Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Chronicle of Higher Education
David D. Perlmutter
June 17, 2018

Professors always believe their own fields are central and vital to education — and to life. So I can be forgiven for pointing out that a great deal of evidence supports the idea that superior communicators succeed disproportionately in every profession. For example, when Google identified the "eight habits" of its best managers, the first seven were communications skills. Only the eighth was technical knowledge.

Communication skills are no less vital for academic leaders, given how much time we spend building consensus and gaining genuine support. But it’s not just a matter of possessing robust skills. You also need the situational awareness and flexibility to know which communication skills work in different settings and with diverse audiences.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

In the Lab, Failure Is Part of the Job Description

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Alexander C. Kafka
June 15, 2018

Jay Van Bavel is a highly successful research psychologist at New York University, but he also likes junior colleagues to know about his crummy first year as an assistant professor, when he had 10 papers and three grant proposals rejected, and zero papers published.

Make no mistake, over all, he has kicked scholarly butt. Now an associate professor, he is also affiliated with NYU’s Stern School of Business, has published more than 60 papers, and won prestigious academic awards and a wide range of grants.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Data Science

NIH Office of Science Policy News
June 5, 2018

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today released its first ever Strategic Plan for Data Science to capitalize on the opportunities presented by advances in data science.  The plan describes NIH’s overarching goals, strategic objectives, and implementation tactics for promoting the modernization of the NIH-funded biomedical data science ecosystem. NIH is grateful for the input from the community and the public received from the Request for Information, which was incorporated into the final plan.  

Over the course of the next year, NIH will begin implementing its strategy, with some elements of the plan already underway. NIH will continue to seek community input during the implementation phase.  We know that we share a common interest with you in maximizing the value of data generated through NIH-funded efforts to accelerate the pace of biomedical discoveries and medical breakthroughs for better health outcomes. 

This announcement was circulated via the NIHOSP email list.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Gates Foundation Launches $68 Million Global Education Initiative

Philanthropy News Digest
June 5, 2018

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a four-year, $68 million initiative aimed at providing education systems with better information, evidence, tools, and approaches to improve teaching and learning.

Through its Global Education Learning Strategy, the foundation will work with partners at the global and country levels in India and sub-Saharan Africa to develop new education tools and approaches, with an emphasis on foundational learning  such as reading and mathematics in primary grades. At the global level, the foundation will support efforts to make data about learning outcomes comparable so that progress can be tracked over time. And at the country level it will work with partners to better diagnose the root causes of poor performance and help develop approaches that are best suited to address their specific circumstances. The foundation also will work with partners to identify and apply evidence-based strategies and tools that support quality teaching and student learning.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Issue that Keeps Us Awake at Night

NIH Extramural Nexus: Open Mike Blog
Mike Lauer
May 4, 2018

The most important resource for the successful future of biomedical research is not buildings, instruments, or new technologies – it’s the scientists doing the work. But by now, it’s no longer news that biomedical researchers are stressed – stressed by a hypercompetitive environment that’s particularly destructive for early- and mid-career investigators. But those are the researchers who, if we don’t lose them, will comprise the next generation of leaders and visionaries. Almost 10 years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) took steps to improve funding opportunities for “early stage investigators”, those who were 10 years or less from their terminal research degree or clinical training. Those steps helped, but many stakeholders have concluded that more is needed. Stakeholders include members of Congress, who included a “Next Generation Researchers’ Initiative” (NGRI) in the 2016 21st Century Cures Act. This act asked NIH to support a comprehensive study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on policies affecting the next generation of researchers and to take into consideration the recommendations made in their report. The National Academy began their study in early 2017 and completed it in April 2018. The NIH has initiated steps to fund more early stage investigators to improve opportunities for stable funding among investigators who, while funded, were still beset by unstable prospects. The NIH also convened a special Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group, focused on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) with members included from all career stages – from a graduate student through senior faculty.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Philanthropic Sector Evolving Under Trump Administration, Study Finds

Philanthropy News Digest
April 12, 2018

The flexibility, nimbleness, and willingness to collaborate demonstrated by the philanthropic sector over the past year in response to a rapidly changing policy environment could serve as a model for the sector going forward, a report from the TCC Group finds.
Based on interviews with nearly thirty leaders of philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), the report, (Un)precedented: Philanthropy Takes Action in the First Year of a New Political Reality, found that in the first year of the Trump administration, PSOs and funder collaboratives were called on to keep funders well informed of policy changes. To that end, PSOs have played a critical role in enabling funder learning, dialogue, and action, and have helped accelerate important funder conversations in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion; the need to think beyond issue silos; and the foundational benefits of creating space for dialogue across political and ideological divides through nonpartisan civic engagement.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

There’s No I In Team: Assessing Impact of Teams Receiving NIH Funding

NIH Extramural Nexus
Mike Lauer
April 5, 2018


Almost 11 years ago, Stefan Duchy, Benjamin Jones, and Brian Uzzi (all of Northwestern University) published an article in Science on "The Increasing Dominance of Team in Production of Knowledge." They analyzed nearly 20 million papers published over 5 decades and 2.1 million patents and found that across all fields the number of authors per paper (or patent) steadily increased, that teams were coming to dominate individual efforts, and that teams produced more highly cited research.

In a Science review paper published a few weeks ago, Santo Fortunato and colleagues offered an overview of the "Science of Science." One of their key messages was that “Research is shifting to teams, so engaging in collaboration is beneficial.”