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Opinion: The Postdoc Challenge

Financial hardships of young scientists in training are forcing many talented researchers to find new careers.

By | August 1, 2012

image: Opinion: The Postdoc Challenge National Center for Research Resources

In 2009, as a graduate student that lived on a $19,000 annual stipend in New York City, I did not worry about being unable to readily afford the laptop and printer that would help me write my thesis. I would just charge them to a credit card that I could pay off after I had earned my degree and had landed a competitive postdoctoral position that would help me pay for my graduate school investments. As a postdoc, I thought that I would also be able to help pay for my aging father’s medical bills. It was a promising plan, but one that I soon realized was far from reality.

It is no secret that postdoctoral training in the academic life sciences is now lasting longer than it was just a decade ago.  Indeed, a typical postdoc is now estimated to be greater than 3 years with some lasting as long as 7 to 10 years, while the position used to average just 1 to 2 years. This increased duration has been attributed to a number of factors, including a surplus of qualified PhDs, the scarcity of federal research dollars, and a decrease in faculty appointments and positions in industry.  While extended postdoctoral training does offer an opportunity to advance a personal research program so as to be more competitive in securing future independent funding, it comes at a cost—the incredible financial challenges that accompany life as a postdoctoral fellow.

In conversations over the past 8 years with many academic postdocs at universities, medical centers, and government agencies, I have heard over and over again that the primary source of job dissatisfaction is not research- or lab-related, but salary-related.  Indeed, although most postdocs are creative when it comes to living within their means, it is a financially strenuous period that is characterized by the constant struggle to make ends meet. This is in no small part because postdoctoral training typically coincides with major life events such as getting married, having children, beginning to care for aging parents, and/or paying hefty student loans. In a recent conversation with a group a postdocs about this issue, one mentioned to me that she hesitated having a second child because the costs of baby diapers and formula would dramatically change the budget of other necessities such as gas, food, and extra daycare services for the first child.  A second postdoc mentioned that he was afraid of the continuously rising cost of his health insurance premium because it would mean less money for raising his family.

These conversations highlight a major source of personal dissatisfaction and emphasize that our pay scale—the current National Institutes of Health stipend for the entry-level postdoctoral fellow is $39,264 a year—does not reflect our training levels and professional experience. Furthermore, there is no merit-based promotion; the stipend just increases yearly by a few hundred dollars. Additionally, many postdocs do not enjoy the common benefits of industry employment,(especially if institutions treat postdocs as outside contractors) such as retirement plans, comprehensive health insurance plans, commuter benefits and any additional perks that a job in industry might offer.

When professionals outside of the life sciences learn what postdocs make, the reaction is often, “Why do you continue your career as a scientist?” Indeed, the odds of succeeding in academic research are quite grim. According to the NIH, only 26 percent of biomedical sciences PhD recipients in 2012 obtained tenured track positions, down from an already low 34 percent in 1993. And a 2010 article published in The Economist reported that between 2005 and 2009, “America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees. In the same period, there were only 16,000 new professorships.”  As a result, many talented scientists are choosing to abandon their careers in the life sciences in pursuit of more lucrative opportunities.

The solution to this problem is not easy an one, but there may be some ways that could help offset low stipend levels. For instance, academic institutions could pair up with industry or government to create transition programs to help postdocs move into positions outside of academia. Additionally, financial counseling offered by institutions could alleviate some of the financial anxiety by helping postdocs start retirement plans, even if it means using some of their stipend money.

Strategies to correct the imbalance of incoming scientists to available jobs would also help by shortening the average length of postdocs. Reducing class sizes in graduate programs and setting guidelines as to when older faculty should start thinking about retirement are two possibilities. The NIH acknowledges the problems caused by this bottleneck, but has yet to take any action to correct it. Perhaps the agency should reevaluate the current stipend and grant funding systems in order to limit the numbers of PhDs it supports in academia.

It is clear that something must be done but changes in a system that has been in place for so long and has trained many successful scientists will take time. It is important that these issues continue to be raised by postdoctoral organizations and presented to government agencies as well as the general public to inform them of the value of our training and the current deficiencies of the existing system.  What attracts us most a career in science is the passion for experimentation and the pursuit of truth. With the same rigor, we should continue discuss these issues publically, and we will see positive results.

Magdia De Jesus is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Life Science Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Wadsworth Center, NYS Department of Health in Albany, New York.

Thank you to all the postdocs in the Mantis laboratory that inspired this opinion piece.

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Avatar of: Mel Toumi

Mel Toumi

Posts: 1457

August 1, 2012

be careful for what you wish for - We have mandatory retirement plans for postdocs, so now $220 a month comes out of my food budget to pay for a retirement (of a career I have yet to even have). Ridiculous. 

Avatar of: RedoneMore

RedoneMore

Posts: 2

August 1, 2012

"The NIH acknowledges the problems caused by this bottleneck, but has yet to take any action to correct it."  The mission of the NIH is to advance biomedical science and foster new therapeutics to the greatest degree possible given the funds they are provided.  You are suggesting that they view a large number of highly trained workers that work for relatively low wages and benefits for increasing periods of time as a problem.  I believe that from the NIH point of view the bottleneck is a huge financial advantage.  They are still having no problems filling grad programs, publications are up, and the NIH is receiving more grant proposals to chose from than they ever have before.  That said, they are obviously trying to fix other issues with the current culture, particularly the extremely long terms of some "training" periods, but even those fixes are only driving the excess talent elsewhere, in this case into the rising ranks of Research Associates or Research Assistant Professors.    So I guess what I am saying is, if you are going to wait for the NIH to decide that postdocs must be paid better because it is "fair" you have a very, very. very long wait ahead.

Avatar of: DS

DS

Posts: 1457

August 1, 2012

The core problem is the superabundance of foreign-born grad students in the sciences and engineering. Akin to the influx of Mexican immigrants into the US workforce, foreign grad students have swelled the supply of educated and trained applicants for PhD-level job opportunities in academia, government and industry. 

Other nations value and protect advanced education-based job opportunities. In the US, not only do foreign grads and postdocts vastly outnumber their domestic counterparts, the scarcity of available position and level of competition for open positions is swelled by a significant influx of experienced foreign-born mid-career and senior scientists (particularly from Europe and the former Soviet Union).

Universities want it both ways - they function as a resource of highly educated and trained applicants for STEM jobs in the US but they also treat foreign applicants as a cash cows (cheap lab labor) by charging premiums for credit hours and fees (out of state/foreign tuition rates), levied against grant award overhead/indrect cost allocations. 

If corporate tax breaks were restructured as a funding source for shifting the cost burden of science and technology research innovation from the backs of government to the sector that benefits the most from research infrastructure investment, then it might be possible to pay grad students a realistic wage and also attract and retain more domestic students in STEM degree and postgrad training programs - and more importantly, create job opportunities within the corporate structure because postdocs would receive training specific to corporate sponsor needs.  The last is a major gripe of industrial sector that claims grads and postdoc training is often irrevelant to industry needs.

Avatar of: Michael Holloway

Michael Holloway

Posts: 36

August 1, 2012

Major reason the NIH isn't doing anything: Many in academia and industry still stubbornly insist that there's a shortage of PhDs coming out of US grad schools.  This lobbying for more cheap labor has been going on for decades even while it became  increasingly obvious that there is a huge overproduction of life science PhDs.  Biotech in particular seems to have it permanently branded into their minds that only cheap foreign labor will do, so they have to make the case that there aren't enough native qualified applicants before they can get their visas.
And yes, it is indeed the job of the NIH to oversee the health of the country's life science research effort.  The entire master/apprentice model of single PI bench research needs to be replaced with something sustainable.  Only the funding and coordinating agency can do that.  Letting things sit and rot should not be an option.

Avatar of: Jeff Frelinger

Jeff Frelinger

Posts: 1457

August 1, 2012

IMHO  the problems described are not new.  Postdocs were always poorly paid.  They could not afford day care.  For most of my contemporary couples with kids, one stipend paid for day care and they lived on the other.  Stipends have fallen behind a bit, but it is discipline specific.  Informatics postdocs get 50% more than wet lab types- CAUTION OLD FART ALERT-when I was a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow my stipend was about 50% of an Assistant professor salary and twice a grad students.  It's not far off that now. 

I see the real problem is we are training too many graduate students and too many who are not viscerally committed to science.  This is a direct effect of our lab wrok force structure.  Shirely Tillman is right.  We need to change the work force structure.  NIH grant strucure drives PIs to employ graduate students as opposed to highly experienced techs or Research Associates.  Budget cuts don't help.  PIs know that there is more likley to be instituional backup of a grad students salary than a techs.  All this distorts the workforce decisions.

Avatar of: Bill

Bill

Posts: 1457

August 1, 2012

 Nailed it.

Avatar of: RedoneMore

RedoneMore

Posts: 2

August 1, 2012

Again, it is only a problem for those grad students, and those immediately above them that will be competing for the same jobs.  From the NIH standpoint more people in means a more competitive environment and a better chance that the winners they pick will actually be winners.  When they lose a large number of students they have lost only the small amount of money they actually spent to train them (via training grants, etc...) and potential talent (which they could not have kept in funds anyway) but have gained a larger pool to pick grant receivers from, the work the students did towards established grants during training, and an incremental increase in the number of people who both support and understand biomedical science.  They can only lose if grad students stop enrolling and as bad as the situation currently is we still have legions of enthusiastic waifs just hoping for the chance to enter our program.  How about yours?

August 2, 2012

 Guess it depends on what the rejected people tell their friends and family .. Keep draining people dry and maybe others will learn from their lesson. Might take a decade or two..

Avatar of: Michael

Michael

Posts: 1457

August 2, 2012

I'm not going to be very politically correct here, but let's address a true problem.  There is a glut of foreign PhDs that come for postdoctoral training in the US.  Not only does this increase the supply of available postdocs, but also drives down salaries for all.  In my lab, foreign postdocs would sacrifice salary for the hopes of a future green card.  As a “minorityâ€쳌 American postdoc in my institution, this was shocking to me.  PIs know about and exploit this truth.  In addition, at least in my experience, few PIs put your career development ahead of their own, and postdocs get stuck in longer “training.â€쳌  I really don't think the system will ever change, therefore I made the change and left science altogether.  :-(

Avatar of: Michael

Michael

Posts: 1457

August 2, 2012

I'm not going to be very politically correct here, but let's address a true problem.  There is a glut of foreign PhDs that come for postdoctoral training in the US.  Not only does this increase the supply of available postdocs, but also drives down salaries for all.  In my lab, foreign postdocs would sacrifice salary for the hopes of a future green card.  As a “minorityâ€쳌 American postdoc in my institution, this was shocking to me.  PIs know about and exploit this truth.  In addition, at least in my experience, few PIs put your career development ahead of their own, and postdocs get stuck in longer “training.â€쳌  I really don't think the system will ever change, therefore I made the change and left science altogether.  :-(

Avatar of: Bill

Bill

Posts: 1457

August 4, 2012

 Also true.  I've been told by many Chinese post-docs that do a post-doc, particularly in molecular biology, cell bio, etc., is the easiest way to get into the US.

Avatar of: FJScientist

FJScientist

Posts: 52

August 4, 2012

The article describes an issue we all need to think long and hard about. That discussion needs a proper statement of facts, followed by a rather cold-hearted look of where we are now and where it appears we will go. Unfortunately, a plea to 'Give me a job and pay me more' is just not going to happen.
 
Let’s clear up the misconception prevalent in the article that somehow things are so much worse today that they ever were. I could even argue that, because of the revolutions at least in the biotech and information fields, there are far more opportunities today if the scientist is willing to be flexible. What is different is that those opportunities raised expectations higher amongst today’s post-docs than the post-docs of 25-30 years ago.
 
The writer seems to be in the biologic sciences. Contrary to the article’s tone, postdoctoral fellowships today ($39,264 to $49,884 for years 0 to 5 on the NIH scale) are not dramatically lower than the $12,000 to $14,000 of 25 years ago. In fact, with a median HOUSEHOLD income of $49,777 in the US (2010 census data, trending down), you might have a hard time convincing many in the US that your fellowship constitutes a low remittance. The difference here is expectation. ‘I can’t believe I am getting any payment to support my passion’ versus ‘I went through all of that schooling for that?’. Your sense of how bad things are revolves around those polar opposite perceptions.
 
Yes, many are struggling today to get their dream jobs. The biotech revolution resulted in an influx of people into the field. Sadly, not all were as motivated or were otherwise ill- equipped to compete with the small pool for whom science was an extreme passion. So, we now have a disappointed cohort of people who entered the field thinking ‘All I need to do is put in my time and there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’. That is no different than before. The extremely motivated and gifted select good projects (yes, that is an essential skill) and still getting good jobs after short post-docs. And there have always been the proverbial marine biologists driving taxis sometimes because of bad luck and sometimes because they should be driving taxis.
 
On another note, I just want to say that I am offended by those posting the claim that some foreigner has taken ‘their’ post-doc or reduced their salary. You have been educated and trained at someone else’s expense. That does not entitle you to a position in perpetuity. You have to be able to compete. If those foreigners do well and are better able to push things forward, then the US is well served by encouraging them to stay. That dynamic has been the engine of US growth since its inception.

Avatar of: Michael Holloway

Michael Holloway

Posts: 36

August 5, 2012

There's just a small chance that you really are just confused, because there is a significant difference between the career prospects of PhDs in some fields of chemistry, engineering and physics and those of the life sciences.  On the other hand, you could just be one of those cynical so and sos who believe they're profiting from having a very large pool of applicants to fill a shrinking number of positions.  It would take a very special person to look at the rapidly shrinking percentage of grant applications that can be accommodated by the level (and soon to be shrinking) budget, the rapidly growing number of grant applications competing for a piece of the research budget, and the ever growing number of PhDs competing for jobs (both academic and private) the number of which are going in the other direction AND THEN turn to an undergraduate and claim that now is a great time to make a career in the life sciences.  A very special person.

What we are saying, just to be clear, is that there needs to be better planning and management of the life science research workforce.  We could start with being honest with, and concerned for, the people who've given their lives to work in the field.  You can obfuscate all you want, go ahead, call us greedy, but we just don't think that an exponential growth of PhDs is helping anyone, yes, not even those people who seem to think that they need a huge excess. A research effort this deep in cynicism is in no way healthy.

Avatar of: Michael

Michael

Posts: 1457

August 6, 2012

Perpetuity...who said anything about perpetual employment, unless you mean perpetual postdoc?  Anywho, I was in fact able to compete with "those foreigners" just fine.  Actually, my project and publications fostered their work.  In addition, I took great pride in helping them acclimate to this country and its workings.  I was a friend, mentor and editor (since their command of the English language was poor).  Many consider science as a coal mine or a field of crops, and postdocs are the mules that get the grunt work done.  My foreign colleagues would live their lives inside the lab.  Although deeply committed to science, I have a wife, family/friends and mortgage so this mule didn’t work countless hours, although it sure felt like it.  You comment on the engine of US growth, well I could accomplish more in less time (than my foreign counterparts)…that’s called efficiency…shouldn’t I be rewarded (not perpetually of course) for that?

Avatar of: Katalin06

Katalin06

Posts: 2

August 7, 2012

"In fact, with a median HOUSEHOLD income of $49,777 in the US (2010
census data, trending down), you might have a hard time convincing many
in the US that your fellowship constitutes a low remittance."

This median number doesn't really mean anything unless you put it in the context of the place where one lives. If you live in NYC (as the author of the article mentioned), and you have to pay about $2000 rent per month, plus possibly childcare costs after one or two children ($1200 each), then yes you will be struggling financially.

Avatar of: FJScientist

FJScientist

Posts: 52

August 7, 2012

I think we all agree this is a complex problem that needs careful thought. My comments dealt specifically with the article's major stated sentiment that, for post-docs, "the primary source of job dissatisfaction is not research- or lab-related, but salary-related." In our agreement about the complexities of the issue, I and other posters pointed out that post-doctoral fellowships are monetarily about where they were 2-3 decades ago, maybe even a little better. 

The other sentiment of the article highlights that there are more scientists in training than career prospects. I wish it were not so. But that again is not new, except perhaps in recent history which skewed the expectations of today's post-docs. In the 1990s, many could find a biotech job. That provided the temporary illusion that high-paying jobs were available for all and entered training under that spell. The doubling of NIH funding in the 1990s also strengthened that illusion. Then, the doubling stopped and funding even reversed. That has left many of today's post-docs disappointed and disillusioned.

Michael mentions a failure in 'planning'. Planning for science training requires one to know the future ten years from now. Planning also usually involves some sort of pre-selection based upon those long-term projections that leaves many worthwhile candidates without the option to even pursue their dreams. Yes, we may actually be doing them a favor as Michael seems to suggest. But, then who is being the cynic? I personally wanted the opportunity to see if I could have a career in science. 

I think we all agree that today's post-docs and students need to be better educated about their career prospects. Again, planning was impossible and difficult to project, although there were articles fifteen years ago warning about what happens when the doubling stops. Some thought though that the biotech industry would continue its expansion. Who knew that odd finanical schemes would topple the world's economies? So, the heart of the matter is that we now have more scientists at all levels with insufficient job opportunities. That is not much different than the person who went into nursing five years ago because there was a shortage of nurses only to find out now that there is a surplus. Or, perhaps more similarly, engineers in the defense industry who were out of a job when the cold war ended.

The response of the scientific community to date in the US has been to ask the government for more funding. As that doesn't seem to be bearing fruit, we realistically need to think of the alternatives, which is what the article and Michael are looking towards. But that will not change the situation for today's post-docs and trainees. For them, the article suggests that we need to 'correct the imbalance of incoming scientists to available jobs ... by shortening the average length of postdocs.' Let's be clear about what that really means since it is draconian--when your training time is up and you have no job, you have come to the end of the line. That actually means letting post-docs go rather than keeping on those that have failed in this endeavor. Again, 2-3 decades ago, that was normal. My experience is that many of today's failed post-docs though do not want that. Instead, they are asking their PIs to stay on which ultimately is not sustainable (and certainly not congruent with a major increase in pay level). This article starts a discussion about this unfortunate reality.

Avatar of: Katalin06

Katalin06

Posts: 2

August 7, 2012

These problems are indeed not new, but they are getting worse, due to shortage in funding, and current scientific policies. It is obvious that in the last five years  there was a dramatic decrease in the number of available tenure-track faculty positions that postdocs could apply for. Oddly enough, there is not much interest from already established investigators to
mentor and promote their postdocs to become independent, since they might be worried about themselves (might see potential competitors in postdocs if they become independent, don't want projects to be taken from the lab, etc). Often, instead of retiring, aging PIs have
postdocs write their grants, at the same time doing the experiments as well, and do their paper or grant reviews, while
they enjoy the life (and salary) of an established tenure-track investigator. On top of everything, nobody at NIH ever checks who writes the grants that they fund, moreover, they are more willing to give the money to somebody who is in the field for 40+ years and preferably has a few other grants as well (indicators of fundability). In other words, whoever has more, gets more, and more and more young faculty or senior postdoc find their situation impossible, or very hard to stay in academia. Also, PIs are not willing to pay as much for senior postdocs as they should be given based on their years of experience and the NIH payline, since they are better off hiring graduate students or inexperienced research associates to save money.
Not to mention that since the postdoc period is getting longer and longer, for many postdocs (especially women) this coincides with the period of having kids, which could be a total financial disaster without help from parents or relatives etc, given the current childcare costs which could equal to the price of another rent to pay each month...

Avatar of: blub blubber

blub blubber

Posts: 4

August 7, 2012

The problem isn't that there aren't enough professorships around. It's the backup positions (the ones "more lucrative" than post docs that the author is talking about) that are lacking. There used to be research positions in industry. For example, in Basel, Switzerland there were 6 different pharmaceutical/chemical companies that all did research. Anyone with a decent Ph.D. would find a job there... reasonably well paid. Now there is Roche and Novartis only and landing a job there with a Ph.D. is almost as difficult as getting an Assistant Professorship. Merck and Pfizer kicked out more than 3000 people in the New York/New Jersey region lately. An enormous strain on the local job market. I think that the NIH is funding too much applied research, which used to be done by industry, instead of the money going to the NSF to do basic research. Pharma essentially behaves like a bank with a phase trial hospital and cheap Post-Docs find another interaction with p53 instead of chasing the functions of ~ 40% of the genes which carry "domain of unknown function" modules... Have Pharma find their own leads again and all will be well...

Avatar of: Michael Holloway

Michael Holloway

Posts: 36

August 8, 2012

The major cause of PhD unemployment isn't the decrease in biotech jobs, which is certainly real and deplorable, but the exponential increase in PhDs being produced resulting in a ridiculous number of qualified applicants competing for a limited number of jobs.  This far outstrips any contribution from decreased biotech jobs.  This tragic outcome is completely the fault of our life science "leaders" insisting over the last several decades that an exponential increase in PhDs is necessary in order to avert a dreaded PhD short fall when all they were really concerned about was maintaining an ample supply of cheap grad student and postdoc labor.  There was never any danger of having too few PhDs in the life sciences.

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

August 8, 2012

We just had a nurse pull in a quarter million dollar year. If a person gets a PhD and isn't getting paid what they feel is 'fair' , one might wonder WHAT they WOULD seem fair ?

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

August 8, 2012

This was before we knew that long hours made for poor performance ?

"Boom time in the NHS sees first nurse paid £100,000"
"Some in the Regina Qu'appelle Health Region are pulling in between $180,000-$250,000 a year"
"News that a nurse made $250,000 alarmed us not because of the size of the payment but the way such a sum was earned. He works 12, 12.5-hour shifts a month, apparently works four weekends in a row, and picks up 12 more shifts by working overtime. The legislation to limit the working day to eight or nine hours, which was fought for so bitterly by trade unions two centuries ago, was to prevent this way of working. It was considered exploitative and, in many trades, to be dangerous. As a result, industrial accidents have declined. Now, however, excessively long hours seem to be permitted in hospitals".

Avatar of: blub blubber

blub blubber

Posts: 4

August 9, 2012

Too many life science Ph.D.s? That's stating the obvious. Cut the visas and increase the academic requirements and this problem would be solved within a year (maybe 2?). Productivity would go up b/c PIs would run their good projects first. Also, some European and Chinese ( Brits, too, I think) Post-Docs don't pay taxes the first 3 years on an H-1B. They get thus 45 k more/ 3 years than Americans or Europeans without tax treaty. A tax-treaty Post-Doc couple will have 90k more than the American one after 3 y, which is a down payment on a house in the Midwest. Treating everybody's taxes the same would already help a little to curb the appetite for a post-doc position here. Few American biologists with student loans can actually afford to get a Ph.D., those who have the brains get an M.D., making an average American non-elite Ph.D. student or Post-Doc cheap for the lab (almost everybody w/ an American passport gets a training grant) but 2nd rate. (Not talking about you of course, dear reader.) The good thing about the NIH drought is that not-so-good labs (and quite a few older PIs) in grant hunting private institutions are closed, which automatically reduces the number of Grad students and Post-Docs.

Crowding out privately funded initiatives by the NIH instead of doing basic research IS a factor. We don't make the strides we should in basic research but work on what we already have until Pharma does literature searches instead of screens. Hsap is sequenced since 2000 or so and we don't even know how many genes we really have. Enzymology is brutally behind (have you met any real biochemists these days?) Cis-platin from 1970 is still in use in cancer therapy, solid tumors - almost no advances. Everybody does expensive mouse models knocking out genes that haven't been studied in Drosophila or the worm first... So yes, you are right but that would all be relatively quickly remedied if we had the will to do it. I think even Pharma execs would actually like to go back to the 80ies and early 90ies when life wasn't quite that boring (i.e. the CFO more important than the CSO) and research was more expensive than marketing.

Avatar of: Rebecca Roston

Rebecca Roston

Posts: 1457

August 15, 2012

In fact, your use of "median household income" is also skewed. As the
median households of America include both retirees and youths still in
college. As of the 2009 US Census Bureau's publication
(http://www.census.gov/compendi..., the
median income for householders of 25 - 34 was $50,312, for 35 - 44 was $65,196. As an alternative measure, median income of a two-earner family was $85,299.

Also to consider is that most of the post-docs that I know would be
thrilled to be paid the NIH-suggested salary. Neither I nor my immediate
friends are. Further, that we are expected to move across country or
world with no expectation of moving costs being covered, or assurance
that our significant others (when present) will be able to find work.

Personally, I am a motivated post-doc scientist that wants to continue
researching. However, not a day goes by that I don't consider the cost
to my family. Although I have received multiple awards for my research,
and published multiple papers, I still consider leaving.

THIS is where I think the problem lies. We are simply not selecting for
the best scientists anymore. Many smart, competitive scientists are
leaving for better working conditions. If we select only for the
stubborn, not the smart, what is the future of our nation's research????

Avatar of: Matt

Matt

Posts: 1

September 3, 2012

Me and most of friends who did a scientific education, have left science for business careers, while considering going back to science in the future, if we can make enough money to be independently wealthy.

Avatar of: exvol

exvol

Posts: 1

May 22, 2014

This is exactly the reason why I am leaving my postdoc and academia this month. We just had our second child and are on the fast track to being broke.  All the while, I have not had a real vacation (not associated with a conference) in over 7 years.  I am looking forward to having a life again soon.

 

 

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