Post-docs – and those of you who interact and work with post-docs: We want to hear from you!
In November 2022, NIH announced the creation of a new Working Group (WG) to the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) on re-envisioning NIH-supported post-doctoral training. The most recent concerns surrounding post-doctoral (“post-doc”) training involve numbers, including the numbers of post-docs and the number of available tenure-track faculty positions. Recent data from NSF suggest a substantial decline in post-doc numbers, coming at a time of pandemic stresses, global economic disruptions, and concerns surrounding salary, stipend, and benefit support.
- “Evaluate whether there is evidence to support the perceived decline and shortage in PhDs seeking U.S. postdoctoral training positions, and document trends in PhDs choosing nonacademic post-graduate employment
- Assess and consider the factors influencing the scope and persistence of the issue, including COVID-19, the economy and inflation, trends in academic job markets, time to publish, immigration policy, and the growing biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries
- Review and compare the mechanisms, effects, and relevance of other approaches to postdoctoral training (e.g., in other countries, other systems)
- Consider ways to increase support and retention of postdoctoral trainees on key issues related to quality-of-life and work-life balance concerns
- Engage key parties, both internal and external to the NIH, to understand and strengthen the U.S. postdoctoral training system”
In an effort to engage internal and external stakeholders, the WG is requesting your response to this Request for Information (RFI). We are asking you for input on:
- Perspectives on the roles and responsibilities of the academic postdoc
- Fundamental issues and challenges inhibiting recruitment, retention and overall quality of life of postdoctoral trainees in academic research
- Existing NIH policies, programs, or resources that could be modified, expanded, or improved
- Proven or promising external resources or approaches that could inform NIH’s efforts to improve the postdoctoral training ecosystem.
We are also interested in hearing about existing program, policy, resource or institutional culture barriers you are aware of that enhance or impede postdoc progression.
We strongly encourage you to respond to the RFI and let us know your thoughts. Responses can be sent by April 14, 2023. We will take all responses received seriously and appreciate your thoughtful feedback.
It is a high priority for NIH to identify, grow, and retain investigators across these critical career stages, because they convey new insights, develop innovative ideas, and advance the translation of scientific research into improved health for all. Many thanks for your help in re-envisioning the NIH-supported post-doctoral training experience.