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 Principal Legislative Analyst in the University of California (UC) Office of Federal Governmental Relations, where she serves as an advocate for UC with Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. Prior to this position, Adriana was a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at The Society for Neuroscience (SfN), where she provided staff support for special and ongoing projects, including SfN’s annual lobby event and the society’s annual meeting. In addition to working at UC, Adriana also serves as Vice-President of Future of Research, and is Chief Outreach Officer at the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. Adriana obtained her PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University and a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.
Christina Szalinski is a science writer with a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.