More fellowship outrage: des bourses francaises L’Oreal-UNESCO pour les femmes et la science

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have issues with many fellowships and their unfair selection criteria (see here and here). It’s not that I think research and academia should be a Care Bears Fucking Tea Party. But I do think the least a fellowship should do, is to live up to its self-proclaimed mission statement. Continue reading

Is your PhD worth the same as mine? And does it matter?

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Isle of Wight steam train. Apparently steam trains lead to the introduction of standard time. Picture by Puritani35 through a Creative Commons license.

I have been told that when steam trains were developed in England in the 19th century, one key consequence was that it lead to the introduction of a nation-wide standard time, which in turn allowed for better synchronized production pipelines between businesses in different parts of the country. I don’t know if this is true, but there are certainly plenty of examples in science, innovation and engineering, where having standards and conventions is important and has enabled better research and development. You need only to think of the kilogram, or binominal nomenclature or having standardized file formats in flow cytometry, or the MIAME requirements for microarray data. Considering how standards improve the quality of science in so many ways, I was very surprised when I discovered for that PhD degrees, which one might consider an essential cornerstone of the scientific career path, there is no standard requirement at all. Continue reading