2020 Summer Intern Report: Charlie Manning


2020 Intern Charlie Manning squareBackground
College of William and Mary, Class of 2020

Focused Ultrasound and Open Science

Project Overview
My overarching task was to investigate Open Science in the focused ultrasound research community and develop the Foundation’s Open Science policies accordingly. In doing so, I engaged heavily with the Center for Open Science (COS), attended the COS Funder’s Conference on behalf of the Foundation, and used their Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) scoring system to evaluate the openness of medical journals in the focused ultrasound research ecosystem.

The goal of my work for the Foundation this summer has been to engage with the Open Science community on behalf of the Foundation and improve our standing grant policies to better promote open and transparent practices in the focused ultrasound research community. As a prominent funder, we have the ability to meaningfully influence scientific practices, and I hope that the Foundation can increasingly leverage this influence to improve the quality of focused ultrasound research across the board.

Project Outcomes
My primary outcomes are the Open Science Policy Statements that I have been drafting with my mentor, Emily White, MD. I also generated and submitted the COS TOP scores of focused ultrasound-publishing journals and began writing letters to these same journals addressing their Open Science policies. After investigating research transparency in the focused ultrasound community and learning about Open Science initiatives more broadly, in my opinion, there is significant room for improvement in transparency and cooperation in the focused ultrasound research ecosystem. I believe that the Foundation is in a strong position to lead this charge.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
After graduating from William and Mary, I was looking for something to dive into, particularly an endeavor that would challenge me and expand my horizons. Having studied humanities, I was interested in a change of pace and working in a more applied field; so, when the opportunity to work for a medically focused organization such as the Foundation presented itself, it seemed just the thing. I was further intrigued by the specifics of the opportunity, being that I was to perform independent research and be involved with drafting policy language. I found this prospect both discretely interesting and pertinent to my interest in eventually studying law.

Share some thoughts on your experience as an intern at the Foundation.
Being a Foundation intern this summer was an excellent combination of contribution and education. Being brand new to the field, I spent a significant portion of my time learning. Importantly for me, this education was paired with ample opportunity to contribute and produce work as well. I want to thank my mentor Emily White, MD, for simultaneously trusting me to take her ideas and run with them on my own and supporting me by answering questions and re-explaining concepts I might not have fully grasped the first time around. I felt I had both the space to solve my own problems and the support to help me understand what those problems were in the first place.

What was the most important learning point of your internship experience?
I believe I learned a good deal about the intricacies of formal policy language from my time breaking down and ranking various medical journal’s Open Science policies. I found myself frequently engaged in parsing what a given piece of language truly required from what it only implied was best practice. The more I worked with the language, the better I got at picking out key phrases and words that corresponded to actual hard policy.

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
I hope that the outreach to medical journals and the work I have done to develop the Foundation’s Open Science Policy will positively affect the field of focused ultrasound by increasing the number of openly conducted and best-practice focused ultrasound studies. Increased transparency in research means more rapid and accurate development of our understanding of the technology, which ultimately means faster development and implementation of life-changing treatments. I believe that the Foundation can be a leader in promoting Open Science in focused ultrasound and thus further our core mission of bringing this treatment to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Has your internship affected your career plans? If so, how?
This internship has certainly affected my thinking regarding what I hope and plan to do professionally. While my loose plan remains to attend law school in the next few years, my ongoing experience with the Foundation has shown me a field that I can see myself working in for the short term and potentially returning to work in with a law degree.

What is one tip that you would give 2021 summer interns?
Do not be afraid to ask questions, but equally, do not shy away from forging out on your own intuition. Ask the questions you need to ask, but also give yourself time to figure things out before reaching out for guidance.