7

Postdoctoral Scholars: An Extension of the Data

Although the program survey and the faculty survey for the Assessment collected data on postdoctoral scholars, these data have yet to be analyzed. This section reports on some initial findings.1 First, and not surprisingly, most faculty members in every biomedical science field have spent time as postdoctoral scholars. This is shown in Table 7-1.

Postdoctoral experience is slightly less prevalent in biomedical engineering and bioengineering and in nutrition, which are not viewed traditionally as core fields in the biological sciences. Table 7-2 shows, however, that postdoctoral experience is age dependent. Older faculty have a smaller percentage of people with postdoctoral experience than more recent cohorts. For the 1990s cohorts, all fields, except for biomedical engineering and bioengineering and nutrition, are over or near 90 percent. The data for the most recent period, 2000 to 2006, is not a good indicator of postdoctoral training, since many of those in this cohort who will eventually take faculty positions have not yet completed their postdoctoral training.

The next tables provide information from the program survey about postdoctorates in 2005-2006. From Table 7-3, it is apparent that postdoctorates are concentrated in the largest programs. Further, as can be seen in Table 7-4, they are concentrated in the programs that are in the top two quartiles for research activity.

The largest numbers of postdoctorates are being trained in, and presumably are contributing to, the most productive research environments. It would be interesting to understand more about the effect of postdoctorates on the training environment for graduate students.

______________

1 Copies of the Program Questionnaire and Faculty Questionnaire can be found in Appendix D of the Assessment.



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7 Postdoctoral Scholars: An Extension of the Data Although the program survey and the faculty survey for the Assessment collected data on postdoctoral scholars, these data have yet to be analyzed. This section reports on some initial findings.1 First, and not surprisingly, most faculty members in every biomedical science field have spent time as postdoctoral scholars. This is shown in Table 7-1. Postdoctoral experience is slightly less prevalent in biomedical engineering and bioengineering and in nutrition, which are not viewed traditionally as core fields in the biological sciences. Table 7-2 shows, however, that postdoctoral experience is age dependent. Older faculty have a smaller percentage of people with postdoctoral experience than more recent cohorts. For the 1990s cohorts, all fields, except for biomedical engineering and bioengineering and nutrition, are over or near 90 percent. The data for the most recent period, 2000 to 2006, is not a good indicator of postdoctoral training, since many of those in this cohort who will eventually take faculty positions have not yet completed their postdoctoral training. The next tables provide information from the program survey about postdoctorates in 2005-2006. From Table 7-3, it is apparent that postdoctorates are concentrated in the largest programs. Further, as can be seen in Table 7-4, they are concentrated in the programs that are in the top two quartiles for research activity. The largest numbers of postdoctorates are being trained in, and presumably are contributing to, the most productive research environments. It would be interesting to understand more about the effect of postdoctorates on the training environment for graduate students. 1 Copies of the Program Questionnaire and Faculty Questionnaire can be found in Appendix D of the Assessment. 41

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42 RESEARCH-DOCTORATE PROGRAMS IN THE BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES TABLE 7-1 Percent of Faculty with Postdoctoral Study by Field No Faculty Faculty response Percent Percent of with no with to Post Total of total respondents Post Post Doc Survey faculty to Post Doc Field Doc Doc Questions Respondents surveyed Question Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology 167 3073 319 3559 86.30% 94.80% Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering 439 1064 140 1643 64.80% 70.80% Cell and Developmental Biology 194 3241 399 3834 84.50% 94.40% Genetics and Genomics 145 1496 158 1799 83.20% 91.20% Immunology and Infectious Disease 217 1274 284 1775 71.80% 85.40% Integrated Biological and Biomedical Sciences 367 3206 429 4002 80.10% 89.70% Microbiology 110 1310 168 1588 82.50% 92.30% Neuroscience and Neurobiology 233 2474 317 3024 81.80% 91.40% Nutrition 238 440 71 749 58.70% 64.90% Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health 245 1603 192 2040 78.60% 86.70% Physiology 84 959 106 1149 83.50% 91.90% Total 2439 20140 2583 25162 80.04% 89.20% NOTE: The data file with the faculty responses to the faculty questionnaire for whether they had a postdoctorate contains 2,583 blank cells; therefore, the percentage with a postdoctorate was computed for all responders to the survey and for those with data.

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POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS: AN EXTENSION OF THE DATA 43 TABLE 7-2 Percent of Faculty with Postdoctorates by Field and Decade of Doctorate Receipt PhD in 1940s and PhD in PhD in PhD in PhD in PhD in 2000 Field 1950s (%) 1960s (%) 1970s (%) 1980s (%) 1990s (%) to 2006 (%) Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology 75.0 88.2 93.9 95.2 97.1 93.4 Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering 42.9 47.0 60.3 60.8 79.1 76.6 Cell and Developmental Biology 40.0 91.2 89.0 95.9 95.5 95.1 Genetics and Genomics 25.0 87.7 90.7 92.7 93.0 79.7 Immunology and Infectious Disease 57.1 91.5 86.6 85.8 87.6 73.4 Integrated Biological and Biomedical Sciences 66.7 83.4 83.8 92.1 92.9 89.4 Microbiology 80.0 89.3 88.8 92.4 95.8 91.6 Neuroscience and Neurobiology 83.3 80.5 86.8 93.1 94.9 89.2 Nutrition 50.0 75.0 66.4 59.4 71.3 65.0 Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health 60.0 74.7 85.1 87.1 91.7 76.1 Physiology 60.0 81.8 90.7 93.8 94.6 83.8 Total 60.2 83.4 86.0 89.6 92.0 84.4 NOTE: Percentages are based on survey responses with data for both a postdoctoral appointment and year of PhD.

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44 RESEARCH-DOCTORATE PROGRAMS IN THE BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES TABLE 7-3 Average Number of Postdoctoral Fellows in Programs by Field and Size of Programs Based on Student Enrollment Program Size Quartiles, with Largest Programs in Size Quartile 1 Fields Size Quartile 1 Size Quartile 2 Size Quartile 3 Size Quartile 4 Total Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology 36.3 19.1 18.1 9.0 20.3 Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering 25.9 8.5 4.1 3.1 10.5 Cell and Developmental Biology 52.3 28.5 18.4 10.7 27.2 Genetics and Genomics 55.0 18.3 23.5 9.3 24.5 Immunology and Infectious Disease 39.2 17.4 18.4 13.7 22.3 Integrated Biological and Biomedical Sciences 97.4 24.2 12.8 4.4 34.8 Microbiology 33.8 22.7 12.5 5.5 18.7 Neuroscience and Neurobiology 51.1 24.4 19.5 7.0 24.8 Nutrition 18.0 6.1 3.0 2.4 6.8 Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Environmental Health 25.6 18.2 11.6 7.1 15.5 Physiology 20.9 10.7 14.3 5.1 13.0 NOTE: Two programs were trimmed from the top and bottom of integrated biological and biomedical sciences based on the number of postdoctorates in those programs, to avoid distorting the percentages.

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POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS: AN EXTENSION OF THE DATA 45 TABLE 7-4 Average Number of Postdoctoral Fellows in Programs by Field and Research Quality of Programs Program Research Quality Quartiles with Better-Ranked Programs in "Research Quality Quartile 1" Research Quality Research Quality Research Quality Research Quality Fields Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4 Total Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology 37.2 21.2 14.6 8.2 20.4 Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering 23.5 9.6 5.1 4.3 10.5 Cell and Developmental Biology 44.1 34.5 22.0 8.3 27.2 Genetics and Genomics 33.4 33.8 26.1 5.9 24.5 Immunology and Infectious Disease 30.1 33.7 18.8 9.3 22.3 Integrated Biological and Biomedical Sciences 105.5 28.9 8.1 3.2 34.5 Microbiology 27.1 25.1 16.4 7.0 18.7 Neuroscience and Neurobiology 53.9 27.0 19.0 6.4 24.8 Nutrition 11.1 13.9 2.4 1.7 6.8 Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health 27.6 9.8 11.0 14.0 15.5 Physiology 20.2 18.6 9.9 4.2 13.0 Total 41.4 23.7 14.4 7.1 21.2 NOTE: Quality quartiles are determined by taking the 0.05 Research Quality ranking.

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