Values and philosophy
Even though the different research projects in the lab are led by individuals (e.g. students), they always involve teamwork. The values guiding our team are:
The first thing is respecting yourself. One needs to know her or his limits and respect them. Respect of others is as important. No form of discrimination is tolerated, be it on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, origin, religion, age or physical or mental impairement. We strive to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment. Our vision is aligned with that of UdeM.
Respect in the lab also includes the respect of private life. For example, no one should expect to receive a rapid response to a message sent outside of normal work hours (9:00-17:00 Monday-Friday).
Good communication among lab members is central to the functioning of a research group. Face-to-face communication (in person or virtual) is preferred because it is less likely to lead to misunderstandings, especially when discussing potentially sensitive topics. To promote efficient and transparent written communication, we favor the use of a channel-based messaging platform instead of long email chains.
We host weekly lab meetings (Mondays 11:00-12:00) in which a member presents a topic of general interest (e.g. presenting research results, discussion of an article, debate on a hot topic). It is important that everyone gets the chance to express their opinions and ideas without fear of being judged. This favors the emergence of new ideas, which fuel a research group. Some of us also participate in the EvoEcoGen weekly journal club, which includes IRBV researchers with interests in evolution, ecology and genetics.
To promote communication and interactions among lab members, we prefer that members respect a standard work week, from Monday-Friday 9:00-17:00 et be physically present at the Biodiversity Centre as much as possible. With that being said, we are open to flexible work schedules and remote work, but we ask that at the minimum members participate in lab meetings and other group activities. These interactions allow the development of a good team spirit and the sense of belonging in it.
Finally, science communication is at the heart of our research mission. In order for our research results to avance collective knowledge, they must first be communicated to the broader scientific community. Our expectations are that the research led by a MSc student will represent one peer-reviewed article and at least one presentation (poster or oral) in a national or international conference. For a PhD student, the expectation is that she or he will publish three such peer-reviewed articles and give at least two presentations. Public outreach to disseminate research results more broadly is also strongly encouraged.
The culture of sharing in our lab is expressed in different ways. First, by promoting open science and sharing of data, protocols and code used to run analyses. It is also expressed by submitting pre-print versions of articles or, when possible, as open-access articles. Posting pre-prints versions of our articles on platforms such as bioRxiv ensures that our research is freely available to all. This is particularly important when the final version of the published article is not published under an open access licence.
Our sharing culture also manifests itself via cooperation among lab members, either in the form of sharing expertise about the use of an instrument or analytical methods, or simply by giving a student a hand with lab or field work. Such cooperation among lab members is not only strongly encouraged, but expected.
We have the chance of working in a tightly-knit research institute (IRBV) where people know and interact with each other daily. Student involvement in various IRBV and Departmental committees (e.g. student representatives, environment committee, Christmas party organisation committee) is essential to the functioning of these organisations. Even though we force no one to become involved, student involvement is encouraged and certainly never seen as an obstacle to research progress. In addition, involvement in social and environmental causes external to the institution is seen positively. Finally, organizing or participating in science outreach activities that are related to our research mission is strongly encouraged.
Science is a serious activity, but one does not need to take herself or himself too seriously to do good science. We organize a range of social activities outside work to learn more about ourselves: after-work snacks and drinks (which do not have to be alcoholic), sports (e.g. ice skating in neighboring Parc Maisonneuve), or annual lab retreat at the Station de biologie des Laurentides.
The lab is located within the beautiful Montreal botanical garden, one of the world’s most reputed gardens. Can you think of a better work environment for ecologists who are passionate about plants?
During a lunch break, there is nothing better than going for a walk through the garden to get some fresh air and learn more about the diversity of the plant kingdom. Sometimes, the collections of the garden (living or herbarium) even become our natural laboratory for certain experiments or research projects.