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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: The one year anniversary


In light of the one year anniversary, we’ve decided to bring a little more organization to the quarterly summaries that will make a little more succinct, as their main purpose is to help the not-so-regular reader find the articles and links that might interest them.  Any feedback on these summaries is certainly welcome and we’ll do our best to make the site much more than a simple set of opinions on issues affecting science trainees.

Articles Written
Guest blogger Sonja B:

  • To MD or PhD: That is the Question


  • So you want to be a Grants Facilitator when you grow up…
  • Thoughts on Including Design as a Discipline within Interdisciplinarity
  • Not Linear
  • So, you want to be a Project Manager when you grow up…
  • So, you want to be a Program Evaluator when you grow up…
  • Federal Government Scrapping The Census Long-Form: What Will It Mean for Evidence-Based Policy?


  • So you want to be “What my parents wanted” when you grow up…
  • So you want to be a public servant when you grow up…
  • So, you want to be a Researcher in Industry…
  • So, you want to be an Educator when you grow up…
  • So, you want to be a Science Writer when you grow up…

Discussions Had

  • After Beth published her mini-rant on the termination of the mandated long form of the Canadian census (in favour of an optional long form to be sent to more citizens), we received quite a few comments, including one that suggested the census had nothing to do with science trainees in Canada.  Our response followed, but it would certainly be interesting to hear what others think.
  • Adak Atum suggested we scrap the post-doc system altogether as it has degenerated into cheap labour where highly trained apprentices are kept in limbo.  While I agree things need to change from the current situation in Canada, scrapping this training period is probably not the way to go.
  • Maryse (of fame) gave a great suggestion for those looking to take up technical writing:  Check out the Society for Technical Communication .
  • Shannon made an excellent point for those looking to pursue careers in education : think librarians… especially academic librarians.  While you’d almost certainly be needing some additional training in the Library Sciences, it is truly a place of lifelong learning and teaching!
  • Kelly Wiens gave some excellent resources for developmental evaluation in response to Beth’s entry on becoming a Program Evaluator including some great items from the McConnell Foundation.
  • Terri linked us into and some thought provoking commentary on the Banting fellowships.
  • Interested citizen posed an excellent question (which will be blogged on this term!) regarding other metrics for professors/labs outside of publications.
  • Dave gave us an appropriate “slap on the wrist” for suggesting that becoming a science based public servant in the Policy Leader Recruitment programs was as easy as 1-2-3.  The numbers do indeed look bleak, but still a worthwhile application if your heart is set on it!

Links Added

Our Other Activities
Dave has continued to write for the Stem Cell Network blog publishing three articles this quarter:

The Black Hole as seen by others
Last month, University Affairs deputy editor Leo Charbonneau wrote an article that profiled Don’t Leave Canada Behind, Science Canada, and The Black Hole.  It’s a fun read and highlights a trend of early career researchers getting a little more vocal about recent trends in two fields that are in human resource crises: academic science and science policy.

Open Lab 2010 has three articles of ours listed for consideration to include in their anthology on web-based science articles.
Popular Posts this Quarter

  1. 2010 Canadian Taxes: Did you get your T2202 and T4a? (318)
  2. Say NO to the Second Post Doc! (315)
  3. Budget 2010: Post Docs, be careful what you wish for… (281)
  4. Why PhDs Leave Academics (276)
  5. So, you want to be a Science Writer when you grow up… (189)
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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  1. Beth / October 1, 2010 at 06:51

    It’s been a year already? Time sure flies when you are having fun! Happy anniversary!

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