Showing posts from April, 2022

Parenting in Academia III: Japan, Sweden, USA

In the last two weeks, we gained a lot of advice and suggestions from parenting scientists from all around the world. Some of the proposed changes will need time to be implemented as well as financial support to cover, for example on-site childcare. However, some changes can be made more easily such as not scheduling official institute meetings after 5 pm. This week we will hear from Dr. Shannon McKinney-Freeman (St. Jude Children’s research Hospital, USA) and Dr. Kenichi Miharada (Kumamoto University, Japan). They share their experience on how to progress as a scientist, while also spending time with your family. They focus on the financial challenges and the availability of daycare. One major take-home message from our journey around the world is, that the country-specific circumstances for parental leave and child care/child support are very different. Let’s try to learn from each other and implement as many beneficial measures as possible at our institutes to make scientific career

Parenting in Academia II: Australia, Germany, UK

This week we continue our journey around the world and aim to learn more about different cultures and how to reconciliate a scientific career with having a family. Dr. Marieke Essers (German Cancer Research Center, Germany) and Dr. Edwin Hawkins (The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia) are interviewed in this week’s edition and share some of their personal experiences. They both stress that there is no “right” time to start a family. If this is something you really envision for your life, it is something you should do. Of course, there will be major challenges ahead. But other people have done this before and most of them are accessible and happy to share their experiences. A major struggle for parenting scientists is that short-term evaluations of their scientific career/achievements are commonplace, which can make for an unfair assessment if the applicant recently had a child resulting in reduced scientific output during that period. Dr. Edwin Hawkins stre

Parenting in Academia Series I: Japan, UK, USA

In order to be a successful scientist, independent of career stage, we have to invest a lot of time, energy, and soul into our projects. There are always numerous things to be done and multiple deadlines approaching. Most of us don’t get the job done in 40 hours a week: the work load is just too high; the experiments are just too exciting. Regardless of the reasons – being a scientist is a highly demanding career path. So, what about having a second full-time job? A job with nightshifts every day of the week, no annual or sick leave and a highly demanding boss? A job that demands your full energy, heart and soul. Sounds tough, right? But this is exactly what young parents in (and outside) science face. Having children can be an amazing adventure – but let’s be honest: it is also the most challenging experience. At the same time, mothers and fathers alike, want to pursue their scientific careers, try to not lag behind and to get all of the experiments done, papers written and grants sub