FIGURE 2-12 Average age of applicants and awardees, by Research Associateship Program, 1965-2007.

Note: In 2007, not all application cycles have been completed and recorded in the database.

Source: National Academies, DataRAP Database, tabulations by staff.

As the figure shows, awardees tend to be younger than applicants and applicants to the NIST/NRC RAP and awardees of NIST/NRC Research Associates are younger on average than those who apply for and are awarded other RAPs. It is likely that part of the explanation for this is the group of postdocs coming out of the biological sciences, who are largely absent from the NIST cohort. A second explanation may involve the role of foreign students: NIST RAs are U.S. citizens, who also tend to get to postdoctoral status quicker than international students.

Marital Status

Marital status can be an important demographic characteristic for postdoctoral programs. When many doctorates pursue postdoctoral appointments, they are also at an age when many are married and thinking about starting families. Many scientists are married to other scientists. Knowing this demographic can be helpful in dealing with related issues of: dual-career couples; salary, benefits and cost of living; child care and parental leave. The application form includes a question on marital status. Two categories are available: married and single; although many applicants leave this answer blank. (Additionally, 4 applicants chose “F”—possibly a data coding entry with gender.) Twenty-seven applicants to NIST left this question blank and 368 applicants to non-NIST left it blank. For awards, 2 awardees chose “F,” 4 awardees at NIST left it blank, and 121 awardees at other RAPs did not answer the question. The percentages of applicants and awardees that were married or single among those who noted marital status, are examined in Figures 2-13 and 2-14.

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