UK postdocs eye contract changes

New rules ensuring more long-term employment are due to come into force in July; the country?s first national postdoc body is formed

Stephen Pincock
May 31, 2006
Britain's postdoctoral researchers are watching closely to see how universities implement European Union laws designed to help employees obtain open-ended contracts, postdoc leaders have told The Scientist. However, some say they do not have high hopes."It's going to be an interesting summer," Paul Andrews, a cell biologist who co-chairs the School of Life Sciences Postdoc Association at the University of Dundee, told The Scientist. "It is a great unknown at the moment because every university seems to have a subtly different approach" to increasing open-ended contracts, he added.Due to come into force on July 10, the new laws are supposed to ensure that staff members are moved into open-ended contracts after serving on fixed-term contracts for four years.Despite the supposed benefits of the new law, some postdocs fear it could have a negative effect on their careers, Andrews noted. "Speaking to postdocs at other universities," he said, "it...

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