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Lab Compact

 This compact was co-written by all members of the Dewar lab.

 Dewar lab values

  • We share a passion for science.
    • We view science as a continuous exploration of fundamental principles of the universe.
    • We see the basic research of today as crucial for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow. This includes paradigm shifts in our understanding of biological functions, discovery of disease etiology, and development of new therapeutics.
    • We believe that mechanisms are crucial for the application of scientific knowledge.
    • We think that science is an imaginative and creative process.
    • We are drawn to the ability of science to help people.
    • We enjoy problem solving and appreciate a good challenge!
    • We believe that scientists are an asset to society.
  • We believe in work-life balance.
    • We believe that individuals are better scientists when they have work-life-balance.
    • We recognize that science and academia can require intensive work. We therefore think of work-life balance on a scale of weeks and months, rather than day-to-day.
    • We believe that taking vacation time is important for work-life balance and should be encouraged.
  • We subscribe to a culture of wellness.
    • We believe that improved wellness makes for better scientists and better human beings.
    • We believe that no professional or academic environment should deny an individual the ability to maintain their own wellness.
    • We believe that mental and physical wellness go hand in hand.
    • We recognize that individuals are the best judge of their own wellness and take a ‘no questions asked’ approach to sick leave.
    • We recognize that progress in science is non-linear and can involve setbacks. We believe that adopting a growth mindset is important for both success and wellness in science.
    • We believe that burnout and imposter syndrome are inappropriately normalized in science. We strive to create an environment where burnout and imposter syndrome can be either prevented or at the very least mitigated and overcome.
  • We are committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA).
    • We believe that diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are important for the scientific research and enrich the culture of science.
    • We recognize that science is not fully diverse, equitable, inclusive, or accessible.
    • We strive for a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible scientific environment. We see this as a shared responsibility of all scientists.
    • We are respectful of all individuals. We celebrate differences and recognize our shared humanity.
  • We are committed to each other’s success.
    • Our collective goal is for all individuals within the Dewar lab to be successful and for the Dewar lab as a group to be successful. To achieve this, every member of the Dewar lab must support every other member.
    • We recognize there are multiple prospective career paths. We celebrate individuals who pursue their passion, including those who wish to change their direction.
    • We recognize that success cannot be objectively measured. Success may look different for different people or take different amounts of time for different people. These differences do not undermine any individual’s success. We believe that all successes should be celebrated.

Expectations of trainees

  • Detailed trainee expectations are outlined in the lab manual. This is available to all lab members and available upon request to anyone interested in joining the Dewar lab. Key points are outlined below.
  • Trainees should plan to graduate from the lab with 1-2 first author research publications.
  • Trainees are expected to work hard and be invested in their own research project(s).
  • Trainees should take responsibility for their own project. While James Dewar will provide extensive input and advice on a project, the individual trainee is ultimately responsible for the progress of their own research project.
  • Trainees should make continual progress. This can take many forms and can include improving skills or expending effort to support achievement of long-term goals. Progress does not always mean immediate outputs. It is important to focus on overall trajectory and not on short term wins.
  • Trainees should take responsibility for their own scholarship. This includes staying up to date on new research, performing thorough background reading, and continuously re-evaluating prior research to make sure crucial details were not missed.
  • Trainees should be courteous to others and be good lab citizens. This includes keeping the lab clean, performing lab jobs as needed, and reordering items when the lab runs low on supplies.
  • Trainees should strive to understand other lab members’ projects and provide feedback. This is important to make sure everyone feels included and to create a stimulating scientific environment.
  • Trainees must keep thorough records of their data. This is a requirement for research funded by most major funding agencies (e.g. the NIH) and is important to ensure rigor and reproducibility.
  • Trainees should seek to continually improve their techniques. This will allow trainees to be more efficient and produce more reproducible data.
  • Trainees need to view James Dewar a ‘mentor in progress’ who is not infallible but strives for continual improvement as a mentor.

Commitments as a mentor

  • I commit to being the best mentor I can be and to do my best to rectify any mistakes I make as a mentor.
  • I will continually strive to become a better mentor. I will attend mentoring training opportunities and modify my mentoring to incorporate feedback provided by the lab.
  • I commit career-long mentorship. I am a mentor to individuals present in the lab but also to alumni who have graduated from the lab.
  • I will provide the resources needed for training. This includes lab space, funding, and dedicated time to meet with each trainee.
  • I will support trainees taking time away from the lab for career-related training (e.g. ‘ASPIRE on the road’, teaching experience, internships) where appropriate.
  • I will individualize my mentorship to ensure that all trainees are set up for success. I believe that mentorship should be informed by my knowledge of science and academia, as well as individual trainees’ knowledge of themselves and their experiences. I will treat my trainees equitably, not equally.
  • I will respect my trainees’ time. This includes clear communication about when things are urgent, important, or neither.
  • I will advocate for my trainees to the best of my ability. This includes proactively nominating trainees for awards, promoting career development opportunities, and promoting networking opportunities.
  • I recognize that there are multiple prospective career paths for scientists. I will provide the same level of career support regardless of whether a trainee wishes to continue in academia, science, or research.