Created by on 9/19/2011 12:00:00 AM

The National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy has launched a study to describe the state of postdoctoral programs in the United States. Building on the organization’s 2000 report, “Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies,” the study will examine how postdoctoral researchers are guided and managed, review institutional practices with respect to postdocs, try to determine what happens to postdocs after they complete their programs, explore important changes that have occurred with regard to postdoc practices, and assess how well current practices meet the needs of these trainees.

The committee is chaired by Dr. Gregory Petsko, immediate past-president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Gyula and Katica Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, and chair of the Department of Biochemistry at Brandeis University. Dr. Petsko and his colleagues will attempt to determine how many postdocs are working in the U.S. and in what fields; whether they receive adequate professional status, privileges, salaries, benefits, and career guidance and development; to what extent they participate in professional activities beyond research, such as writing grants and reviewing journal articles; and what the institutional expectations for their appointments are, among other questions.

The committee will hold its first meeting on October 3rd. The 15-month project is expected to result in a consensus report. For more information, please click here.