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Title: Advice for emerging researchers on research program development: A personal case study

Abstract

Yearly, hundreds of new scientists and engineers start their independent research programs at universities, government laboratories or other institutions. Every individual embarks on this pathway with some idea about what research directions they wish to undertake, but often, with little insight into how their research career may evolve over time. Additionally, there are relatively few descriptions of how the research programs of other scientists and engineers have developed over time. In most cases where such overviews are available, they are written towards the end of a researcher's career, at a point far from the early development of the program. In this work, I provide my personal thoughts and observations on the development and evolution of the first 16 years of my research program as a case study. This overview does not intend to suggest this particular case as an exemplar, but rather, provides a single example of how one program evolved. In the course of the description, I try to identify general observations and suggestions that might aid a new researcher in the chemical sciences or engineering in the development of their research program. Specifically, the focus is on a program where the newly independent investigator has significant autonomy tomore » select research topics of her/his choice (e.g., many universities, some government or corporate labs), although it is recognized that in many organizations, a researcher must fit into and adapt to the specific needs of the host institution. A particular aspect of my research program is that it blends research on (1) materials chemistry, (2) catalysis and reaction engineering, and (3) separations. As such, I will draw from specific examples of my own work in these fields as part of the discussion. However, the reader should note that this perspective is not a traditional overview of the full breadth of the title research topic, although my group has written such reviews and perspectives on a variety of the subjects covered here.1-6 Instead, here I discuss how my program evolved in stages, including (1) the search for a position, (2) launching your laboratory, (3) development of research themes and finishing with (4) a summary of advice for researchers starting their independent laboratories.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) Center for Understanding and Control of Acid Gas-induced Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1469986
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1373830
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012577
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
AIChE Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal Issue: 9; Related Information: UNCAGE-ME partners with Georgia Institute of Technology (lead); Lehigh University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Alabama; University of Florida; University of Wisconsin; Washington University in St. Louis; Journal ID: ISSN 0001-1541
Publisher:
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; catalysis; separations; materials; assistant professor

Citation Formats

Jones, Christopher W. Advice for emerging researchers on research program development: A personal case study. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/aic.15835.
Jones, Christopher W. Advice for emerging researchers on research program development: A personal case study. United States. doi:10.1002/aic.15835.
Jones, Christopher W. Thu . "Advice for emerging researchers on research program development: A personal case study". United States. doi:10.1002/aic.15835. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1469986.
@article{osti_1469986,
title = {Advice for emerging researchers on research program development: A personal case study},
author = {Jones, Christopher W.},
abstractNote = {Yearly, hundreds of new scientists and engineers start their independent research programs at universities, government laboratories or other institutions. Every individual embarks on this pathway with some idea about what research directions they wish to undertake, but often, with little insight into how their research career may evolve over time. Additionally, there are relatively few descriptions of how the research programs of other scientists and engineers have developed over time. In most cases where such overviews are available, they are written towards the end of a researcher's career, at a point far from the early development of the program. In this work, I provide my personal thoughts and observations on the development and evolution of the first 16 years of my research program as a case study. This overview does not intend to suggest this particular case as an exemplar, but rather, provides a single example of how one program evolved. In the course of the description, I try to identify general observations and suggestions that might aid a new researcher in the chemical sciences or engineering in the development of their research program. Specifically, the focus is on a program where the newly independent investigator has significant autonomy to select research topics of her/his choice (e.g., many universities, some government or corporate labs), although it is recognized that in many organizations, a researcher must fit into and adapt to the specific needs of the host institution. A particular aspect of my research program is that it blends research on (1) materials chemistry, (2) catalysis and reaction engineering, and (3) separations. As such, I will draw from specific examples of my own work in these fields as part of the discussion. However, the reader should note that this perspective is not a traditional overview of the full breadth of the title research topic, although my group has written such reviews and perspectives on a variety of the subjects covered here.1-6 Instead, here I discuss how my program evolved in stages, including (1) the search for a position, (2) launching your laboratory, (3) development of research themes and finishing with (4) a summary of advice for researchers starting their independent laboratories.},
doi = {10.1002/aic.15835},
journal = {AIChE Journal},
number = 9,
volume = 63,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {6}
}

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