Improving the Postdoctoral Experience

Ned Shaw

Editor's note: Responding to readers' concerns about treatment of postdoctoral fellows in US academic life science labs, The Scientist invited the National Postdoctoral Association to participate in an online discussion with science policy leaders. Attendees included Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation; economist Richard Freeman, Harvard University; Michael Gottesman, deputy director for Intramural Research, National Institutes of Health; Xenia Morin, Keck Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer in biology and chemistry, Bryn Mawr College; Avron D. Spier, CEO, Allon Therapeutics; Claudina Aleman Stevenson, visiting scientist, Tufts University School of Medicine. What follows is an excerpt of that discussion.

Rita Colwell: I do suggest a fundamental question we should ask to judge the quality of the postdoctoral experience: Namely, is it providing the scientific and professional skills that will advance their professional careers? As postdocs, these professionals make significant contributions. Their compensation and benefit packages...

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