How this works...

The Thriving in Science program consists of two separate but complementary programs.

First are the lectures, in which invited speakers discuss topics relevant to graduate student and postdoc wellbeing, productivity, professional development and more. The lectures are preceded by an opportunity to mingle with your colleagues over pizza and followed by a beer and wine networking mixer to promote dialogue about the night's lecture among audience members and the speaker.

Second are the peer groups, in which members can discuss the content of the lectures or other relevant topics. After registering for a peer group, you will be matched with others at the same career stage (early graduate student, late graduate student or postdoc). One member of each group, called the facilitator, will be responsible for scheduling once- to twice-monthly meetings as well as ensuring that the discussions remain productive, on-topic and consistent with the goals of the group. If you are interested in faciliating, there is an option to volunteer for this role on the registration form.

It is up to each group to decide on the level of formality and format of the meetings. Each group will be inherently different andwith timewill evolve its own dynamics, but this article by the Young PI Forum at the Weizmann Institute of Science offers some general observations of what makes a fruitful scientific peer-support group.

One of the beauties of this scheme is the simplicity of leading a meeting. There is no need for prolonged preparation. It can be as simple as sharing what is on your mind or a specific subject you are worried about. Since the subject is often one that other members are grappling with too, the discussion proceeds naturally, resulting in a positive and productive meeting.