Monday, January 13, 2020

Talking Biotech Podcast Going Forward

  • On November 14, 2019, I was told my my university to get out of visibility.  That meant no more use of social media or podcast, and I was to cancel future presentations, at least as I understood it in the room. 
  • To follow up, On November 18  I submitted a letter asking for clarity. It was clear that I was supposed to end the podcast and social media use.
This was from a letter to university administration from me to summarize the expectations. It was clear that I was supposed to end the series. You may notice that a few more were added and the series extended through 2019. 

  • I received a response that did not address the podcast, but told me to use social media with discretion and cancel talks.  I cancelled six substantial talks. It was horrifying to back out of long-standing commitments.  
  • I then submitted paperwork on December 11, 2019 asking for permission to identifind another host for the podcast, and I'd just do the production.  That way the series could continue and I'd be out of the perceived line of fire, which never actually existed.  I don't know that anyone gets too upset with the podcast. 
  • That paperwork was approved by the university administration hierarchy, and I would be allowed to produce the podcast outside of work, without hosting it. Done. 
  • I received many inquiries from others hoping to fill in as guest host.  I sent the scripts, passwords, etc to access the site to bank interviews so that I could just do the production and continue the series. 
  • I did not receive interviews to produce except for one interview by Modesta Abugu (thanks Modesta) and that ran January 4, 2020. 
  • Without guest hosts, without interviews, I put the series on hiatus on January 11, 2020 (my birthday, yay.)
  • Today I spoke with university administration and learned that it was never the intention to end the podcast. That was not what I understood and not consistent with the paperwork I submitted, and they approved, asking for permission to be the producer only. 
  • I was told that if I want to host the podcast going forward  I may submit paperwork to continue it as "outside work"-- a non-university endeavor outside of work hours, which is slightly insane because such outreach should be part of our assignment.
  • Thanks to those at Ben-Gurion University, NC State, EPFL (Luasanne, Switzerland) and Colorado State that reached out offering to host the podcast under their university's outreach portfolio.  You still might get a chance here.

Right now the situation is fluid. I'm going to take a few weeks to see how this settles.  The show will go on, it just is unclear if it is with me, with someone else, and out of which university.  I'm also contemplating my role in science, particularly with respect to remaining in academic science.

Thank you for your support.   Kevin