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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: Great reader feedback and Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to all of our readers. It was an extremely busy autumn and there has been a lot of reader commentary on the Black Hole site – many thanks from both Jon and me. Of particular note, we ran a session at the Canadian Science Policy Conference and asked readers for feedback on three major questions:

  1. Should there be multiple career streams for publicly funded researchers?
  2. Should the time to complete a PhD be reduced? (And if so, how can this be achieved?)
  3. Should PhD researchers be treated like medical residents and junior accountants despite unclear career outcomes?

The feedback we received was great, and we’ll be using the material in future posts to help outline some proposals for alleviating the human resources crunch in early-career researcher streams. In particular, we had good cases made for shorter PhD programs (i.e., hard caps of 5 years) and different styles of graduate training programs to accommodate non-academic career paths.

Finally, I am once again making an annual call for guest posts on topics near and dear to the hearts of our readers. We have a two-part series on the practicalities of immigrating to Canada for studies/research coming in January and we’re always on the lookout for future posts.

Our posts from this past quarter can be found below in case your autumn was as busy as ours!



Dave also continued to write for the Signals blog on stem cells and regenerative medicine with three posts from the 2013 Till and McCulloch Meeting in Banff

All the best for 2014 – we look forward to another great year!

Dave and Jonathan

David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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