she mentors are home with young children, making it impossible to write grants and stay focused. “People are profoundly unproductive in terms of their research,” she says. Hollis Cline, head of neuroscience at Scripps Research Institute, warns that “we are going to lose a cohort of young women scientists who are going to fall through the cracks.” “Childcare,” says Koroshetz, “is the big elephant in the room.” NIH grants don’t cover scientists’ childcare, and there is currently no system for accommodating parenthood in research timelines and applications. Covid sharpens those inequities. Restarting to a New Normal Getting research started again is going to take time and money, with a cost easily in the millions. How to fund that is a big issue, given the financial difficulties many academic medical centers are facing.
Indira Raman / Northwestern
Florence, Italy, wrote of the pandemic’s exacerbation of the “maternal wall” facing female researchers who also wish to have a family. “Academic work— in which career advancement is based on the number and quality of a person’s scientific publications, and their ability to obtain funding for research projects—is basically incompatible with tending to children,” Minello writes. Several female members of the NINDS Advisory Council underscored the outsized impact of parenting on women. Duke University neuroethicist
Nita Farahany says, “People with young kids at home are being disproportionately affected, and caretaking disproportionately falls on women.” Karen Johnston, a stroke researcher at the University of Virginia, says many of the young investigators
Childcare is the big elephant in the room.” NIH grants don’t cover scientists’
childcare, and there is currently no system for accommodating parenthood in research timelines and applications. Covid sharpens those inequities.
Robert Finkelstein / NINDS
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