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Title: Ten Simple Rules to becoming a Principal Investigator

Abstract

The biggest choke point in an academic career is going from postdoc to principal investigator (PI), moving from doing someone else’s research to getting other people to do yours. It is not an easy transition, draws on few of the skills you learn at the bench and the odds are clearly not ever in your favour. So calling this article ten simple rules is obviously a simplification: it is more accurate to call them ten tricky steps. In this article, we use Principal Investigator to mean anyone who runs their own research group, using funding that they have been awarded to answer their own questions. PI encompasses a number of different job titles depending on where the research is performed – fellow, lecturer, associate professor, senior scientist. The acid test is whether you can describe the people working for you as the X group, where X is your surname. The normal route from undergraduate to lab head involves a PhD, one or most postdoc positions and then PI. Given the diversity of ways to be a PI, the final step up from postdoc takes a number of forms – in the UK this tends to be either an individual fellowshipmore » or a lecturer position, in the US it generally starts with an independent position with associated funding – either as a startup package or funded grant. The aim of this article is to identify some of the broader skills (rules 1-4) and behaviours (rules 5-10) that can help with becoming a PI. They are meant as advice, not instruction. As you will see, most of them are soft/ leadership skills, which can as easily be applied to the world outside academia as within it.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]
  1. BATTELLE (PACIFIC NW LAB)
  2. Imperial College London
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1605356
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-146497
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
PLoS Computational Biology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 2
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
career, academia, Guidance

Citation Formats

McDermott, Jason E., and Tregoning, John S. Ten Simple Rules to becoming a Principal Investigator. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007448.
McDermott, Jason E., & Tregoning, John S. Ten Simple Rules to becoming a Principal Investigator. United States. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007448.
McDermott, Jason E., and Tregoning, John S. Mon . "Ten Simple Rules to becoming a Principal Investigator". United States. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007448.
@article{osti_1605356,
title = {Ten Simple Rules to becoming a Principal Investigator},
author = {McDermott, Jason E. and Tregoning, John S.},
abstractNote = {The biggest choke point in an academic career is going from postdoc to principal investigator (PI), moving from doing someone else’s research to getting other people to do yours. It is not an easy transition, draws on few of the skills you learn at the bench and the odds are clearly not ever in your favour. So calling this article ten simple rules is obviously a simplification: it is more accurate to call them ten tricky steps. In this article, we use Principal Investigator to mean anyone who runs their own research group, using funding that they have been awarded to answer their own questions. PI encompasses a number of different job titles depending on where the research is performed – fellow, lecturer, associate professor, senior scientist. The acid test is whether you can describe the people working for you as the X group, where X is your surname. The normal route from undergraduate to lab head involves a PhD, one or most postdoc positions and then PI. Given the diversity of ways to be a PI, the final step up from postdoc takes a number of forms – in the UK this tends to be either an individual fellowship or a lecturer position, in the US it generally starts with an independent position with associated funding – either as a startup package or funded grant. The aim of this article is to identify some of the broader skills (rules 1-4) and behaviours (rules 5-10) that can help with becoming a PI. They are meant as advice, not instruction. As you will see, most of them are soft/ leadership skills, which can as easily be applied to the world outside academia as within it.},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007448},
journal = {PLoS Computational Biology},
number = 2,
volume = 16,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {2}
}

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