Welcome to the ISCB Community News Blog

This blog collects news, announcements or other information which could be of interest to our ISCB members. We are a group ISCB members who volunteer to populate this blog on a regular basis. In case you want to become an "ISCB-News Reporter" yourself, let us know: contact ISCB
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Friday, February 21, 2020

Equity and Inclusion in ISCB

The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) is acutely aware that global science is facing substantial challenges regarding equity and inclusion. Current science is still dominated by males and by what is shortly called "the West". In our Society, we are vigorously working to bring this skew into balance. We are actively pursuing balance in our governing bodies, most relevantly in our Board of Directors and slate of Officers. Furthermore, we have implemented processes towards achieving more balance in our suite of award winners, Fellows, and invited conference keynotes. We are guiding our affiliated conferences on the importance of diversity balance within their own programs. We also encourage our members to support these endeavors by providing nominations of excellent scientists from all corners of science and of the world to all of ISCB's programs.

At the same time, we are aware that improving equity and inclusion is a process that requires long-term dedication. Progress indicated by corresponding statistics will only be observed gradually. Moreover, while the criterion of balance is an important one it is not the only one in science.

We continually revisit our procedures for progress towards equity and inclusion and assess their efficacy. We do not think that automated procedures of assessment are appropriate for this purpose. Algorithms performing such categorization suffer from inherent limitations that distort the notion of balance we are striving for. Specifically, categorization of disjoint regional, ethnic or gender groups of scientists, while easing classification, also functions divisively.

We are committed to continuing and strengthening our efforts towards achieving equity and inclusion in our Society and invite the members of our Society and the scientific community to engage in a dialog with us on this issue.
URL: https://www.iscb.org/iscb-news-items/4257-2020-feb20-iscb-announcement

Contact Person: Nadine Costello (ncostello@iscb.org)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Cactus Foundation works to understand what brings researchers joy and what causes them immense stress in their work life

7.8 million researchers are working on humanity's most pressing problems, yet they often do so in highly competitive environments, where three-fourths of faculty positions have no job security (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/10/12/about-three-quarters-all-faculty-positions-are-tenure-track-according-new-aaup); only 1 in 8 grant applications makes the cut (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/failed-horizon-2020-bids-cost-european-universities-ps6-billion); and scientific curiosity and career progression scarce find a middle ground. Unsurprisingly, academics are reported to be six times more likely to experience anxiety and depression (https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2018/03/graduate-students-need-more-mental-health-support-new-study-highlights) than the general population!

What about you as a researcher? Does your work environment motivate you? How do you manage your work and personal life? Do you receive enough support from your supervisors? What would you want to see changed in your current environment?

Cactus Communications (a global scholarly communications company) invites researchers globally to participate in a large-scale survey that aims to shed light on joy and stress triggers and overall mental health in academia. And the International Society of Computational Biology has partnered with them on this initiative.

The results of this survey are expected to push universities and research institutions worldwide to work towards addressing the problem of mental health in academia and creating a more positive research culture and a more nurturing work environment in which researchers can thrive. Click here to take the survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cactus-mental-health-survey-ISCB).
URL: https://www.cactusglobal.com/mental-health-survey/

Contact Person: Andrea Hayward (mentalhealthsurvey@cactusglobal.com)