What is the future of the postdoc?? Kendall Powell has the grim reality and some possible solutions! #science

Check out this amazing Nature piece by Kendall Powell – “The Future of the Postdoc.” Powell spells out the grim position of the current postdoc, but also discusses a number of options to help solve the postdoc crisis!

These highly skilled scientists are a major engine driving scientific research, yet they are often poorly rewarded and have no way to progress in academia. The number of postdocs in science has ballooned: in the United States alone, it jumped by 150% between 2000 and 2012. But the number of tenured and other full-time faculty positions has plateaued and, in some places, it is even shrinking (see Nature 472, 276–279; 2011). Many postdocs move on to fulfilling careers elsewhere, but those who want to continue in research can find themselves thwarted. They end up trapped as ‘permadocs’: doing multiple postdoc terms, staying in these positions for many years and, in a small but significant proportion, never leaving them. Of the more than 40,000 US postdocs in 2013, almost 4,000 had been so for more than 6 years (see ‘The postdoc pile-up’).

After reading, be sure to participate in the the Nature poll about how to fix the broken postdoc system (embedded in the story).

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