Becoming a Successful Principal Investigator

It is not enough to have a good idea. Your good idea must also be well positioned, or review panels for grant agencies are unlikely to approve it.  Grant writing is the end of a process, not the beginning. Long before you make the decision to write a grant proposal for your research, you should be taking concrete steps to raise your profile in the eyes of reviewers.

What does that mean? Most basically, it means preparing yourself as a scholar, a researcher, and a grant writer in ways that will strengthen the ideas behind your proposal, demonstrate that you have the wherewithal to carry out your project, and enhance your ability to communicate what reviewers are looking for.

The following article from the Chronicle of Higher Education describes ways to become a successful PI:

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Pattullo Conference Workshop Report

The Pattullo Conference workshop report is complete!  It includes a summary of the conference, an update on MPOWIR activities, and results from an online survey of participants.

Download Pattullo Report-final

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The 57th annual Eastern Pacific Ocean Conference (EPOC)

The 57th annual Eastern Pacific Ocean Conference (EPOC) will take
place this year at the Timberline Lodge, Mt.Hood, Oregon 22-25
September 2010.

Please see:  for further information.
Abstract/registration deadline will be on AUGUST 1st, 2010.

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Are Women Better PIs?

Last summer, the New York Times ran an article entitled "No Doubts: Women Are
Better Managers," which unleashed a firestorm of comments (over 300), many
of which railed against the inherent sexism of that proposition and others that suggested that women were in fact worse bosses, who were harder on their female subordinates than males.

The following article, posted on the Tomorrows-Professor email list, describes what science says about male and female managers, and some
evidence-based advice for working with men and women in the lab. The article is by Edyta Zielinska and is from The Scientist: Magazine of
the Life Sciences,  Volume 24, Issue 6, Page 71, June 1, 2010.

Download Are Women Better PIs

To subscribe to the Tomorrows-Professor Mailing list, go to:

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Postdoctoral Fellow – Ocean Process Studies

Postdoctoral Fellow – Ocean Process Studies

The Department of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
has an opening for a postdoctoral research associate to study oceanic
submesoscale processes, their implications for vertical fluxes on
scales of 100 m – 10 km, their interaction with mesoscales and
dependence on mixing, using modeling and analysis.  Knowledge of ocean
dynamics and modeling at small and large scales, mixing
parameterizations, data analysis, or theoretical oceanography is a
plus.  The position is funded by NSF collaborative award and offers
scope of interdisciplinary numerical and theoretical work motivated by
observations. The fellow will work with the research group of Prof.
Amit Tandon and interact with Dr. Amala Mahadevan and her research
group at Boston University, and with graduate students and scientists
at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). Other
responsibilities may include assistance in grant proposal writing and
general lab/student supervision.

minimum qualifications are a Ph.D. in physical oceanography,
atmospheric sciences, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering,
environmental physics or a closely-related field and eligibility to be
employed in the United States.  The candidate should be highly
motivated and have demonstrated ability to work independently as well
as within a research group.  Strong oral and written communication
skills are essential.  Salary is commensurate with qualifications.  The
initial appointment at UMass Dartmouth will be for one year, with
possibilities for extension to a second year.

For more information about this position please see http://www.umassd.ed/hr/postdocphysics4-10.cfm

should send a letter stating their interests and qualifications, along
with a current curriculum vitae, a brief narrative describing their
professional goals, and a list of three professional references,
electronically to

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the
position is filled.  An official graduate transcript will be required
for finalists.  The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is an EEO/AA

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Postdoctoral Opportunity

We have an opening for a postdoc position in the data-assimilation group at the University of Reading. He/she will look into localisation in particle filters, aiming to solve the full nonlinear data-assimilation problem for large-dimensional geophysical systems.

A full description plus application details can be found at:

Note the deadline of 11 June 2010

Best regards,

Peter Jan

Prof Peter Jan van Leeuwen

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Postdoctoral Opportunity

New Climate Process Team seeks four physical oceanography postdoctoral scholars
are sought for postdoctoral scientists to join a recently NSF and NOAA
funded Climate Process Team.  The ultimate goal of the project is to
better parameterize internal-wave driven mixing in ocean climate
models.  The team consists of 15+ PIs from leading institutions, with
combined expertise in modeling, observational analysis, and theoretical
work.    We seek four postdoctoral fellows to work on various aspects
of internal-wave driven mixing in the ocean,  including numerical
process studies, careful theory and data comparison,  and development
of parameterizations  for use in global high-resolution and climate
is available for up to three years of support, depending on the
performance of the successful applicants. The postdoctoral scientists
will be located at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD), Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of Michigan, and Princeton
University / GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory).   All of the
successful applicants will be encouraged to visit with collaborators at
other participating institutions, and frequent workshops will offer
additional opportunities for the postdocs to network with scientists
throughout the country. All of the participating institutions offer
competitive salary and benefits packages for postdoctoral scientists.
More details are available at  
successful applicant will have a PhD in physical oceanography or in
related fields such as applied mathematics, fluid dynamics, or
atmospheric science.  Applications and inquiries should be sent to Dr.
Jennifer MacKinnon (  
Applicants should send a curriculum vitae including a list of
publications and presentations, contact information for three
references, and a cover letter describing which aspects  of the problem
they are most interested in or qualified to work on.  Review of
applications will begin on June 20, 2010.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 
University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity  Employer. Princeton
University is an equal opportunity employer and complies with
applicable EEO and affirmative action regulations. UCSD is an
affirmative action / equal opportunity employer.  WHOI is an
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V, a member of the 
Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, and is sensitive to the issues
of dual career candidates.
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Help to the Finish Line: Ways to Reduce the Number of Ph.D. Dropouts

Doctoral students in the United States are finishing their degrees faster than at any point since at least 1983. But that's not actually saying much. Their average time-to-degree is still a formidable 7.7 years—and that, of course, is for the students who manage to finish at all. By some estimates, more than 30 percent of the students who enter American doctoral programs walk away empty-handed.

A report released in March by the Council of Graduate Schools highlights some of what the council calls "promising practices" that might reduce attrition rates and average time-to-degree. The report draws on data from more than 20 universities that have taken part in the council's Ph.D. Completion Project, a seven-year study of doctoral-program attrition—especially the attrition of women and underrepresented minorities.

The practices described in the report include:

  • Improving advising and mentorship.
  • Increasing financial support.
  • Improving students' early research experiences.
  • Improving support and supervision during the dissertation

Click here for the full article:

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Oxford Round Table

Professor Mary Batteen of the Department of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School recently
participated in the latest session of the Oxford Round Table, a
prestigious, invitation only event to promote various issues of
education, art, science and more through academic discourse and
scholarly publication. In her presentation to the group, she referred to MPOWIR as and example of a successful mentoring program.

See the write up from the NPS website:

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Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences

A report on the underrepresentation of women in science and math by the American Association of University Women found that although women have made gains, stereotypes and cultural biases still impede their success.

The report, “Why So Few?,” supported by the National Science Foundation, examined decades of research to cull recommendations for drawing more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields.

Click here to link to the New York Times Article about the report.

Click here to link to the NSF report.

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