Today, President Bush is scheduled to sign the linkurl:America COMPETES Act; (the full title is "American Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act"). The new legislation would approximately double NSF funding over the next five years (which linkurl:some say; could be a bad idea for scientists). Nestled with that 500-page document is a 15-line provision (section 7008) that requires NSF applicants to describe how they will mentor their postdocs. The Act suggests that mentoring activities include things such as career counseling, guidance on teaching skills, and training in research ethics. Each applicant's mentoring plan would be evaluated as part of the broader impact merit review. What does all this really mean for postdocs? Bobby Mixon, a spokesperson for the NSF says that it's too early to really say how the NSF will interpret and implement that provision. But he says, "once [the president] signs it,...

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