SfN Resources Help Members Navigate Career Paths, Funding Challenges
It is an exciting time to be a neuroscientist, as investments in brain research around the globe highlight the thrill and wonder of new discovery. Yet many scientists have experienced increased pressure on funding that has led to cutbacks in labs and challenges in securing employment. Recognizing these pressures, SfN is increasing its online offerings to help neuroscientists at every career stage build skills and develop methods to seek and find career guidance.
In the Careers & Training section on SfN.org, members can find a wealth of information about career options and opportunities to develop valuable professional skills for any career setting. The NeuroJobs Career Center features updated job postings as well as videos and articles for members interested in exploring career opportunities outside the lab, signing up and watching professional development webinars, and viewing workshops that provide information about pursuing careers in government, advocacy, academia, and other professions. Resources such as the Joys of Science videos are geared toward trainees and postdocs and feature seasoned neuroscientists speaking about their career paths and giving advice.
Careers and Mentorship
The Career Options section of the NeuroJobs Career Center hosts links to videos and articles that describe a variety of career paths, such as science writing and publishing, secondary education, and pharmaceutical research. These resources educate students and professionals on how to enter or transition into a specific career path by offering information on what the job entails, potential places of employment, the training needed, and the job outlook in that career area.
Also on that page, a Careers Beyond the Bench workshop video from Neuroscience 2013 provides information and advice for scientists who may want to pursue nonacademic careers. The panel features several neuroscientists discussing how PhD and other training translates into careers in the world of technology, the pharmaceutical industry, for-profit research and development, and the public policy arena. The video can help students and transitioning professionals develop career trajectories that can apply to a wide variety of jobs outside academia.
“You’ve been taught to think about a very difficult problem in a lot of detail and in a very thorough manner,” says panelist Bradley Voytek, professor of computational cognitive science and neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. “It turns out that is a relatively valuable and unique skill.”
In the changing employment market, many students are traveling down different career paths. Another professional development workshop from Neuroscience 2013, Challenges in Neuroscience Training, which can be found via the professional development workshops link in the Professional Skills section, examines the best practices for mentors training the next generation of neuroscientists to enter the job market.
For more career and mentorship content from SfN, visit the NeuroJobs Career Center online.
Advocacy and Funding
For those neuroscientists who remain in the lab, the pressures related to adequate funding continue to create concern because advancements in neuroscience rely on consistent investment. The SfN webinar From Congress to Your Lab: How Federal Funding Affects Your Science aims to educate neuroscientists about the state of research funding and how to engage in science advocacy. Special guest U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) discusses the critically important role that Congress plays in highlighting scientific research in the appropriations process. “It is such an important moment, I think, in the field that we can’t shirk from our responsibility to make sure that we provide appropriate financial support at the federal level,” Fattah says.
Striking a balance between advocating for science and the heavy demands of laboratory work, grant writing, and professional training is difficult but important. The webinar Advocacy Activities: Good for You, Your Institution, and the Field helps advocates understand how this work contributes to professional success and how to work within institutions to expand advocacy efforts. This webinar also gives scientists the tools necessary to make a case to expand advocacy efforts in the lab.
SfN provides a variety of resources for neuroscientists to learn about funding opportunities and how to secure funding for research. More information can be found on SfN.org under Science Funding Resources.
SfN’s expanded online resources demonstrate the Society’s dedication to supporting neuroscientists and continuing the advancement of the field during these challenging times. For more information on these and other professional development tools, visit SfN.org.