Nautilus

Planning a productive (and long) academic career

In this month’s (February) Nature Chemical Biology, the Editorial “The ivory tower grays” (subscription or site licence required) discusses how the aging of the professoriate has raised questions about how to support productive faculty members late in their careers, while integrating the vitality of youthful scientists.

Arguing strongly for an abolition of a mandatory retirment age, the Editorial concludes: “Although forward-looking universities have been planning for the effects of an aging professoriate for many years, recent trends suggest that the issue deserves much greater attention among today’s faculty and university leaders. These decision makers must provide answers to the major questions facing academia’s future, including: what retirement options are appropriate and reasonable for research universities? What are the appropriate space and funding levels for scientists at different career stages? How does the changing face of the professoriate affect the current tenure system? Though the challenges and answers will likely be different for each country, there is a global need to reevaluate how we sustain and nurture academic faculty—one of science’s greatest resources.”

From Nature Chemical Biology 3, 69 (2007) ; doi:10.1038/nchembio0207-69

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