How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

Most of us that are currently grad students or postdocs have experienced colleagues leaving academia for industry jobs. Even though I am currently a happy scholar, I can very well understand those who venture into industry – be it for making impact on a shorter time-scale and in a more direct manner, for more job security and more regular working hours, or simply for higher pay and the possibility to plan a family and get some savings. And indeed, the fluidity between academia and industry has arguably never been that strong. I find it very important for us young cognitive scientists to know that academia is not a one-way street, and the world outside there is welcoming us warmly, should we choose to enter it.

Meet Christine Boylan and Neil Bardhan, who have both recently left the academia cosmos to pursue two very distinct career paths.

Continue reading How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

Christina, Page and I like meta-analyses. We are convinced they are a great tool to leverage past research in order to move forward: To gain an overview of the state of a field, to get an idea of research practices, to plan new experiments, and even to get novel theoretical insights.

Continue reading How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

Find a significant effect in any study

Stephen Politzer-Ahles is Assistant Professor at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is committed to finding solutions to current challenges in the cognitive sciences. For instance, he is developing efficient and transparent strategies to empty out his own file drawer.

p>.05. We’ve all been there. Who among us hasn’t had a student crying in our office over an experiment that failed to show a significant effect? Who among us hasn’t been that student?

Statistical nonsignificance is one of the most serious challenges facing science. When experiments aren’t p<.05, they can’t be published (because the results aren’t real), people can’t graduate, no one can get university funding to party it up at that conference in that scenic location, and in general the whole enterprise falls apart. The amount of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted on p>.05 experiments is frankly astounding. Continue reading Find a significant effect in any study

The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

About 2 months ago, the latest round of successfully funded Marie Skłodowska Curie fellows has been announced, and some might soon start to plan their move abroad. My move one year ago was spiked with some unforeseen obstacles. But even without those presumably rather unique incidents, there are quite a few things I wish I’d known before. With that in mind, I’ve put together some helpful information on the administrative side of planning your stay. Since I am on a Global Fellowship to the USA, this post is especially geared towards those in the same situation. I hope that large parts can also be useful for fellows going to other countries and postdocs receiving a different kind of funding, though. So here you go!

Continue reading The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

This week, I am tweeting not from my own account, but from the science communication “rocur” (rotating curator) account realsci_DE, the German version of realscientists. This is the latest instance of a few experiences in talking about science and my work as a scientist to a non-expert audience, and I’ve learned a great deal from and about this in the past. So I thought I’d share a few insights that I had along the way (fun fact: there are no natural born communicators, it all needs practice).

First tell me how this helps scientists!

Continue reading Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

How to write effective introductory emails

Kate Von Holzen, post doc at Université Paris Descartes, explains in this guest post how this difficult and at times awkward first email can be written effectively. 

I’ve recently been giving a lot of advice to fellow academics about how to write effective emails. I’m not sure why, but this has fortunately come naturally to me throughout my career. Ineffective emails can lead to a lot of frustration, so I’d like to offer up the strategies that I use when writing emails to academics that I don’t know very well. Continue reading How to write effective introductory emails

7 small things you can do for science in 2017

The new year is here, and many of us start off with some resolutions. Following this trend, I thought it would be fun to share some things I’ve been doing and will continue to do that mostly (with the exception of point 3) require only little effort on my side and which positively impact my sciencing and that of those around me. Continue reading 7 small things you can do for science in 2017

How to stay sane and enthusiastic: Five things we wish we had known before starting grad school

Our department has recently started a series on academic skills, where grad students and postdocs at Penn can ask panelists about various experiences pertaining to writing a grant, or giving a job talk – things that are often not communicated in a formal way. This month’s session was about “What I would have liked to know before starting grad school”, where advanced grad students and fresh postdocs reflected on things they would have found useful to know or to have reflected on in advance. I thought I’d share some of the excellent points that were made by the panel and audience.

Grad school can be a great thing, but it comes with its own challenges. For me, the flexibility that often comes with being a grad student (unless you work on a project with a very fixed outline where your tasks are clearly defined from the start) is something that makes it especially awesome, but also especially challenging. You can work on what you really care about while managing your work schedule yourself. But you also have a lot of responsibility and need to be intrinsically motivated and reasonably disciplined to pull through. With that in mind, here come five thoughts and pieces of advice that can help you make your way through grad school.

Continue reading How to stay sane and enthusiastic: Five things we wish we had known before starting grad school

A chat with Sho about going to conferences

Christina: “So, Sho, we were recently in Boston attending the annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD). Let’s chat a bit about conferencing as a post doc. How, if at all, did attending a conference change between being a PhD student and a post doctoral researcher?”

BUCLD_Christina_Sho

Continue reading A chat with Sho about going to conferences