A Closer Look

Young US Scientists – Too few university jobs

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don’t actually exist.Capture d’écran 2014-09-16 à 10.02.17

Academic institutions graduate an overabundance of biomedical Ph.D.s — and this imbalance is only getting worse, as research funding from the National Institutes of Health continues to wither…

American science couldn’t survive without this shadow labor force of some 40,000 postdocs. But only about 15 percent will get tenure-track jobs, heading a lab like the one where Hubbard-Lucey works today. This was not at all what she expected when she started down this path a decade ago…

In fact the situation hasn’t gotten better. It’s worse. Support for biomedical research has declined by more than 20 percent in real dollars over the past decade. And even in good times, postdocs had a raw deal.

The entire system is built around the false idea that all these scientists-in-training are headed to university professorships.

“That’s obviously unsustainable,” says Keith Micoli, who heads the postdoc program at the NYU Medical Center. “You can’t have one manager training 10 subordinates who think they are all going to take over that boss’ position someday. That’s mathematically impossible.”

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Too few university jobs for young US scientists | Minnesota Public Radio News.

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