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So what do we do about it?

Annette C. Hollmann ah690549 at bcm.tmc.edu
Fri Jul 2 01:24:24 EST 1999

In article <7l5hjf$4kk at newsops.execpc.com> pbowne at execpc.com writes:
>Instead of belaboring the fact that job prospects for PhDs are less 
>than rosy, I'd like to see some creative thinking about what to do to 
>make the situation better. We're supposedly all smart people on this 
>group, and if smart people can't come up with ideas to solve their 
>problems, who will? Are we waiting for people outside the system, or 
>people who are happy with the system, to do it for us?
<Lots of good suff snipped>
Ok, here's a really off-the-wall idea: how about turning the postdoc slots
into real jobs that can be held for more than 2 to 3 years?
People are expected to follow the standard path: 5 years grad school -> 3
years postdoc -> become the principal investigator.
This creates two major problems: (1) because here are insufficient PI
slots available, people coming out of he postdoc get tossed and can't stay
in science, (2) the PI's are busy scrambling for grants and can't do much
actual lab work, and by the time the students and postdocs get proficient
in the lab they have to move on.
Creating another tier for postdocs who want to remain in the lab (both
academic and industrial) instead of becoming managers would alleviate both
these problems.


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