20 Feb 2020

I have heavily borrowed from the excellent example from Anne Carpenter available here.

Our ethos

  • Our goal is to facilitate the construction of new tools and methods, and to use these tools to discover new biology. We are particularly interested in approaches that promise clinical relevance in health domains;
  • We are a team that works towards scientific goals;
  • We believe in peer review and the value of public discourse.
  • We believe in open science where data, software, results and analyses are publicly available in a timely manner;
  • We believe that open access isn't just information, but also extends to biotechnologies, assays, reagents, and other items - anything that is needed to explore and further science.
  • We believe that science should be conducted mindfully, considering our society, our community, our group and the individual.
  • We respect the sanctity of samples whether from humans, model organisms or the environment. All creatures great, small and transgenically altered.
  • We are dedicated to using our funding in the most efficient impactful way possible, and respect the contribution the government organizations (tax payers), not-for-profit agencies (and their contributors) and individual donors.

My responsiblity to the lab

  • To provide good ideas and starting points for projects; provide guidance throughout;
  • To allow you as best possible within the rules of your funding source, practical considerations, and requirements of the university, the ability to explore projects that are of the most interest to you;
  • To assist in undestanding the scientific and medical literature;
  • To provide training in project planning, execution, communication, in addition to relevant technical assays and analytic approaches;
  • To provide ad hoc training exercises, group events and venus to strengthen our team;
  • To provide an environment where ethical behavior is expected and where interpersonal conflicts and unethical behavior are handled in a professional manner;
  • To facilitate a diverse, inclusive environment and to address any special needs of each individual;
  • To provide detailed, concrete feedback on your work within reasonable timeframes;
  • To provide funding to attend scientific courses, conferences, tutorials, and workshops as best possible. Lab members generally attend at least one conference/year;
  • To provide funding for your membership in a society that benefits your work as best possible;
  • To provide funding for your salary/stipend, research materials, computational resources and ergonomic physical workspace;
  • To ensure that you have all the necessary laboratory safety training, and to ensure that our lab operates in a way that meets safety requirements;
  • To provide career advice, mentoring, and a graceful exit from your position here. (This can only be met if there is sufficient prior notice!);
  • To provide letters of reference that accurately reflect your performance, skills, and interaction with the rest of the group, by the relevant deadlines;
  • To ablate as best possible administrative bureaucracy that hinders your focus on research and training as a researcher;
  • To allow you work time to finish up revisions of papers from your prior lab experience; however, unless you are funded by a fellowship, remember that you also have a full-time obligation to the funding source paying for your time so this should be kept reasonable;
  • To arbitrate on appropriate authorship, and the order of authorship, on publications emanating from our group’s research. We follow the guidelines of The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: "acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content; ALL three of the following criteria be met for authorship to be warranted: substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and final approval of the version to be published." Decision making is a joint effort of all involved and makes references to the following points:
    • When there is any doubt or discussion, include them as an author.
    • Be broad in the interpretation of acquisition of funding, data collection, supervision, and intellectual contribution.
    • Be as fair as possible with the order of authors, respecting the quality of their intellectual contributions, their overall time, and other properties discussed above.
    Generally, if we are using peoples' data we should involve them intellectually, or alternately talk to them first and ask if it's ok to use the data in a limited way while excluding them as authors.
  • To oversee and take resonsibility for all core operations including (1) wet lab maintenance, (2) ordering and finances, (3) server administration, (4) serivce for collaborators, (5) logistics etc. It is our resonsibility to divide this work fairly and at the minimal load possible. It is also our responsibility to seek funds to obtain technical assistants to lighten this load from graduate students, whenever possible.

Your responsiblities

  • To do the absolute best science you can;
  • To choose projects that have positive impact;
  • To understand that science is a part of society and the role it plays. This includes its role as an educator and employer;
  • To participate in weekly group meetings, presenting your work several times per year;
  • To prepare for weekly check-ins with Mike to review progress, timelines, plans and ways to optimize;
  • To learn our technology strategy (described in Slack) for reporting findings and communicating across the lab (it is the lab's responsiblity to assist you in this process);
  • To follow our technology strategy (described in Slack) for reporting findings. The technology strategy includes continuous sharing of manuscripts, lab notebooks, theses, software, and data. Each of these objects has a specific means of handling (eg GitHub for software). This includes a detailed, complete lab notebook. It can be a pain but there are many positives to this including the fact that it can help protect your intellectual property;
  • To proactively ensure that you have all the lab safety training necessary for your project and operating in accordance with the Environmental Health Services of the university;
  • As best possible, to ensure that your work is correct and reproducible;
  • To assist in the preparation of manuscripts, presentations, theses, scholarhsip proposals etc. of your lab mates. Multiple pairs of eyes on anything will make it stronger;
  • To bring to our attention concepts, memes, technologies, approaches that would be potentially beneficial for the lab;
  • To assist as an obsever or active participant in experiments of your lab mates that are particularly costly, or involve precious materials such as human tissue. Multiple pairs of eyes on these experiments help mitigate disasters;
  • To spend a fraction of your time helping other students and groups. This includes the general public. We have important information and our area is important. Let's share it for the good of science;
  • To apply for scholarships. Our operating grants are generally not designed to carry students over the entire graduate experience. The idea is to support new students coming in, build a project, get a scholarship, assist in grant preparation, and do great science. By applying for scholarships, you contribute to the next generation of lab members;
  • To assist Mike and others in grant writing, especially when it is related to your project. Grants proposals are highly complicated, optimized documents that take months to write. The success rates in Canada are well below 15% for many panels. The money supports your research;
  • To contribute to the lab's core facilities as best you can, and to report in a direct manner to Mike when it becomes too heavy of a load.
  • To infom Mike if you do not feel you are getting the training you need, do not have sufficient resources, or feel marginalized in some manner. There are secure means of doing this as outlined in our technology strategy;
  • To communicate if you are experiencing personal difficulties. This extends to your health, your well-being, any problems within the lab, or your plans for the future. There are ways to express this confidentially and Mike does not need to know details. But without communication, we can only guess. That isn't optimal for anyone especially you;
  • To choose a lifestyle that suits you and your research. We understand that we all have different biorhythms and specific environments where we work best. Our goal is not to lock people into a specific time to be in their office or lab. However, it is important that your lifestyle
    • allows you to meet all of your responsibilities;
    • respects other people's schedule (lab members, collaborators);
    • allows you to share your knowledge with others on a regular basis (you have important knowledge that needs to be transmitted);
    • it's a university and Mike is certainly ok with whatever lifestyle you choose. Just try not to harm yourself or anyone else in the lab ... or waste a lot of resources;
  • To represent the lab professionally when presenting its work;
  • To respect people's ideas, and find constructive ways to critique work;
  • To respect confidentiality of collaborators' projects and data, and to respect confidentiality of our labs' intellectual property and data. When in doubt, you can discuss it with Mike.
  • To be careful with lab resources:
    • Make sure all reagents etc are there before you start an assay. Beware of expiry dates;
    • Look around when you are purchasing. Make sure we are getting discounts when possible;
    • Document your purchases according to our technology strategy. Be mindful of invoices and paperwork that the university will require for financial reconciliation.
  • If you are doing consulting work or other employment, make sure that it falls within the legal guidelines from the University, your funding agencies, and timelines for your research. You have to also respect where your graduate student salary is coming from (taxpayers, donours, philantrophy). It is best to be open about these things. Consulting can be a very important experience for you, especially if it complements your research;
  • To discuss with Mike issues of protecting intellectual property appropriately;
  • To mindfully consider the choice of venue for your work. Issues such as quality, open access, cost etc. should all be considered;
  • To know your rights as a student and exercise them. This is especially important for foreign students, individuals with special needs, or individuals who self-identify with a minority or marginalized status;
  • To know the resources offered by the University and other organizations for physical and mental health care, addiction, abuse, etc. This is especially important for foreign students.