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The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited builds on the 2000 report Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers. That ground-breaking report assessed the postdoctoral experience and provided principles, action points, and recommendations to enhance that experience. Since the publication of the 2000 report, the postdoctoral landscape has changed considerably. The percentage of PhDs who pursue postdoctoral training is growing steadily and spreading from the biomedical and physical sciences to engineering and the social sciences. The average length of time spent in postdoctoral positions seems to be increasing. The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited reexamines postdoctoral programs in the United States, focusing on how postdocs are being guided and managed, how institutional practices have changed, and what happens to postdocs after they complete their programs. This book explores important changes that have occurred in postdoctoral practices and the research ecosystem and assesses how well current practices meet the needs of these fledgling scientists and engineers and of the research enterprise.

The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited takes a fresh look at current postdoctoral fellows - how many there are, where they are working, in what fields, and for how many years. This book makes recommendations to improve aspects of programs - postdoctoral period of service, title and role, career development, compensation and benefits, and mentoring. Current data on demographics, career aspirations, and career outcomes for postdocs are limited. This report makes the case for better data collection by research institution and data sharing.

A larger goal of this study is not only to propose ways to make the postdoctoral system better for the postdoctoral researchers themselves but also to better understand the role that postdoctoral training plays in the research enterprise. It is also to ask whether there are alternative ways to satisfy some of the research and career development needs of postdoctoral researchers that are now being met with several years of advanced training. Postdoctoral researchers are the future of the research enterprise. The discussion and recommendations of The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited will stimulate action toward clarifying the role of postdoctoral researchers and improving their status and experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309314466
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 01/09/2015
Pages: 122
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

Table of Contents

Summary 1

1 Introduction 11

2 The Disconnect Between the Ideal and Reality 17

Historical Perspective 18

A Basic Definition 20

The Current Reality 21

Demographic Shifts 28

Context 31

3 Changing Aspects of the Postdoctoral Experience 33

Actions Inspired by the 2000 Postdoctoral Report 33

Institutional Changes in the Postdoctoral Enterprise 39

International Aspects of the Postdoctoral Experience 47

Recent Reports 49

Adapting to Reality 51

4 The Shifting Career Landscape 53

Understanding the Career Development Options 53

Postdoctoral Researchers Supply and Use 60

Salary 61

Informing Decisions 65

5 Recommendations 67

Potential Implementation and Best Practices 75

References 79

Appendixes 87

Appendix A Unique Challenges of International Postdoctoral Researchers in the United States 89

Appendix B Determination of the Minimum Salary Figure 93

Appendix C Stakeholder Speakers 97

Appendix D Acronyms 99

Appendix E Committee Member Biographies 103

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