in the life sciences, the committee recommends that public and private funding agencies establish ‘career-transition’ grants for senior postdoctoral fellows. The intent is to identify the highest-quality scientists while they are still postdoctoral fellows and give them the financial independence to begin new scientific projects of their own design in anticipation of their obtaining fully independent positions. ”1

Disciplinary Societies
  1. Disciplinary societies should play a larger role in promoting the professional careers of postdocs, especially by enhancing opportunities at professional society meetings. These opportunities include placing postdocs on the scientific program so they receive public exposure, providing travel grant support to attend meetings, inviting postdocs to serve on standing committees of the organization, sponsoring workshops for potential postdocs at major professional meetings, and inviting representatives from funding agencies to discuss funding mechanisms and issues.

  2. Disciplinary societies should support job searches by postdocs, both by maintaining job lists and web sites, and by introducing postdocs to prospective employers, especially at annual meetings. They should invite outside groups to present information at their meetings, especially information about nonacademic and nonresearch careers.

  3. Disciplinary societies should develop norms regarding the postdoctoral experience in their field that could be adopted by advisers and institutions in their field.

  4. Disciplinary societies should collect and analyze data and provide the best available information about career planning and employment prospects for postdocs in their field. They should inform prospective postdocs (including beginning graduate students) about market demand and other issues of interest to those entering a research-focused profession. They might supplement or advance the practice by institutions and funding organizations of tracking postdocs through their careers.

  5. Disciplinary societies should organize programs or workshops to advance professional skills. Topics might include grant writing, communication, CV preparation, and writing cover letters. Such programs could also offer junior researchers the chance to network with senior colleagues.


Trends in the Early Career of Life Scientists, p. 85

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