How we do things in The Microbial Markets Lab (Strous Lab).

1. Team members follow the Strous and Hubert Lab joint code.

2. Team members take ownership, responsibility and pro-active control over their own research progress, the quality of their data, skill development and learnings. They keep in mind that time is short and they may enter a competitive career environment after they leave our lab. They use their time to prepare, making the best use of the resources available, including mentorship, courses, opportunities for professional development, etc.

3. Team members receive a minimum/reference salary as shown below (2021 numbers). When a team member wins a grant or award, their salary will increase by at least $2,000 (or the value of the award if it is less than $2,000). For graduate students the minimum salary  is sourced from the supervisor’s grants, Geoscience Summer Research funding and, possibly, a Teaching Assistantship.

An Undergraduate Summer Intern makes $6K/summer

A Graduate Student makes $26K/y, or $28K/y if International (not from Canada).

A Postdoctoral Scholar or Staff Member makes $55K/y

4. Note that Graduate Students need to pay tuition and other fees from their stipend. Tuition fees amount to about $3,500 per year for Canadian students. Tuition fees for International Students are ~$8,000 per year. However, all International Students receive a grant that covers ~$2,500 of the tuition fees. This way, the actual fee difference between Canadian and International students is about $2,000, which explains the higher stipends of International students. General fees are ~1,000 per year. See this website for more information.

5. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars without scholarships apply for fellowships/stipends/awards each year, for example via the Graduate Award Competition (GAC) and - if they have Canadian PR or citizenship - NSERC competitions.

6. Graduate Students study the questions for candidacy and know how to answer them, either when they defend their thesis (for MSc students) or take their candidacy exam (for PhD students).

7. Team members spend 0.5 day per week (or 1/10 of their time) reading or practicing other forms of learning to broaden and/or deepen their understanding/knowledge/skills in the field. This also includes professional development and career planning. 

8. Team members participate in monthly lab cleanups, follow lab rules and perform lab and other duties assigned to them. On average these contributions to the common good can add up to 0.5 day per week (or 1/10 of their time).

9. Team members actively participate (present, ask questions, participate in discussion) in the EBG group meeting, other team meetings and on slack. When they cannot make a meeting in exceptional cases, they send their regrets (via slack or email).

10. Graduate students have a one-on-one meeting with their supervisor at a frequency between weekly and three-weekly. Postdocs or staff have such a meeting at a frequency between bi-weekly and monthly. Students/postdocs/staff initiate the meeting and create the agenda. In addition to research progress, team members may also add to the agenda: career objectives, mental health issues, reflection on progress, mentorship needs and any other matters they would like to discuss. The supervisor makes time for the meetings, usually on Fridays. During meetings, the supervisor provides honest feedback.

11. Team members spend about 0.5 day per week (or 1/10 of their time) in one-on-one and group meetings combined.

12. Occasionally, at most once per year, team members serve on a Selection Committee for recruitment and selection of new colleagues. This is a time investment of about one week. 

13. Graduate students and postdocs complete at least one “creative work” each year, as the main/first author. A creative work can be a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, a patent application, or a major teaching, outreach or other project, depending on a person’s career objectives. A PhD student has two papers published and one submitted upon defending their thesis.

14. Postdoctoral scholars participate in supervision of graduate students. Graduate students participate in supervision of undergraduate summer students. At the start of these “ad hoc” supervisory arrangements, the scope and procedures of the arrangement are set in a joint discussion.

15. Team members maintain a lab journal on Github, in a repository shared with their supervisor.

16. Team members present their work at a national or international conference or symposium at least once per two years.

17. In addition to their salary, team members receive compensation of costs, once during their tenure, of purchasing (up to $1,000) a computer, laptop or tablet.

18. Graduate students receive a personal desk in shared office EEEL563. Postdoctoral scholars and staff receive a personal desk in shared offices EEEL508, 509 or 512. 

19. Team members receive lab bench area in EEEL557. Each team member’s personal lab area is quite small (~1m). However, because generally only a few team members are active in the lab at the same time, other team member’s space is generally available as overflow space. Team members keep their space tidy and free of clutter, so that it is available as overflow to others.

20. The supervisor supports trainees with reference letters, to maximize success in grant applications and job applications. The trainees help the supervisor write powerful reference letters by providing information on their achievements. Team members help each other prepare for job interviews by staging mock interviews and providing feedback on presentations. After team members leave the lab and start their new position, the supervisor is still available to provide advice.

21. Team members spend at least 35 hours per week on their position. Team members maintain a healthy work/life balance. Occasionally, during some weeks or months (for example during field work or to get something GREAT done), it is important to spend extra hours. Extra hours can be compensated by taking hours off during later weeks. Extra hours are not compensated with salary.

22. Team members are expected to take 20 days of leave each year, in the form of paid leave. More can be negotiated, for example (1) for personal reasons, (2) for compensating long hours, or (3) if excellent progress has been realized. Undergraduate Summer Interns are expected to take up to 5 days of paid leave.

23. A joint meeting with the Hubert Lab is held once per week, on Friday at 9:30 am. This meeting is organized jointly by Casey Hubert and Marc Strous. One team member acts as the host and others present their work in a 10 min presentation + 10 min discussion format. Presentations typically share recent or past work or can be a journal club. In addition, time is reserved for general and lab matters.

24. Microbial Market Lab (Strous Lab) group meetings are held once per week, on Friday at 11:30 am. They come in three, alternating formats:

  1. One team member presents their project in 35 min in depth, with 25 min for discussion. The team member provides a global overview of their project, including plans, analysis of time spent on various aspects of their work and reflections on progress and career perspectives. Team members are expected to give this presentation once per half-year. Other team members provide feedback and discussion on specific aspects, assigned to them in advance.
  2. We run a journal club for a paper published as a preprint. Team members take turns in selecting the paper. The meeting starts with a 10 min presentation of the paper by the team member who selected it. Next, the group is broken up into sub-groups of up to 4 and each subgroup discusses the paper amongst themselves (30 min), addressing a list of specific questions. Finally, sub-groups reconvene and agree on a list of comments. The presenting team member shares the comments with the authors of the preprint.
  3. Marc Strous provides an interactive lecture on a set of questions from the list of 500.