Scientists pride themselves on being keen observers, but many seem to have trouble spotting the problems right under their noses. Those who run labs have a much rosier picture of the dynamics in their research groups than do many staff members working in the trenches, according to a Nature survey of more than 3,200 scientists. The results suggest that a lack of training in lab and personnel management is one of the strongest contributors to an unhealthy lab culture.
New principal investigators (PIs) tend to be thrust into a role that includes administration and management, budgeting, lab infrastructure, mentoring and — perhaps most difficult — shepherding junior scientists to achieve their full potential. Many researchers receive little training in leadership skills to help them adapt. And the problem is not limited to just […]
Nature asked scientists to recommend one thing that institutional and laboratory leaders could do to make science more productive, rigorous and happy.
Calling all researchers: what type of mentoring did you receive during your early career? Were you nurtured in a way that balanced supervision and independence? Were you left to sink or swim, and perhaps rescued by a kindly postdoc? Did your supervisor test your results and claims to destruction, or just assume or hope you had done the job right? Were they perpetually invisible or always available? And, if your experience was less than great, who could you turn to for help?
Leaving work late the other night, I crossed paths with a tearful postdoc colleague. The encounter left a scar in me. I was tired after what was for me a long day. But for her, it was after yet another mandatory four-hour meeting that ended at 10 pm. As she shared her story with me, I could see on her face how she was calculating and anticipating the different consequences of each decision she could make: “What will happen if I tell my boss I can’t make it to regular late night meetings? What will my husband say? How will my kids feel?”