@alex.lancaster I found myself repeatedly cheering ‘yes…yes!’ reading through the paper.
Additionally, an outdated mentality still persists that the path to faculty tenureship requires putting science ahead of all of life’s other priorities, and this can have a severely negative effect on the mental health of those who try to conform (e.g., 31). While this model may have worked decades ago for those (mostly male) scientists that could rely on compliant spouses to raise families and perform domestic duties, it does not work in today’s world. By presenting it as such, the pool of tenured faculty is limited to those who have the means to commit to such a lifestyle: typically young, male, unencumbered with children and geographically unconstrained.
This is is definitely not emphasized enough. I have been on the receiving end of ‘Science is not a 9 to 5 job’ type emails many times. These emails are all the more irritating when the ‘science’ in question is the PI’s private R&D lab for their biotech company they have managed to setup within the institute. Alas…this is a whole separate can of worms…
We propose an ecosystem as a conceptual model that is relevant both to the training of a scientist and their role as a professional (Figure 2). The two most inner circles in the Figure depict the basic necessities, training, and professionalism of science. Here, traditional scientific labs may still have a role, but the networks of peer-to-peer collaborators that span both within and outside of institutions are emphasized.
I like this conceptualization - it’s definitely time to expand beyond narrowness of view. I’m also partial towards the emphasis being on the edges of a network, and not the individual nodes.
Basic necessities (i.e., Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) are fundamental to any human livelihood, and certainly for a scientist to be able to flourish. To truly allow independent scientists to develop, a strong set of progressive social policies, such as universal health care, basic income, and high-quality free education, are needed to strengthen the core of the ecosystem66,67.
Yep - I feel this is a core challenge to address.
Overall, the ecosystem model emphasizes that there is no right way to become a scientist.
I am very partial to this view in light of the fact that I have a very untraditional background - some would say no background .
At a larger scale, some independent scientists have obtained venture capital funding to pursue biomedical research71,72, such as Perlara in San Francisco, which operates as a public benefit “B-corporation”.
Wow, small world. I actually reached out to Ethan on LinkedIn about a year ago - I was deeply saddened by the news they were shutting down. Though I look again now and they are in reboot?! My son was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis 2 years ago (he has made a remarkable recovery), and I am all too familiar with the shortcomings of the rare disease funding model.
I could go on quoting the paper - but I would have to quote everything and say I agree with it
So how to go about figuring out the implementation details for Box 8? Is this a/the starting point? I think this is what I was driving towards in the topic proposal at the Unconference. I also really like the idea of writing a new cultural narrative and the outline in that section.