Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers:: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies

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National Academies Press, Sep 8, 2000 - Education - 212 pages
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The concept of postdoctoral training came to science and engineering about a century ago. Since the 1960s, the performance of research in the United States has increasingly relied on these recent PhDs who work on a full-time, but on a temporary basis, to gain additional research experience in preparation for a professional research career.

Such experiences are increasingly seen as central to careers in research, but for many, the postdoctoral experience falls short of expectations. Some postdocs indicate that they have not received the recognition, standing or compensation that is commensurate with their experience and skills. Is this the case? If so, how can the postdoctoral experience be enhanced for the over 40,000 individuals who hold these positions at university, government, and industry laboratories?

This new book offers its assessment of the postdoctoral experience and provides principles, action points, and recommendations for enhancing that experience.

  

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Contents

Postdoctoral Scholars in US Institutions
4
A changing pattern
6
The importance of postdocs to research
10
Postdoctoral terms
11
Multiple postdoctoral positions
12
Variations by field and sector
14
Increasing age
18
SUMMARY POINTS
20
The Postdoc and the Institution
70
Variations in titles
72
INCORPORATING THE POSTDOC INTO THE INSTITUTION
74
Establishing a postdoctoral office
75
Career guidance
77
Benefits
78
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE INSTITUTION
79
Mentoring committees
80

Features of the Postdoctoral Population
21
POSTDOCS IN DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES
22
SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR POSTDOCS
26
POSTDOCS IN DIFFERENT SECTORS
29
Postdocs in industry
30
Postdocs abroad
31
Women postdocs
33
SUMMARY POINTS
41
Rights Opportunities and Responsibilities of the Postdoc
42
Higher compensation
44
Mentoring
46
Multiple mentors
48
OPPORTUNITIES OF POSTDOCTORAL EXPERIENCE
49
Professional meetings
50
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A POSTDOC
51
SHAPING A CAREER
52
Developing career skills
53
SUMMARY POINTS
54
The Postdoc and the Adviser
57
Benefits for the postdoc
58
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ADVISER
59
Research guidance
60
Advancing the career
61
Balancing the needs of the program and the needs of the postdoc
62
Communication
64
Ethical and proprietary issues
65
Finding a regular job
67
SUMMARY POINTS
69
Ethical development
81
The role of the ombudsperson
82
Postdoctoral associations
83
Stabilizing the postdoctoral population
84
Informing graduate students about the postdoctoral experience
86
SUMMARY POINTS
87
The Postdoc and the Funding Organization
88
SOURCES OF FUNDING
89
OPPORTUNITIES OF FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS
90
Promoting best practices
91
Addressing some inequities of funding
92
SUMMARY POINTS
94
The Postdoc and the Disciplinary Societies
95
Principles Action Points and Recommendations for Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience
97
PRINCIPLES
98
ACTION POINTS
99
RECOMMENDATIONS
100
Institutions
101
Funding Organizations
104
Disciplinary Societies
108
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE
109
Bibliography
110
Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy Member and Staff Biographical Information
115
Analysis of Quantitative Data on Postdocs
122
Results of Survey of Organizations with Postdoctoral Scholars
138
Summary of Workshop on Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience
159
Summary of Results from Institutional Focus Groups
175
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Page vii - Its 1993 report, Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era, emphasized the importance of human resources to the research enterprise. A second report, Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers (1995), urged institutions to offer graduate students...

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