US postdocs happy, but...

Pilot survey to be released today finds structural issues, difficulties for non-citizens

Trevor Stokes(ts42@nyu.edu)
Apr 15, 2004

Most US postdocs are fairly content, according to results from a pilot survey by Sigma Xi to be presented today (April 16) at the second annual meeting of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in Washington, DC. However, noncitizens are less positive, and many respondents noted a lack of training in non-research areas, among other complaints.

Survey leader Geoff Davis, visiting scholar at Sigma Xi, told The Scientist that “eyeballing the data, the majority of postdocs are satisfied with their experience.” The majority of the 750 respondents—of 2000 asked to participate—rated their advisors highly overall. Davis did not release specific results.

But respondents noted a lack of formal training for work that “isn't directly involved in research,” such as communication, management, and teaching, Davis said. Only about half of respondents viewed their positions as “primarily for the purpose of training in research or scholarship.”

Noncitizens were less happy with their postdoctoral...

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