Making Connections: Being Cognizant of Cultural Taxation, Recognizing the Effect of Lockdown on Single-Parent Scientists, and Supporting Postdocs in Their Career Trajectories

By Suzanne Fitzpatrick posted 08-20-2020 13:20


As part of the SOT commitment to supporting diversity and inclusiveness, as well as to help promote dialogue and understanding, the Society presents a new recurring blog series dubbed “Making Connections.” This series will contain summaries of articles, reports, and other resources that offer professional development insights and capture the state of the larger scientific community in relation to topics such as diversity, inclusion, support for early career researchers, and more.

“The Time Tax Put on Scientists of Colour”

A Nature Career Feature examines the roles universities play in “cultural taxation”—the burden placed on ethnic minority faculty to take on more work than their colleagues to address issues related to diversity and inclusion at their university. Academics from minority ethnic groups are usually targeted to take on roles such as serving on diversity, equity, and inclusivity committees, as well as to participate in other activities that may take away from their research. The article includes the opinions of five researchers from minority ethnic groups on what they think about the career consequences of cultural taxation and their advice to overcome it.

“Coronavirus Lockdown Lessons from Single-Parent Scientists”

Single-parent scientists offer tips for those struggling to balance the demands of their careers alongside childcare in a lockdown environment. Some of the tips presented in this Nature Career Feature include asking for help from coworkers, neighbors, and others who can help relieve burdens, as well as prioritizing the day and tasks. All those interviewed share a common view: single parents are struggling under the burden of full-time careers and parenting and need recognition, support, and understanding from their colleagues, institutions, and others during these uncertain times.

“Providing Postdocs the Support They Deserve”

While the “triple P” path (PhD, postdoc, principal investigator) is a common outlook for students and young researchers, Vipul Sharma, PhD, writes in an Inside Higher Ed article that postdocs should be open to other rewarding career trajectories—and that these alternative paths need to be welcomed and encouraged by mentors, principal investigators, and administrators. In addition, Dr. Sharma recommends setting aside 15% to 20% of a postdoc’s time to allow for professional development, training in writing grants and research papers, teaching, and attending conferences and meetings.

Additional Articles of Interest

This blog is being shared as part of the SOT roles and responsibilities assigned to the author based on the leadership position held. The viewpoints and expertise expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and expertise of the listed author.