How do I meet Japanese Junior Faculty in Biomedical Science?
February 10, 2010 8:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I find a Japanese biomedical scientist within his/her first five years of starting a lab who will collaborate with my 'nanocluster biochemistry' lab?

I would like to apply for a Human Frontier Science Program New Investigator Award. This award is intended to spur international collaborations among biomedical researchers. The rumor is that for political reasons, it's best to have a Japanese or possibly a German as part of your application team because most of the funding for this mechanism comes from these countries, especially Japan.

The award eligibility is limited to teams of scientists who are within their first five years of 'directing/starting a lab.' The platform technology we develop in my lab is broadly applicable to molecular biology problems, so I'm not particularly picky about the specialty of a possible collaborator.

What is the best way to look for scientists who fit these criteria? I'd prefer "cold calling" to going to conferences, but could arrange to go to a conference if I was convinced it would have a high probability of allowing such a collaboration to form.
posted by u2604ab to Work & Money (4 answers total)
I'm sure a quick google of "japanese biological medical society" would give you some professional organizations you could call for contacts. Be careful though, effective collaboration is hard enough with people you know, like, and are close to. In addition I would be not respond well to a cold caller only interested in me because I fit into certain groups and especially not if they were not particularly interested in my specific expertise.

Good luck with your application!
posted by Fiery Jack at 9:02 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, as with all networking situations, the best way to form a personal connection is via personal connections. Do you have a former advisor with contacts in Japan? A colleague at your institution with contacts in Japan? Look through their publications and see if there are any Japanese names in the author lists. Even if none of your contacts knows a junior Japanese researcher, they might know senior people who can direct you to former students with new labs.

Exhaust your personal connections before you start cold-calling people.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:26 AM on February 10, 2010

I'm not sure how much weight I'd give to that rumor. I've known a number of HFSP collaborations which included neither a Japanese nor a German researcher. Who knows, it might give you an edge, but nearly as much of an edge as you'd get from having a well-thought out collaboration between stellar scientists whose work really meshes.

First find yourself somebody you want to collaborate with. If they happen to be from overseas: great! Now apply for HFSP! Don't put the cart before the horse here.
posted by wyzewoman at 10:41 AM on February 10, 2010

For what it's worth, my husband (who actually did win an HFSP award) says I'm being silly: many professors, Japanese or otherwise, would respond to your query with enthusiasm: "free money? Cool!" And even if amazing science didn't come out of the collaboration, you could use some of the money for other good stuff. Also, Israelis tend to have good chances of winning.
posted by wyzewoman at 9:34 AM on February 13, 2010

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