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Cell Biologists Announce Child-Care Grants For Scientist-Parents at the ASCB Annual Meeting

BETHESDA, MD - In an innovative program to help researchers, particularly women, balance their responsibilities as scientists and parents, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) today announced that a grant from the Elsevier Foundation will fund awards for child care during the Society’s 2008 Annual Meeting, according to ASCB Executive Director Joan Goldberg.

Goldberg said that the $18,000 “New Scholars” grant from the Elsevier Foundation of New York City will fund individual awards to help cover child-care expenses incurred during the ASCB Annual Meeting. Women represent nearly half of postdoctoral researchers in biology, but there is a sharp fall-off in the number of women in the ranks of assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors. Full participation in major scientific conferences like the ASCB Annual Meeting is critical in building successful scientific careers. Researchers can highlight their own work, and hear and debate the latest findings in their field, while building a network of peer contacts vital to collaboration and advancement, Goldberg explained. "These grants acknowledge the importance of demolishing barriers to career development as well as the value of the ASCB Annual Meeting in providing a platform for scientific presentations, education, and networking."

Child-care grants have long been on the wish list of the ASCB’s Women in Cell Biology Committee (WICB), says its Chair, Ursula Goodenough. While awards will be competitive and require application, Goodenough believes, "We should be able to be of assistance to many."

According to Goodenough, WICB has long identified family-care issues as a continual obstacle for women researchers wishing to participate in the Society’s Annual Meeting. Detailed information about the ASCB Child-Care Award Program will be forthcoming at the Society’s website, www.ascb.org, by spring.

The ASCB child-care grant is one of seven “New Scholars” programs funded by the Elsevier Foundation to help researchers in science and technology balance child-care and family responsibilities during the early stages of their careers. With 11,000 members, the ASCB is the largest cell biology research society in the world. The ASCB’s 48th Annual Meeting will be held Dec. 13-17, 2008, in San Francisco, CA.

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