future observed that "the scientific and technological building blocks critical to the United States economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength." The report laid out 20 recommendations in four broad areas - K-12 education, science and engineering research, higher education, and economic and technology policy - and warned that a failure to take action could have dire economic consequences.


Rising Above the Gathering Storm sparked intense discussion among policy makers, industrial leaders, and the general public. Five years after the release of the Gathering Storm report, a second report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, assessed changes in America's competitive posture. This report concluded that "our nation's outlook has not improved, but rather has worsened" since the Gathering Storm report was released. The report noted examples of other nations that have upgraded their investments in education, technological infrastructure, and innovation systems to a greater extent than has the United States.


The ability of the states to drive innovation was the impetus behind a major workshop held in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 20-22, 2011. Titled "Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Developing Regional Innovation Environments," the workshop brought together leaders in education, government, economic development, and industrial innovation to discuss state and regional initiatives to boost competitiveness through science, technology, and innovation. The conference was organized around four major themes:
- Revitalizing K-12 Science and Mathematics Education
- Strengthening Undergraduate Education in Science and Engineering
- Building Effective Partnerships Among Governments, Universities, Companies, and Other Stakeholders
- Fostering Regional Technology Development and Entrepreneurship


Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Developing Regional Innovation Environments: A Workshop Summary gives an overview of the presentations, observations, and recommendations made during the workshop.
Before your students can discover accurate science, you need to uncover the preconceptions they already have. This book helps pinpoint what your students know (or think they know) so you can monitor their learning and adjust your teaching accordingly. Loaded with classroom-friendly features you can use immediately, the book is comprised of 25 "probes", brief, easily administered activities designed to determine your students' thinking on 44 core science topics (grouped by light, sound, matter, gravity, heat and temperature, life science, and Earth and space science).

The probes are invaluable formative assesment tools to use before you begin teaching a topic or unit. The detailed teacher materials that accompany each probe review science content, give connections to National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks; present developmental considerations; summarize relevant research on learning; and suggest instructional approaches for elementary, middle, and high school students. Other books may discuss students' general misconceptions about scientific thinking about scientific ideas. Only this one provides probes, single, reproducible sheets, you can use to determine students' thinking about, for example, photosynthesis, moon phases, conservation of matter, reflections, chemical change, and cells. Each probe has been field-tested with hundreds of students across multiple grade levels, so they're proven effective for helping your students reexamine and further develop their understanding of science concepts.

Pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health all possess large quantities of clinical research data. If these data were shared more widely within and across sectors, the resulting research advances derived from data pooling and analysis could improve public health, enhance patient safety, and spur drug development. Data sharing can also increase public trust in clinical trials and conclusions derived from them by lending transparency to the clinical research process. Much of this information, however, is never shared. Retention of clinical research data by investigators and within organizations may represent lost opportunities in biomedical research. Despite the potential benefits that could be accrued from pooling and analysis of shared data, barriers to data sharing faced by researchers in industry include concerns about data mining, erroneous secondary analyses of data, and unwarranted litigation, as well as a desire to protect confidential commercial information. Academic partners face significant cultural barriers to sharing data and participating in longer term collaborative efforts that stem from a desire to protect intellectual autonomy and a career advancement system built on priority of publication and citation requirements. Some barriers, like the need to protect patient privacy, pre- sent challenges for both sectors. Looking ahead, there are also a number of technical challenges to be faced in analyzing potentially large and heterogeneous datasets.

This public workshop focused on strategies to facilitate sharing of clinical research data in order to advance scientific knowledge and public health. While the workshop focused on sharing of data from preplanned interventional studies of human subjects, models and projects involving sharing of other clinical data types were considered to the extent that they provided lessons learned and best practices. The workshop objectives were to examine the benefits of sharing of clinical research data from all sectors and among these sectors, including, for example: benefits to the research and development enterprise and benefits to the analysis of safety and efficacy. Sharing Clinical Research Data: Workshop Summary identifies barriers and challenges to sharing clinical research data, explores strategies to address these barriers and challenges, including identifying priority actions and "low-hanging fruit" opportunities, and discusses strategies for using these potentially large datasets to facilitate scientific and public health advances.
Today many school students are shielded from one of the most important concepts in modern science: evolution. In engaging and conversational style, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science provides a well-structured framework for understanding and teaching evolution.

Written for teachers, parents, and community officials as well as scientists and educators, this book describes how evolution reveals both the great diversity and similarity among the Earth's organisms; it explores how scientists approach the question of evolution; and it illustrates the nature of science as a way of knowing about the natural world. In addition, the book provides answers to frequently asked questions to help readers understand many of the issues and misconceptions about evolution.

The book includes sample activities for teaching about evolution and the nature of science. For example, the book includes activities that investigate fossil footprints and population growth that teachers of science can use to introduce principles of evolution. Background information, materials, and step-by-step presentations are provided for each activity. In addition, this volume:

Presents the evidence for evolution, including how evolution can be observed today. Explains the nature of science through a variety of examples. Describes how science differs from other human endeavors and why evolution is one of the best avenues for helping students understand this distinction. Answers frequently asked questions about evolution.

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science builds on the 1996 National Science Education Standards released by the National Research Council--and offers detailed guidance on how to evaluate and choose instructional materials that support the standards.

Comprehensive and practical, this book brings one of today's educational challenges into focus in a balanced and reasoned discussion. It will be of special interest to teachers of science, school administrators, and interested members of the community.

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