NIH and NSF define a postdoc as “an individual who has received a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and is engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training to enhance the professional skills and research independence needed to pursue his or her chosen career path.” Postdocs face many issues including salary, benefits, and career development, especially the lack of career-focused, mentored training.
Recently, there has been increased awareness of issues faced by postdocs, and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) plays a crucial part in taking action to combat these issues via its various member-led committees. An ongoing, evolving conversation on postdoc issues takes place every year at the NPA Annual Meeting, in the Future of Research symposia, among others. Although not all postdocs can attend these meetings, they can still join in the conversation.
The NPA Advocacy Committee is currently conducting a short survey to assess what postdocs think is most important for their training, career planning, and environment, and how the NPA can help them enact needed changes and achieve their goals. The outcomes of this survey will be discussed during an Innovation in Action session at the 2016 NPA Annual Meeting, and will be critical in improving the national postdoctoral experience. Please answer and further promote the survey (deadline February 24, 2016) so that we can better understand and serve the needs of postdocs nationally.
About the Author:
Adriana Bankston is a member of the Board of Directors at Future of Research (FoR), a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion, engage, and empower early career scientists with evidence-based resources to improve the scientific research endeavor. Her goals are to promote science policy and advocacy for junior scientists, and to gather and present data on various issues in the current scientific system. She can be reached via LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/in/adrianabankston) or on Twitter (@AdrianaBankston).
Christina Szalinski is a science writer with a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.