Postdocs are urged by peers and senior scientists to help change the postdoc research culture.
At the end of 2014, two papers were released reviewing the postdoctoral research space and suggesting ways to improve it. The first, Shaping the future of research, is a paper written by postdocs themselves and gives their point of view based the Future of Research symposium that they held in Boston in October 2014. The symposium brought together early career researchers to discuss (and maybe complain a little about) the postdoc part of the academic career track. We’ve mentioned it in part 3 of the postdoc series: The plight of the postdoc.
The second report, The postdoctoral experience revisited, was commissioned by the National Academies in the USA, and was chaired by Gregory Petsko, professor of neuroscience at Weill Cornell College of Medicine in New York City. This report revisits a similar report that was written in 2000, to see whether or not any of the suggested action points had been followed through and whether or not they had made any difference.
In this podcast I speak to Petsko, as well as Gary McDowell, a biology postdoc at Tufts University and to Kristin Krukenberg, a systems biology postdoc at Harvard Medical School, both of whom were authors of the Future of Research paper. The aim of the podcast is to get an overview of each of the reports, to see how similar they are, and whether or not the suggested action points made bby each paper are in any way feasible. This section starts at 6minutes into the podcast.
The main take away message from both reports, and the podcast, is that this grass-roots movement of postdocs starting conversations and looking for ways to change the current system is a good thing. Educating yourself about your ptoential future careers in a good thing. these messages reflect those from other podcasts that I’ve done this year: Take control of your own careers.
But before we get into that, the podcast also features Monya Baker, one of the Nature Careers editors, who shares some of her favourite Nature Careers and Naturejobs stories this month. She mentiones the postdoc series on the blog (yay!) but also a story about indecent advances in science.
If you haven’t come across the postdoc series before, you can catch up here: