January 2018 Newsletter items

January 2018 Newsletter items

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Postdoc salaries in the U.S.


The image above was kindly given to us by Drew Doering of UW-Madison. Some of the data is currently being updated e.g. University of Illinois has now sent corrected information; the resource will be updated in the coming days.

We released a resource in December about postdoc salaries on our website here. A story about the resource, “Pay for US postdocs varies wildly by institution” came out in Nature discussing some of the general points. After analyzing the data, we have put this preprint on bioRxiv: “Assessing the Landscape of U.S. Postdoctoral Salaries” and have submitted a manuscript to a journal on this data. Please take a look and tell us what you think! You can also see a summary of the data and issues surrounding it in the poster I presented at ASCB in December (see also the effort in harmonizing postdoc titles at institutions published in eLife, in “What’s in a Name?“, and “The GSS is an unreliable indicator of biological sciences postdoc population trends“).

Career outcome tracking for PhDs and postdocs



A number of groups including Rescuing Biomedical Research and the Coalition for Next Generation Life Sciences (or CNGLS as I like to call it) have been pushing efforts towards making institutions keep track of where their graduate student and postdoc alumnae go. CNGLS is a coalition of ten institutions committed to releasing various pieces of data about their populations over the next 2 years – you can see their website here and read their coauthored piece in Science on the rationale behind this move here.

We have set up a new page on our website, “Tracking Career Outcomes at Institutions” to keep track of this and other efforts, collate all the data and provide further information in this area going forward, to help potential graduate students and postdocs alike. Please let us know what you think, and share it with undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs alike.

Workshop on resources for international researchers

Adriana Bankston and I gave a workshop at the ASCB Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in December, which you can read about in the blogpost, “Resources to address challenges for international students and postdocs“. While unable to give specific legal advice, we were able to discuss our own immigration stories and hear concerns from those in the audience. Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, one of the questions we were asked is, “How do you deal with a PI who holds your visa over you as leverage?” which reminds us of the various power dynamics different groups in academia labor under and that we should be working to rectify. Overall, it’s still an interesting time to be moving around the world to experience new places and ways of doing science and the US academic workforce is highly international.

Other pieces of interest:

Gary McDowell, Executive Director

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