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Nature Publishing Group supports ASCB Childcare Awards for scientist-parents at annual meeting

BETHESDA, MD, JULY 1, 2011-For many young scientists, particularly women, research careers hang precariously between scientific and family responsibilities. That's a balance that the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) hopes to tip towards the plus side with a $60,000 grant from Nature Publishing Group (NPG) to underwrite childcare expenses at the ASCB's career-critical Annual Meetings over the next five years. The awards help ensure the continuation of the grants launched in 2008.

Funded by NPG, the new ASCB Childcare Awards can be used by scientist-parents to cover costs such as airfare, hotels, meals, and fees for children and care providers related to participating in the five-day Annual Meeting, says ASCB Executive Director Joan Goldberg. It will free scientist-parents to present their own work, hear cutting-edge talks, and network with peers at what is the world's largest yearly gathering of research cell biologists.

Goldberg points out that women made up fully 50 percent of U.S. postdoctoral researchers in biology in 2007 yet that proportion decreased below 20 percent at the next career step of obtaining a faculty position. Many factors contribute to this decline, Goldberg explains, but the expense and logistics of childcare during professional meetings too often sideline many young women at a critical moment in their research careers.

"The ASCB's Annual Meeting is pre-eminent in the field of cell biology, and yet may skip the meeting because they can't afford the extra childcare expense to participate," notes Sandy Masur who chairs the ASCB's Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Committee, which will help administer the awards. "This grant from NPG speaks to that."

Goldberg announced the new ASCB Childcare Awards in conjunction with Sowmya Swaminathan, Chief Editor of Nature Cell Biology, which is part of NPG. In addition to its flagship journal, Nature, NPG publishes other high impact scientific and medical journals and online databases.

"Attending our meeting is not just another item on a scientist's resume," says ASCB President Sandra Schmid. "ASCB is a career catalyst. It puts the work of researchers on an international stage and provides opportunities for collaboration, recognition, and scientific leadership."


Contact: John Fleischman
American Society for Cell Biology

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