Of Schemes and Memes Blog

August’s SoNYC: PhD 2.0 #sonyc #PhDelta

On Tuesday evening, we hosted the thirteenth installment of the monthly Science Online NYC (SoNYC) discussion series. This month’s event was  held in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences and the topic for discussion was the science PhD – Does the current PhD system need revamping to better equip researchers to continue in academia or to pursue other careers after graduating?

 A recent Washington Post article let the public in on one of science’s worst kept secrets: we produce far more PhDs than will ever find faculty positions. Despite this reality, most PhD programs only prepare their students to do research and, in many ways, leave them poorly prepared to be faculty. In this program, we’ll look at the programs offered by current PhD programs and consider potential additions that could better prepare students for life outside of the lab — and just might make them better faculty.

Topics discussed:

  • Managing people and finances.
  • Communicating to other researchers and the public.
  • Developing basic IT skills.

Preparing for the event 

In anticipation of the discussion, we ran a series of guest posts on Soapbox Science  hearing from a variety of contributors about how the current system works, where the gaps are, which additional skills they think PhD courses should incorporate and what their personal experiences have been.  You can find a short summary of every guest post, here. Finally, you can also follow the online conversation on Twitter using the #PhDelta hashtag. Join in the discussion and share your thoughts.

This month’s panel included:

Elizabeth Bass, a professor of journalism at SUNY Stony Brook, runs their Center for Communicating Science.

Eric Vieira, Assistant Director at the Office of Technology & Business Development of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, has worked for more than 15 years in in the biomedical industry.

Monica Kerr is the Director of the NYAS’ Science Alliance, which focuses on career development for students and post-docs.

Kira Anthony is a former cancer researcher and bioinformatician who will talk about existing PhD programs.

Christopher Mason is a professor of computational biomedicine at Cornell Medical College.

Blog posts about the 13th #sonyc

Do let us know if you blog about the event and we’ll include a round-up of links here.

Live-streaming and video archiving

We live-stream each SoNYC event to give as many people as possible the chance to take part in the debate. Check out this month’s livestream, or take a look at our archives where you can view the previous meetings.

Finding out more

Stay tuned and/or watch the #sonyc hashtag for more details about the next event which will be held mid-September.

If you have a suggestion for a future panel or would be interested in sponsoring one of the events, please get in touch.

Storify from the event

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