HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) knows that the biggest challenges in science call for diverse perspectives and original thinking. Through the Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program, HHMI will recruit and retain individuals from groups underrepresented in the life sciences. The institute will select and support 15 fellows through this program.

To see the program announcement, click here.

To establish eligibility and apply, click here.

Application due January 9th, 2019.

ThermoFisher invited talks - a great opportunity to present your work!

As part of our ongoing agreement with Thermofisher, the BPDA has partnered to host a series of regional lunch time scientific talks.  The next sessions are focused on topics in Gene Editing & Functional Genomics. Postdocs who are conducting research in these areas are encouraged to apply for a 30-40 minute scientific talk. Talks will be considered based on their innovation and scientific novelty. Here is a brief abstract outlining the proposals we expect, and all are encouraged to apply:

“Recent advancements in gene editing technologies have revolutionized biomedical research and dramatically accelerated the path from target identification and discovery to precision medicine. With the availability of novel genome engineering technologies such as CRISPR and TALEN and cutting edge validation platforms including high content imaging, next generation sequencing and isogenic mouse model generation, researchers are able to accelerate the understanding of biological mechanisms and develop novel therapies for individual patients. The BPDA is seeking exceptional postdoctoral speakers to present their related research in a highly competitive, well publicized invited talk. Qualified candidates must be able to share an exciting story to engage both basic and translational researchers.”

This speaking opportunity will be advertised by the BPDA as an invited talk, with two occurring at lunch time on Thursday December 6th at the New Research Building on the Harvard Medical School Campus and Friday December 7th at the Broad Institute in Kendall Square. Preference will be given to those who are available to speak at both locations. The exact timing of these talks on December 6th and 7th is flexible.

Please find an application link here. We request a short abstract and CV (uploaded here) to be considered for this regionally advertised speaking opportunity.

Applications are due no later than NOVEMBER 15th .

Please stay tuned for additional postdoctoral speaking opportunities from the BPDA!

The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science

ETH Zurich proudly hosts a prestigious program that provides funding for selected postdocs throughout the world for up to five years: The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science. It is with much pleasure that I would like to draw your attention to this truly unique fellowship, established with the generous donation of the late Branco Weiss.

The fellowship is international and interdisciplinary in nature. It is open to postdocs with outstanding qualifications who are pursuing unusual projects on the frontier between society and science. Fellows are free to choose their host institution among the top universities worldwide. Once a year in November a symposium is held at ETH Zurich to bring together all fellows.

 You can find more details on the program, the eligibility criteria and on the application procedure on the web page: www.brancoweissfellowship.org. For questions, you can contact the administrative office of The Branco Weiss Fellowship at brancoweissfellowship@ethz.ch.

Deadline: January 15, 2019.

Bayer Boston Protein Production Challenge

Pitch Event
Wednesday, November 7th 9:30am -1:30pm
Bayer LifeHub Boston 
10 Portland St, Cambridge, MA

Have a solution to provide specialized hosts for production of challenging proteins? Looking for a collaboration partner for your project? Why not come to the Hub to pitch your ideas? The winner will be awarded a cash prize of up to $50,000.
The Challenge
Reliable, high yield production of proteins is of interest to Bayer. We are particularly interested in development of specialist cellular hosts for expression of challenging proteins, such as multi-component membrane-spanning complexes. Ideally, these would be bacterial, fungal, or insect cell lines that are amenable to high-throughput screening systems.   
What we are looking for
We are looking for groups that are interested in providing, or collaborating to develop, specialized production hosts for:

  • Expression of (complex) membrane proteins (e.g. for assays, determination of 3D-structures)

  • Expression of functional proteins of bacterial,insect, fungal, or plant origin 

What you need to do
A 10 minute pitch with 10 minute Q&A. Non-confidential information only. Please note we will have Bayer participants joining from different time zones by video for this virtual event.

APPLY HERE

The application deadline is October 26th, 2018.
For any specific questions, please contact Alan Kriz (alan.kriz@bayer.com).



NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Application Webinar

You're invited to join the LRP Director, Dr. Ericka Boone, and LRP information center staff on Monday, September 17th at 3 PM EST for a LRP Application Webinar.  The LIVE webinar will provide applicants with an in-depth look at the application process.  We hope that you can join us!

All participants must register to view the webinar (registration details can be found below). We will also answer questions about the application process during the webinar.  Participants can submit questions for the Q&A portion of the presentation to lrp.communications@mail.nih.gov by 6:00 PM EST Friday, September 14, 2018.

Webinar Details:

You will be required to input your name, email address, and organization.  After your request has been approved, you'll receive instructions for joining the meeting. If you already registered for this meeting, you do not need to register again.

WEBINAR REGISTRATION

Date and Time: Monday, September 17, 2018 3:00 pm, EST

Meeting number (access code): 628 763 615

Event password: JNv6b6Q8

Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-650-479-3208

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in Peer Review - Future of Research Survey

Would you be willing to participate in and then share the following 15 minute survey about peer review? It focuses on the role that early career researchers (graduate students, postdocs, and other trainees) play in peer review. The anonymous survey can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/ECRs-in-peer-review

The goal of the survey is to collect the research community's opinions about, and experiences with, the peer review process. More detailed information can be found by clicking on the survey link. Results from the survey will be published and used to make recommendations to the editorial boards of academic journals.

You can read more about the survey and effort in this post.

Deadline for the survey: September 21, 2018.

BPDA Annual Report Released!

BPDA 2017 Annual Report

 

Read about our

achievements in

2017

About the Boston Postdoc Association

BSOCCS 2017 organizing team

 

The Boston Postdoctoral Association (BPDA) is a 16-member consortium of Boston-area academic postdoctoral associations and industry postdoctoral scholars representing approximately 9,000 postdoctoral scholars. The BPDA was established in 2012 to support the professional development and advocacy needs of these early career researchers and to aid in the retention of highly trained STEM researchers in the fields of life sciences, engineering, mathematics, physics and data science.

Our members include the postdoctoral associations of Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, Tufts University, and the Whitehead Institute and postdoctoral scholars from the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.

Since January 2016, the BPDA has hosted monthly career development, social, and advocacy events. In the last year, we have attracted over 2,000 attendees to workshops, seminars, career panels, and other professional development events. The large number of academic research institutions as well as pharma, biotech, and high-tech companies in the Boston area provides a unique opportunity for cutting-edge multidisciplinary research and career advancement.


Our 2016-2017 goals

  1. To facilitate collaboration between postdoctoral associations from different institutions across the Boston area.

  2. To provide programming on training and career development for Boston area postdocs.

  3. To provide social and professional networking opportunities.

  4. To identify common issues affecting postdocs in the Boston area.


Our 2016-2017 Accomplishments

Events

We organized and executed over 20 individual events in 2016-2017 across the three different committees: career development, social and advocacy with 2,000 registrants and approximately 1,000 attendees.

Poster presentations and the NPA

Postdocs from across Boston represented the BPDA at the annual NPA meeting with 2 posters: a cross-institutional comparison of benefits for postdoctoral fellows highlighting the best benefits across Boston, and a poster discussing the BPDA as a novel model for postdoctoral trainee-led professional development activities.

Symposia and large scale events

Our first postdoctoral symposium, B-SoCCS, was held at the Broad Institute and was very successful with over 300 attendees and over 100 speakers and networking guests.  

We are also hosting our first multi-week course hosted at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute focused on training for careers in patent law and technology transfer.


Poster presentations and the NPA

The National Postdoctoral Association meeting is an opportunity for postdocs and postdoctoral officers to meet, networking and exchange ideas.  This year’s meeting was held in San Francisco, CA in March 2017.  The BPDA presented two posters on the efforts of the BPDA advocacy committee’s benefits spreadsheet (http://bostonpostdocs.org/advocacy/benefits/) and on the BPDA as whole.  Additionally, two collaborations resulted from this meeting allowing Boston area postdocs to gain additional training opportunities.

  The BPDA Advocacy committee presented a poster on Postdoctoral benefits across the BPDA members in a poster session at NPA 2017. This collaborative effort between PDAs and PDOs resulted in the first comprehensive dataset of Boston area postdoctoral benefits.

The BPDA Advocacy committee presented a poster on Postdoctoral benefits across the BPDA members in a poster session at NPA 2017. This collaborative effort between PDAs and PDOs resulted in the first comprehensive dataset of Boston area postdoctoral benefits.

  Leaders from institutions from across the BPDA worked together to compile an overview of all the events offered by the BPDA.  Highlights included the number of institutions involved in planning and attending, the type of events and the benefits of collaboration at a regional level.

Leaders from institutions from across the BPDA worked together to compile an overview of all the events offered by the BPDA.  Highlights included the number of institutions involved in planning and attending, the type of events and the benefits of collaboration at a regional level.


Symposia and large scale events

The Boston Postdoctoral Association

Symposium on Careers and Collaboration in Science (BSOCCS)

BPDA BSOCCS 2017 posters - 1.jpg

Brief description: On June 16-17 2017, the Boston Postdoctoral Association hosted our first annual career symposium at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, focused on strategies to nurture academia-industry collaborations.

This symposium was a unique platform for young investigators to establish new relationships and gain new perspectives.  We hoped to facilitate increased collaboration between researchers in academia and industry and to provide practical tools necessary to enhance the professional development of early career researchers.

Speakers included Dr. Jay Bradner, President of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Dr. Phil Sharp, MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate and Dr. Dan Jay, Professor, Tufts University plus nearly 50 other panelists and workshop leads.  For more information, please visit our symposium website at http://www.bsoccs2017.org/

Duration: 1.5 days

Format: Mixed.  Scientific talks and posters, workshops, panels and networking


BPDA mini-course: Fundamentals of patent law course

BPDA Patent Law Course 2017 - 1.jpg

Brief description: Understanding the patent process can be very beneficial for postdocs as they are often the actual innovators in the labs. Attendees will gain an understanding of Patent Law terminology, the rules of patentability, how to conduct a patent search, different components involved in writing a patent application, an overview of the patent prosecution process

Duration: 10 weeks

Format: Lecture based with discussion

Class size: 41 with participants from MIT, Children’s, MGH, HMS, Broad Institute, Tufts, Dana-Farber, HSPH and Joslin


BPDA Sponsored Events (August 2016- September 2017)

9/21/17 Finding Funding: Locating fellowships and research grants as a postdoc

9/20/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night at Lansdowne Pub

 9/19/17 Basic Financial Management with Harvard University Employees Credit Union

 9/18/17BPDA Careers Career Fair at the Broad Institute

8/18/17 - 10/6/17 BPDA "Fundamentals of Patent Law" course

8/3/17 American Chemical Society Career Development Workshop @ Harvard University

8/2/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall

7/27/17 NIH Loan Repayment Program Seminar @ HMS

7/27/17 NIH Loan Repayment Program Seminar @ MIT

6/16-6/17/17 B-SoCCS Symposium

5/10/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Lansdowne Pub

4/18/17 The BPDA presents: Science Pint Night with the Cambridge Science Festival

4/14/17 The BPDA presents: Sci-Art Exhibition @ LabCentral with the Cambridge Science Festival

4/5/17 Engineering Career Panel and Speed Networking @ Broad Institute

3/2/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall

3/10/17 Trivia night at Aeronaut Brewing Company - Friday March 10th

2/15/17 Data Science, Informatics and Computer Science Career Panel @ MIT

1/29/17 Ice Skating at Community Ice Skating @ Kendall with the BPDA

1/18/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night at Lansdowne Pub

12/6/16 BPDA Careers Career Fair at the Broad Institute

12/2/16 BPDA Trivia Night

11/16/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall

10/19/16 BPDA Careers R&D Career Panel and Speed Networking Event @ Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

9/25/16 Quiz bowl at Aeronaut Brewing

9/21/16 BPDA Careers Secrets from a Recruiter: An Insiders Guide to Getting Your Dream Job

9/7/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Lansdowne Pub

6/26/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Asgard

6/1/16 BPDA Careers Academic Career Panel and Speed Networking

4/27/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Rattlesnake


Committee specific data

Advocacy Committee

Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 2

Posters presented: 2* (NPDA 2017, *1 co-presented with CD committee)

Documents and white papers prepared: 3

Budget: $0

 

Career Development Committee

Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 22

Posters presented: 1 (NPA 2017)

Documents and white papers prepared: 0

Number of registrants: 2,312

Budget: ~$6,000

 

Career Development - Symposium Subcommittee (BSOCCS)

Number of events (Summer 2017): 1

Number of postdoctoral attendees: 300

Number of industry attendees: 50

Number of panelists and speakers: 50

Total posters presented: 77

Total trainee talks: 4

Budget: $13,000

 

Social Committee

Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 8* (* 3 co-organized with CD committee) 

Number of Attendees: 339

Budget: ~$2,000


Future plans

Symposia

Scientific Reproducibility Symposium

Motivated by the ongoing challenges in data reproducibility in both STEM and the Social Sciences, this half day symposium will bring together leaders from the fields of statistics, antibody validation, publishing and experimental methodology to discuss and find solutions for issues facing many postdoctoral scholars.  Tentatively scheduled for Winter 2018.

BSOCCS 2018

BPDA Symposium on Careers and Collaboration in Science 2018

Follow the success of BSOCCS 2017, we plan to hold our second annual career development symposium in June 2018.  Plans include additional workshops on building transferable skills, increased networking opportunities and the inclusion of additional members of the postdoctoral community including industry postdoctoral scholars, postdocs from the physical sciences and thanks to funding for travel grants postdocs from outside Boston as well.  

 

Upcoming Courses

Entrepreneurship (Expected Winter 2018)

The BPDA Entrepreneurship Course is a 5-week course which will introduce postdoctoral researchers to fundamental concepts of entrepreneurship. It will provide information on resources and avenues available to researchers to start their own life science venture. This course will also provide networking opportunities with a diverse range of professionals in life science entrepreneurship.

Drug Development (Expected Spring 2018)

This course will provide an introductory understanding of the drug development process including early stage discovery research (target identification and validation, HTS/HCS and hit to lead optimization, pre-clinical models, ADME, and PKDM, IND filing, FIH studies and clinical study design. This interactive case-based course will be five 2-hour sessions led by experienced industry researchers with time for group discussion and project based learning.

First Annual BPDA Symposium on Careers and Collaboration in Science a success!

On June 16-17 2017, the Boston Postdoctoral Association hosted our first annual career symposium at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, focused on strategies to nurture academia-industry collaborations and to advance scientific research and professional development.

Many postdoctoral trainees have strong research, teaching, and interpersonal skills; however, they lack the ability to leverage these skills to prepare for careers in either academic tenure-track positions or industry. As biological research becomes increasingly multidisciplinary and technologically complex, collaborative research among diverse experts is often required to address important scientific questions.

This symposium was a unique platform for young investigators to establish new relationships and gain new perspectives.  We hoped to facilitate increased collaboration between researchers in academia and industry and to provide practical tools necessary to enhance the professional development of early career researchers.

Speakers included Dr. Jay Bradner, President of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Dr. Phil Sharp, MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate and Dr. Dan Jay, Professor, Tufts University plus nearly 50 other panelists and workshop leads.  For more information, please visit our symposium website at http://www,BSOCCS2017.org.

BPDA prepares information document regarding FLSA

FLSA Overtime Pay Rule revision and Postdoc salaries

Universities and other academic institutes in the US are on the verge of taking decisions that will most likely affect postdoc salaries. Here we want to inform you on the reasons and its consequences:

  • Postdocs with salaries below $47,476 per year ($913 per week) will become eligible for overtime pay (i.e. 1.5x salary for every working hour exceeding 40 hours per week)! This is because Department of Labor (DoL) changed the salary threshold above which certain professional workers (including postdocs) may NOT be eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from $23,660 to $47,476.
  • This applies to all postdocs regardless of their job title, their salary/funding source (1), or their citizenship (including foreign postdocs on J-1 or H-1B visas), with only one exception (2).
  • Revised FLSA regulation will be effective December 1, 2016.
  • The salary threshold will be revised and adjusted every three years.
  • Institutions have now two options: (1) Track working hours for each postdoc (the burden of proof on tracking hours lies on the institution, not on the postdoc) and pay overtime (i.e. 1.5x salary for every working hour exceeding 40 hours per week) (2) Raise postdoc salaries to at least $47,476 and keep them not eligible for (exempt from) overtime pay
  • Your institute will have to choose one of those options, or already has. We expect that most institutes will choose option 2, raising annual postdoc salary to the minimum of $47,476 or higher, and keep them ineligible for (exempt from) overtime pay.
  • In case of option 1: Postdocs who should receive overtime pay (i.e. salary below $47,476 and not primarily teaching) but do not receive it (or are asked to report 40 working hours while working over 40 hours per week) should immediately report this illegal violation of federal law to the U.S. Department of Labor (click here)!
  • NIH is planning to increase the NRSA stipends to a level above this threshold with a minimum of $47,484 for PGY0 level postdocs (see projected NRSA FY2017 levels: click here). Hence, postdoc salaries at institutes that require NRSA stipend levels as minimum salary will be above the threshold of $47,476 (at least on the date they adopt the NRSA FY2017 levels, which is typically on July 1, 2017).

Much is still unclear about the effects of this ruling, e.g.: who will be paying for the salary raise (PI’s or institutes/ departments), how much will the raise be, and how salary scale based on experience years will be affected. We will keep you updated on general developments (www.bostonpostdocs.org). If you have further questions or concerns turn to your own institute’s Postdoc Association (PDA) or Postdoc Office. We would be grateful if you can update the BPDA (PanPDA.Boston@gmail.com) or your institute’s PDA about any decisions your institute has made.

See full document with many additional links and resources here.

Footnotes:

  1. For foreign postdocs receiving a salary from a funding agency directly (and not through payroll of the US institution), this also applies (since the institution at which the work is being done is relevant, not the agency that pays for this work; hence, FLSA rules also apply) and institutions will need to find ways to track their salary and are responsible to ensure their compensation according to FLSA rules.
  2. Exception: Postdocs whose primary duty is teaching are exempt from the FLSA rule (“teaching exemption“) and are not entitled to overtime pay (no matter what salary they receive).

Great news for postdocs!!!

Fair Pay for Postdocs: Why We Support New Federal Overtime Rules

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/francis-s-collins-md-phd/fair-pay-for-postdocs-why_b_10011066.html

The recent Overtime Pay rules and their positive effect on postdoctoral salaries can only be a first step towards a living wage for researchers with doctorate degree that have spent years on training and are potentially starting families while working about 55 hours per week doing cutting-edge research.

The BPDA has recommended at starting salary of $63,000 for postdocs in the Boston area, based on the National Academies' report (2014), the Research Grade Evaluation Guide and the 2014 General Schedule Locality Pay Schedule - to account for the 25% higher cost-of-living in the Boston area.