Postdoctoral Fellows: News and Links
What is a postdoc anyway?
A postdoc (short for postdoctoral researcher) is a scientist who has received
his Ph.D. and is employed in a temporary research position, usually in the
laboratory of a professor at a university. Postdocs have little job security
and may receive no or minimal benefits. Their positions have been described
as a "no man's land" because they are not considered employees
but rather trainees. They often work harder and longer hours than permanent
employees with less experience and education but yet get less in compensation.
Their goal is to produce significant research results during their temporary
stint at the university (usually 2-5 years), amass lots of publications
in prestigious journals, and then hope to get a career-track job, either
at another university as a tenure-track professor or as a scientist in industry
(e.g. pharmaceutical firms). As an indicator of the prospects for landing
a professorship, consider that the number of tenure-track faculty positions
opening up each year in the U.S. is only 10-15% of the number of science
Ph.D.s granted each year in the U.S.
Seeing Little Way Into the Academic Job Market, Seek Better Terms in the
Lab. (Aug 98). Interesting article from The
Chronicle of Higher Education Career Network on the current movement
for postdoctoral fellows to form organizations to improve their lot.
out Postdocs. (Dec 97). The situation for Canadian postdocs.
rocket science: Too many scientists, too few jobs.
(Seattle Times, 21 Aug 97). Article on job statistics and prospects
for postdoctoral Ph.D. scientists conducted by the Commission
on Professionals in Science and Technology. Some key statistics from
- the number of postdoctoral researchers increased by one third between
1988 and 1995
- the average salary of a postdoctoral researcher in the Life Sciences
is $26,500. (This figure seems high to me, as the NIH pays only $19K/year
to first year postdocs.)
- 40% of Biology Ph.D.'s are still postdocs 4 years after receiving their
- Two years after receiving their advanced degrees, only 13% of Ph.D.s
have permanent, career-track positions.
University of California
at San Francisco Postdoctoral Scholars Association.
Albert Einstein College of
Medicine Postdoctoral Association.
Postdoctoral Association of
the University of Calgary.
of Ottawa Research Associate and Postdoctoral Fellows Association.
The NIH Postdoctoral/Clinical
Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral
This page was last updated on August 28, 1998.
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