National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: 6 The Postdoc and the Funding Organization
Suggested Citation:"7 The Postdoc and the Disciplinary Societies." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 2000. Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9831.
×
Page 95
Suggested Citation:"7 The Postdoc and the Disciplinary Societies." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 2000. Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9831.
×
Page 96

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

7 The Postdoc and the Disciplinary Societies T he nation’s disciplinary or professional societies1 can play a larger role in enhancing the postdoctoral experience. Their membership affords a unique overview of broad fields, such as physics, mathematics, and chemistry, from which to collect and provide information. In particular, advisers and postdocs need information about career opportu- nities beyond the laboratory. Web sites are effective mechanisms for describing society programs and providing information on an ongoing basis. A more focused forum is each society’s annual meeting, where scientists and engineers at all levels gather to gain perspective, make contacts, and share information. Meeting organizers can devise strategies to promote the professional careers of postdocs by, for example, placing them on the research program sessions so they receive the public exposure they deserve. Society meetings are also effec- tive venues for bringing postdocs together with potential employers. The job search can be facilitated through formal presentations, informal drop-in rooms, and coffee sessions throughout the meeting. Funding agency representatives can discuss grant mechanisms and topics of high funding priority, allowing postdocs to gain perspective on grant possibilities. Societies can take concrete steps to make the role of postdoctoral scholars more visible and to publicize the importance of that role. For example, they already provide travel funds that allow postdocs to attend their meetings; this practice could be expanded. In addition, they could invite postdocs to serve on 1Examples include the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Society for Microbiology. 95

96 ENHANCING THE POSTDOCTORAL EXPERIENCE FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS their standing committees, where appropriate. They could award prizes to post- docs in which the role of the mentor might be highlighted. By focusing more attention on postdocs, they can increase the likelihood that advisers, institutions, and funding organizations will spend their own funds to send postdocs to meet- ings and take other steps to enrich the postdoctoral experience. Professional societies can also translate their information and perspective into the development of norms regarding the postdoctoral experience. For exam- ple, they can suggest appropriate skills and standards that should be mastered by postdocs in particular disciplines prior to completion of their postdoctoral expe- rience. They can, on the basis of their own or others’ surveys and disciplinary knowledge, suggest standards for compensation, benefits, evaluations, or other practices that now vary widely. Some disciplinary societies are active in collecting and analyzing informa- tion about the education, employment, compensation, distribution, trends, and other features of disciplinary life. This information can be useful for postdocs in planning their careers if it is made easily available (e.g., on the society’s web site) and publicized in journals. Both postdocs and advisers can benefit from more information about new fields, subfields, and “hot” sectors of employment, both within and outside academia.

Next: 8 Principles, Action Points, and Recommendations for Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience »
Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $44.95 Buy Ebook | $35.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

The concept of postdoctoral training came to science and engineering about a century ago. Since the 1960s, the performance of research in the United States has increasingly relied on these recent PhDs who work on a full-time, but on a temporary basis, to gain additional research experience in preparation for a professional research career.

Such experiences are increasingly seen as central to careers in research, but for many, the postdoctoral experience falls short of expectations. Some postdocs indicate that they have not received the recognition, standing or compensation that is commensurate with their experience and skills. Is this the case? If so, how can the postdoctoral experience be enhanced for the over 40,000 individuals who hold these positions at university, government, and industry laboratories?

This new book offers its assessment of the postdoctoral experience and provides principles, action points, and recommendations for enhancing that experience.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!