National Academy of Sciences

To enhance, disseminate, and implement the findings of a study about improving postdoctoral training and career prospects

  • Amount $200,000
  • City Washington, DC
  • Investigator Kevin Finneran
  • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
  • Year 2012
  • Program Economics
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

Much research in the United States depends on the labor of postdoctoral fellows. Yet system for hiring, training, and compensating postdocs, however, is far from healthy. There were more than 50,000 postdocs in the United States in 2003. Their median salary was just $38,000, a meager amount considering that many are aged 30 or above and have devoted years to specialized training. Many have no health insurance and receive no career training. This grant provides support a report by the National Academy of Science's Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) that examines the strengths and weaknesses of the postdoctoral system in the United States and makes recommendations for its improvement. Grant funds will support data collection and analysis, as well as for two workshops to engage academic leaders, research funders, and postdoctoral fellows about the committee's findings. Additional funds will support a project to compile and analyze comprehensive data on U.S. postdoctoral fellows' immigration status and career outcomes.

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