Overview of the Future Directions Forum
Learning how to do great science requires a toolbox of skills. Skills for effectively communicating science. To secure funding for scientific work. To identify where and when job opportunities arise. To get the offers to start your first job and build the record to keep that job. No one takes a class to acquire this toolbox, who has the time? Yet, we still need these tools, so where do we find them? We launched the Future Directions Forum to help you build your scientific toolbox. At the Forum, we dedicate a full day to offering professional development workshops, as well as small group and one-on-one expert consultations on all aspects of academic work. We webcast many of these events online so that those who cannot attend in-person can have access to this content from wherever they are.
Learning new skills only gets you so far. You need a space to showcase those skills and what you have to offer. Thus, a key element of the Forum is that it raises the public awareness of its attendees. In Washington, DC, our Forum Science Social features presentations rendered in an all-digital environment. Further, we leverage the small, intimate atmosphere of the meeting for networking opportunities between presenters and the world-class speakers we invite to the Forum. Online, we host the Forum Science Community. Here, webcast attendees have the opportunity to present their research and interact with other attendees. We leverage widely used online platforms to enhance the visibility of all this work.
In keeping with our focus on the future of science, we dedicate a full day to learning about innovative areas of mental health research, based on featured content from a leading mental health journal, the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (JCCAP). In particular, articles from JCCAP’s Future Directions series are written by thought leaders who come from research backgrounds as diverse as interventions, neuroscience, suicide, health disparities, sleep, and stigma. As such, at the Forum we cover research relevant to anyone allied with the diverse fields that focus on mental health, including Counseling, Education, Neuroscience, Nursing, Pediatrics, Psychology, Psychiatry, Public Health and Policy, Social Work, and Sociology.
An extended description of the Forum can be found here: www.jccapfuturedirectionsforum.com
The Future Directions Forum achieves its goals with five kinds of programming:
- Personalized consultations with seasoned experts about projects, manuscripts, and grants;
- Structured professional development workshops about all elements of academic work;
- The Forum Science Social and Forum Science Community programs showcase research from early career scientists on a global scale, catapulting the visibility of their work;
- The Future Directions Launch Award program honors promising early career scientists; and
- Invited addresses by authors of Future Directions articles highlight innovate research areas.
Future Directions Launch Award
Each year of the Forum, the Editor of JCCAP, Dr. Andres De Los Reyes, convenes a committee of internationally recognized scientists. This committee selects several promising early career scientists who are presenting their research at the Forum to receive a widely-publicized award: the Future Directions Launch Award. The award recognizes early career scientists conducting research in the Future Directions Address topics covered that year (i.e., one awardee for each year’s Future Directions Address topic). To be eligible, a candidate for the award must submit an abstract to present at the Forum as well as a current CV, and the candidate must still be at a training stage (i.e., graduate student or post-doctoral fellow) and yet to secure a full-time academic position.
During an award ceremony at the Forum that begins with opening remarks from previous award winners, awardees give TED Talk-style presentations about their work. We stream these presentations live, store them on our website, and link them to YouTube. The Future Directions Launch Award serves as a capstone to the academic training of its recipients—a signal to the field and larger public that they are ready to enter academia and begin independent research careers. To learn more about the previous winners of the Future Directions Launch Award, please visit the Forum’s main website.