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Preparing for the future

December 5, 2008

The New Frontiers 3 draft AO includes the following text:
“2.2 New Frontiers Program Goals and Objectives
• Expansion of the pool of well-qualified Principal Investigators and Program
Managers for implementation of future missions in Discovery and other programs,
through current involvement as Co-Investigators and other team members;”

Recent numbers show that the small planetary programs at NASA are no more than 15% female, even at the Co-I level. The question I have is this … if women aren’t getting on Co-I teams, how are they going to possibly become PI later in their careers?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2009 12:24 pm

    Sarah — but what can we do to change that?
    Susan — you make a compelling argument. Hmmm…. interested in a guest post, perhaps?

    When I was at Headquarters, I ran the numbers on all the programs I had access to. There are problems, yes, but the most obvious one was that people (women, minorities, early career researchers) weren’t applying for grants and participating scientist opportunities early in their careers. They often didn’t hear about them, or didn’t even know to look. This site is an attempt to help beef up that knowledge, and to encourage women to go ahead and apply. Even if it’s not a sure thing. Even if you don’t feel ready, with only X years under your belt. Postdocs can apply for grants, for instance, and then make connections, join collaborations, and be poised to help develop a new mission proposal when the time comes. There’s lots to do. Sometimes it’s just knowing where to start.

  2. Susan K permalink
    December 12, 2008 1:42 pm

    I wasn’t sure what you meant by “small planetary programs”. Do you mean, say, MO Discovery opportunities? i.e. MISSION teams? Or are you talking about NRAs? Because I found myself asking if you have any idea what fraction of research grantees in planetary are women? If you aren’t doing research, you aren’t going to be on (mission) Co-I teams and therefore you aren’t going to be in the game to learn to be a PI.

    Is your concern that woman aren’t getting roles of responsibility (Co-Is on missions) or that they aren’t in the field in the first place?

  3. sarah permalink
    December 5, 2008 12:08 pm

    short answer:

    They won’t

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