Early career researchers share their views on the state of science in the U.S.
April 15, 2014
On April 15, 2014, The Science Coalition hosted a Media Roundtable featuring winners of the prestigious Presidential Early-Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from universities across the country. The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. As leaders in their field, the researchers were nominated by a variety of government agencies including the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Commerce.
The event, which took place at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, provided PECASE honorees with an opportunity to talk with reporters about their innovative work, the role of federal research funding, and the state of the U.S. research enterprise.
Panelists discussed the challenges facing early-career scientists, as well as what factors contributed to their success. While they expressed frustration over Washington gridlock, they were optimistic about the future of research.
“I think the future of research really depends on whether the current funding stays the same or changes. If it doesn’t change, I think we’re going to lose really good people and good people aren’t going to enter into academic careers. But hopefully it will be better. I’m optimistic,” said Jennifer Reed, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We have the tools and the talent to be a 10, we just need [the government] to put us on the right path,” said Brian Anderson, GE Plastics Material Engineering Professor at West Virginia University.
Panel participants included Brian Anderson, GE Plastics Material Engineering Professor, Chemical Engineering at West Virginia University; Andrew Goodman, assistant professor of microbial pathogenesis at the Yale University School of Medicine; Samantha Hansen, assistant professor of geological sciences at the University of Alabama; Mona Jarrahi, associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles and adjunct faculty at the electrical engineering and computer science department at the University of Michigan; Lane Martin, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Jonathan Pillow, assistant professor of psychology and neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin; Rodney Priestley, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University; Katherine Rauen, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and physician-scientist affiliated with the University of California, Davis MIND Institute and UC Davis Children’s Hospital; Jennifer Reed, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Ana Maria Rey, JILA Fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Listen to Part 2 of the discussion