FIGURE 5-1: Primary Concerns of Postdoctorates at Johns Hopkins University. Source: Data collected by Johns Hopkins University Postdoctoral Association as presented in Science, 1999, Vol. 285, p. 1514.

are indeed issues of concern at many universities. This section describes those issues and lists initiatives that some institutions have found helpful.

Variations in titles.

COSEPUP found that postdocs at universities expressed more frustration about their institutional status than those at national or industrial labs. Many of today's postdocs find themselves with a clear function but variable titles. Postdocs may be categorized as research associates, research assistant professors, contract employees, adjunct professors, laboratory instructors, research fellows, and so on, according to local custom (see Box). Such variations have permitted significant differences in salary, taxation, health benefits, enrollment in a pension plan, periods of appointment, rehiring options, employment security, personal leave, and other aspects of professional life among people with the same work.

How Are Postdocs Classified at Your Organizations?

Most of the organizations surveyed (50 percent) used the term “fellow” with smaller numbers classifying their postdocs as “employee” (40 percent), “trainee” (35 percent), “associate” (23 percent), “faculty” (13 percent), “student” (13 percent), and “staff” (10 percent).

The “other” ways to classify postdocs included “employees-in-training,” “scholars,” “visiting postdoctoral scholars,” and “students in training.”

COSEUP Survey Results

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