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Each transition in the life of the professional scientist brings its share of challenges and opportunities, none greater than becoming a new independent investigator. This symposium will address specific issues of concern to scientists as they kick-start their own research program and become active members of their new institutions. The speakers will cover four key areas that the new PI faces right out of the box: (1) establish an identity at her new institution; (2) manage the material resources available; (3) maintain a productive work environment; and (4) become an active participant in other institutional missions. The take home message is that clear understanding of career goals and planning will go a long way in making a smooth and successful transition to independence. The participants are at different stages in their careers and will bring multiple perspectives to the table. The symposium will be of interest to students and postdoctoral scientists as they map out a strategy for landing their next job, but also to established investigators concerned about the issues faced by their junior colleagues.
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