Friday, August 31, 2018

Funding Opportunity of the Week: NSF Science, Technology, and Society

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This week's funding opportunity is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program. According to the NSF Website:

The STS program draws from a variety of disciplines: anthropology, communication studies, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology to address the broad spectrum of STS research areas, topics, and approaches. Within this tradition, the STS program supports the NSF mission by welcoming proposals that provide an STS approach to NSF research-focused Big Ideas.
  • Harnessing the Data Revolution for 21st Century Science and Engineering
  • Navigating the New Arctic
  • The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution
  • Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Shaping the Future
  • Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype
  • Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics
In addition, the program:

...supports research that uses historical, philosophical, and social scientific methods to investigate the intellectual, material, and social facets of the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical (STEM) disciplines. It encompasses a broad spectrum of STS topics including interdisciplinary studies of ethics, equity, governance, and policy issues that are closely related to STEM disciplines, including medical science. 

The due date for this call is February 4th. Click here to go to the program page.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Five Ways to Jumpstart Your Research Agenda as the Semester Begins

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Here at Hofstra University, the academic year is about to start. The International Student Reception was last night, the new Graduate Student Orientation is today, and move in day for residential students is Thursday. Campus is rather lively right now and the crescendo of activity will increase as we approach the first day of classes on September 4th. The start of the academic year is always a good time for faculty and graduate students to take stock of their research agenda that may have languished a bit over the summer vacation.

As the semester starts, it is unfortunately easy to derail our research agendas by focusing solely on our important work of teaching and university service.  Here are five ways to jumpstart your research agenda and keep it at the forefront of your semester's agenda as we swing back into action.

1. Make lists. Like many of you out there, I am a daily list maker. I make both short term and long term to do lists that I prioritize. Consider creating lists of the following:

  • What manuscripts need to be finished?
  • What labwork/data analysis needs to be completed?
  • What new project(s) are on the horizon?
  • What grant opportunities are available?
As you develop your lists, prioritize them and develop timelines for each project. Add those timelines to your calendar. Select the most important project, and get to work on it.

2. Schedule time to meet with a research librarian. One of the best things I did in graduate school was make friends with librarians. They helped me develop ideas, create literature reviews, and learn new information technology. Every university has librarians who can help you. Schedule an appointment, and share your research activities and ideas in your lists from above to get feedback.

3. Search for grant opportunities. Most universities have a searchable grant database available to faculty that can help you search for funding. You can also sign up for weekly reports that summarize grant opportunities in your research area (if you are at Hofstra, and do not have access to our system, contact me).

4. Discuss your research agenda with your supervisor and mentor. It is a good idea to check in with your supervisor on your annual research agenda so they are aware of your activities. They are often in a position to help you in some unforeseen way. For example, they may know of a student interested in the same topic as your research who is looking for a research volunteer position. The start of the semester is also a good time to check in with your external or internal mentor(s) to give them an update on your plans and to seek feedback.

5. Check in with your local research colleagues. One of the great things about working at a university is that you get to hang out with brilliant people all the time. Now that everyone is back from the semester, organize a lunch, coffee, or dinner with your research colleagues friends to check in both formally and informally with them. What I mean by research colleagues is that group of faculty/students who are doing research similar to yours or that in some way intersects with your work. This loose network provides a great support system from which you can draw ideas, resources, and talent. You can also share best practices on everything from how to navigate the university bureaucracy to grant writing. These local networks should be tended and cherished.