Postdoctoral salaries at Rutgers: an analysis, in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act turmoil

Postdoctoral salaries at Rutgers: an analysis, in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act turmoil

In the wake of the injunction against updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which affected postdoctoral researchers, a number of institutions initially indicating that they would raise salaries to comply with the new minimum have reversed their plans to do so. One such institution was Rutgers University, in New Jersey. As described in this post and this post from Rutgers Postdoc Association, the institution claimed “the court ruling prohibit[s] implementation at this time of the proposed regulations.” This has not prevented other institutions from raising salaries, including the NIH, which has raised its NRSA postdoc stipend levels despite the injunction against the FLSA updates. Indeed, Rutgers (like many institutions) has previously tied its salary levels for postdocs to the NIH NRSA stipend levels. Postdocs at Rutgers are now being encouraged to sign a petition, asking the institution to resume its plans to raise postdoctoral salaries.   As part of the progression of our FLSA and postdocs resource, we have begun requesting all individual postdoctoral salaries from public institutions, using Freedom of Information requests, to see what postdocs in the U.S. are actually being paid. To help provide data to put the Rutgers Postdoc Association petition into context, here we summarize briefly an analysis of the data we received from Rutgers of all individual postdoctoral salaries as of Dec 1st 2016. The trends and data presented here are consistent amongst a number of datasets we have from various institutions.     There is a four-fold difference between the lowest and highest postdoctoral salaries. There are 542 postdoctoral associates or fellows in the dataset from Rutgers University. The average postdoc salary is $47,620.69. The median postdoc salary...
The New York City Postdoc Coalition: A New Organization, and their Response to the Muslim Ban

The New York City Postdoc Coalition: A New Organization, and their Response to the Muslim Ban

This post was written by Future of Research board member, Yelena Bernadskaya  The NYC Postdoc Coalition (NYCPC) was formed with the goal of connecting postdoc associations throughout New York City. The group got its start following the 2016 National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) meeting that connected Dr. Yalda Moayedi of Columbia University, Drs. Alison Sanders and Albino Troilo of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Drs. Niki Athanasiadou and Yelena Bernadskaya of NYU. While all institutes had internal postdoc associations they had little contact with one another. After a brief discussion they agreed there was need for an umbrella group run by the postdocs for the postdocs and that joining forces with other institute would take advantage of the unique setting of NYC as a major research hub. The inaugural meeting of NYCPC was held in March 2016 with six universities represented. The NYCPC is now comprised of postdoctoral leaders representing over 4,000 postdoc constituents from Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University, New York University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Rockefeller University, Albert Einstein Medical School, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The Coalition’s overall mission is to improve the living and working conditions of postdocs and to help share resources, ideas, and support in advocacy efforts.   The immediate benefit of forming the NYCPC was the ability to share information about institutional policies that helped postdocs negotiate within their own universities. Following a brief survey on housing, salaries, and benefits Mount Sinai postdocs were able to use the information to advocate for a new base salary. The coalition also kept abreast of developments regarding...
Future of Research statement on immigration Executive Order, and commitment to future work

Future of Research statement on immigration Executive Order, and commitment to future work

FoR’s mission is to improve the scientific research enterprise. We promote grassroots advocacy amongst junior researchers to discuss the problems they perceive with science, and possible solutions to fix them. We then work on making these solutions a reality, working with and advocating to institutions, scientific societies, federal agencies and senior scientists to effect change – and to speak as a voice of junior researchers. We also seek to empower junior researchers by collecting data about academia and scientific training, and make the data available to help them make rational decisions when figuring out how best to use their passion for science to benefit society.   This mission applies to problems like postdoc salaries and the recent Fair Labor Standards Act fiasco. It also applies to problems like the President’s Executive Order banning nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days, and how we as a scientific community respond to them.   A huge number of junior researchers in the U.S. are not U.S. citizens. Two-thirds of postdoctoral researchers are estimated to be foreign nationals, and the majority of those are estimated to be on temporary visas such as J-1 or H-1B visas. Considering just one of the seven affected countries, there were more than 10,000 Iranian students alone in the U.S. in 2013-14, and 1,364 Iranian scholars at U.S. institutions.   This Executive Order prevents these scientists from re-entering the country if they leave, or entering if they are currently outside. It prevents scientists from traveling to and from conferences.   But these actions not...
Upcoming FoR Meeting in Vancouver  Feb 20th 2017

Upcoming FoR Meeting in Vancouver Feb 20th 2017

The first FoR meeting in 2017 will be in Vancouver on February 20th, 2017.   Information about the meeting is continually being updated here at our FoR Vancouver 2017 page.     FoR Vancouver represent early-career researchers from across Vancouver and British Columbia, from Simon Fraser University to the University of British Columbia to the University of Victoria. Current job structures in science, and opportunities for funding, training, and support make careers in research unpredictable and insecure for many of Canada’s most passionate young scientists. However, a more sustainable career environment could secure world-leading science in Canada and BC, which will be vital to deal with health, environmental, agricultural, and economic challenges to come.   The Future of Research Vancouver Symposium 2017 On February 20th, 2017, we will be holding the first FoR Vancouver symposium, bringing together early-career researchers from across BC to discuss challenges facing the future of Canadian science, including: 1) Funding for early career researchers 2) Training and transparency of career outcomes of early career researchers 3) Increased connectivity – how to promote and strengthen conversations about research and infrastructure between research institutions and provinces 4) The structure of the scientific workforce   We are proud to announce our speakers and panellists for FoRVan 2017! Keynote address: Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education Dr. Liisa Galea, neuroscientist and science policy advocate Dr Laya Boyd, neuroscientists, Canada Research Chair and CIHR delegate Other panellists will include representatives from local industry and not-for-profit groups; to be announced!   Preliminary Schedule: February 20th, 2017 2:00 – 2:30 – Registration 2:30 – 3:15 – Keynote 3:20 – 4:30 – Interactive...
Scientists United

Scientists United

Scientists do not operate in a political vacuum. We carry out science in the context of the society in which we live. Political events can shape and change this environment, our ability to work, and even the science itself, through the effects on the society in which we live, the policies that affect the scientific enterprise, and particularly how governments fund scientific research. Many of us may be questioning what will happen to science, and the role that science and evidence have in politics, after recent events such as the U.S. Presidential election and the U.K.’s referendum on leaving the E.U. The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has stunned many scientists in the immediate reaction from the scientific community. With virtually no interaction between the scientific community and the Trump campaign, many are left wondering what the scientific priorities of a Trump administration may be, particularly on the issue of climate science. Likewise “Brexit” in the UK has seen a change in the makeup of the British government, and the Autumn Statement on the budget is due, with speculation rife as to what it will mean for science. This is a time of great concern and uncertainty to many within our scientific community. Given the rhetoric on wider societal issues worldwide, it is not only science about which there are concerns, but also diversity and inclusion, the international movement of scientists, and a host of other issues. Many of us may be inspired by the debates of this year to advocate for change, or to protect certain elements of our system. The landscape of...
Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Alex Erwin: Dear Scientist, you are the best spokesperson for science. Here’s how to be effective.

Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Alex Erwin: Dear Scientist, you are the best spokesperson for science. Here’s how to be effective.

This is a guest post written by Advocating for Science Travel Awardee, Alex Erwin:     Even though most of us are happily pursuing what we love, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t frustrated with certain aspects of the scientific enterprise. Concerns about research funding, graduate and postdoctoral training, and how to improve relations between science and the public are prevalent. We often share our our frustrations with peers but we do ourselves a great disservice by not communicating our issues beyond colleagues. This is wherescience advocacy comes in. To make improvements to the science endeavor, we have to effectively communicate with the people who have the power to make changes. It’s important to remember that scientists aren’t a special interest group, but scientists do have the best understanding of what is at stake if science isn’t supported. Depending on the issue you’re trying to address, relevant decision makers may be your department head, university administrators, local legislators, or representatives at the national level. It’s also important to remember that anyone you meet day-to-day is a fellow constituent and taxpayer, making their opinion influential to decision-makers. This last September, there was a symposium dedicated specifically to science advocacy. The Advocating for Science Symposium was held on the MIT campus and was a joint effort by two non-profits consisting of early career scientists, The Future of Research and Academics for the Future of Science, and the MIT Graduate Student Council. Because being a graduate student in Kansas limits my exposure to these kinds of resources, I was especially eager for the opportunity to attend a meeting like this so I could bring...