Sciencewomen

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgAnother letter from my inbox:

Dear Sciencewoman,

I am a mom of 3 just starting my own lab. I have been thinking hard about how to recruit good postdoc talent despite the fact that I have no track record as an independent investigator. And then I remembered an article about an organization to help mentors and mentees who would like to return to science after a break (for taking care of children, family, whatever) to find each other. I was psyched about using such an organization because juggling three kids during my training taught me pretty quickly that productivity is often more about motivation than hours at the bench. And because my model system is flexible and suits working parents. Now neither I, nor many of my colleagues who also saw the article, can find anything about it! In my searches I ran across your reply with regards to being a part-time postdoc and was hoping perhaps you may succeed where we have failed? It’s been disheartening that I can find so little, in general, on this subject.

Thank you,

Brand-spanking-new prof searching for talent

P.S. The craziest thing is that I thought it was a woman who is a Macarthur fellow that started the idea, but even with that lead I haven’t been able to find out more. Hopefully someone out there can help.


Dear Brand-spanking-new,

Can I call you Spanky for short? :P

Off the top of my head, I have no idea what organization you describe, but it sounds awesome! I sure would love to know what it is. It doesn’t like geoscience is your field, but the Association for Women Geoscientists offers small scholarships for women who have left school or the workforce and are now trying to return to or complete school. That’s a great program, but not at all what you were describing.

Maybe my readers can help, because they are amazing with the resources. Readers?

SciWo

Comments

  1. #1 C
    July 22, 2009

    There’s an association for women working in the university — AAUW, for American Association of University Women — maybe they offered it?

  2. #2 O
    July 22, 2009

    Hi there, I’m a science librarian who’s been a lurker and I just couldn’t resist the search!

    I found this article posted in Science Careers, which may be the article you are referring to:
    http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2030/returning_to_work_after_a_career_break

    In that article they describe the Daphne Johnson Trust( http://www.daphnejackson.org/). Is this what you remember?

  3. #3 Laura
    July 22, 2009

    The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) has several fellowships for women returning to science after taking a break for family reasons. They include the M Hildred Blewtt scholarship for “early career physicists”: http://www.awis.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=69 and the Satter Award which is for graduate students: http://www.awis.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=67 Perhaps they’d have some resources on how to recruit these women.

  4. #4 Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde
    July 22, 2009

    Librarians are the awesomest ever, and I’m not just saying that because my mom is one. Fyi the close parenthesis accidentally got included in the 2nd link from O, you might want to delete it. Looks like s/he found either the exact organization Spanky describes or something awfully close to it! Go libes!

  5. #5 RJ
    July 23, 2009

    The Daphne Johnson Trust is awesome – thanks for the link O.

    I’ve pasted it here without the extra )

    http://www.daphnejackson.org/

  6. #6 Spanky
    July 23, 2009

    It’s not the original article, but you have helped pinpoint a great organization. Unfortunately for Spanky she is in the US, and the Daphne Johnson Trust in the UK. Are we really this behind the curve in the States? Having just thrown off my pile of too-many-commitments as I move from my postdoc to my own lab, am I going to have to start some grass roots organizing here? If so, this is a fabulous model – so thank you, thank you science librarian!

  7. #7 kd
    July 23, 2009

    This would only be helpful for physicists, but the American Physical Society has a nice fellowship available for women re-entering after a family-based career break:
    http://www.aps.org/programs/women/scholarships/blewett/

  8. #8 Cloud
    July 23, 2009

    Check out AWIS’ mentoring resources. They may have something useful. If nothing else, you could place an ad in their magazine- and that might hit just the demographic you’re looking for. You could also see if you have a local AWIS chapter that might be able to help. My local chapter sends out job postings from time to time.

  9. #9 O
    July 23, 2009

    Sorry about the extra ) in #2. Here’s a few more organizations that I’ve found, divided geographically, now that I know that Spanky’s in the States. Most of what I’ve found is not here in the states, but could provide models for what you are trying to create.

    Article in Nature: POSTDOCS Equal opportunities
    Nature 417, 5 (20 June 2002) | doi:10.1038/nj6891-05a

    Which had the following links (Europe):
    European Molecular Biology Organisation
    arrow http://www.embo.org

    International Union of Pure and Applied Physics
    http://www.iupap.org

    Daphne Jackson Trust
    http://www.daphnejackson.org

    Swiss National Science Foundation
    http://www.snf.ch

    UK & Europe –
    http://www.scitech.ac.uk/Grants/Fells/SciTech/Inf/Gen2Fell.aspx
    EMBO’s Restart Fellowship – links not current

    Australia –
    http://www.returningtoearning.com.au/

    USA –
    iRelaunch, not a funding organization but provides support through programming
    http://irelaunch.com/careerreentryprograms.asp
    Society for Women Engineers Re-entry scholarship: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=270&Itemid=154
    NIH Biomedical posted on Duke’s webpage
    http://researchfunding.duke.edu/detail.asp?OppID=970
    NSF ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE) (maybe this can be written specifically to fit your needs?)
    http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5383

    Back to other reference questions!

  10. #10 bean-mom
    July 23, 2009

    For those who do biomedical research, the NIH provides grant supplements to support the re-entry of women (and men) into biomedical research careers after time taken off for family leave or other qualifying reasons. You can check out the details here http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-191.html

  11. #11 channa
    January 8, 2010

    I have been home for the last 13 years raising my two sons and would like to re-enter the pharmaceutical field I have a Ph.d. in Pharmacy and have not been successful in finding post-doc of any other type of lab work. If you have any suggestions, please post.

    Thank you

  12. Almost a year has passed since I sent this original query email. I think that the readers pinpointed essentially all of the existing resources. I quick chat with Bruce Alberts at a meeting led to the idea that AAAS might be willing to support a program designed specifically for scientist career re-entry. I am currently writing an NSF proposal that would include developing a database that would help link up willing mentors with mentees, educate PIs about opportunities such as the NIH supplements (these fund up to 3 years of salary!!) and potentially raise funds for fellowships as well. I welcome any other ideas or involvement of other individuals who would like to contribute to developing a project such as this.

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