Mission Statement

Many institutions, mine included, require of their researchers some sort of accounting of time, money and effort such as teaching and supervision responsibilities. Though aggravating, especially if one postpones the accumulation of the relevant data to the period right before the deadline, I support such an accountability report. It provides a more process-oriented output overview than just focusing on published papers, and could be useful in highlighting the amount of time academics spend on their various assigned tasks.

That said, I do not mean that I endorse nitpicking about the behind-the-comma hours spent on one task or another, or detailing how much luggage you took on a conference to qualify for taxi reimbursement. Alas, no joke. This level of administrative scrutiny, in my opinion, detracts from the valuable time scholars could be devoting to guidance, transfer of knowledge and public outreach. After all, we are spending tax-payer money, so it should be spent as intended: on science, not on administration.

However, a quarterly evaluation, much like in the business world, could provide a valuable opportunity for taking stock of the achievements and failures of the past period. In science, the ultimate end product of a research project can be delayed so long that the original achievement can feel remote and surreal, especially if those involved have since moved on to other positions.

Thus, when starting my lab officially in 2016, I decided to at least try to take stock every few months, in order to acknowledge instead of forget the ideas, hard work, high points and failures along the way. This attitude towards failure, embracing rather than hiding away, was inspired by the amazing Dr. Bradley Voytek, an inspiration on outreach, communication and transparency. So here goes. I will post this thought on my website as a mission statement and reminder for the years to come.