Come in person or watch the webcast for: “Bold Visions for the Future of Science” and “Perspectives on Postdoctoral Researchers”

Come in person or watch the webcast for: “Bold Visions for the Future of Science” and “Perspectives on Postdoctoral Researchers”

  For more information, see our Action of the Month   Two studies, currently underway at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, are soliciting public input as part of their process, and they need to hear from you. You can join in in person/watch live THIS THURSDAY 14th September, 1:30-5:15pm Pacific Time.   From the NASEM Board on Higher Education and Workforce: Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:30 pm – 5:15 pm PDT University of California, San Francisco Genentech Hall Auditorium* 600 16th Street San Francisco, CA *Please note that meeting space is limited. A webcast will also be available. This public session of the fourth meeting for the Next Generation Researchers Initiative will feature distinguished scientists, physicians, industry leaders, and scholars who will discuss the barriers and opportunities facing the next generation of independent researchers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Particular emphasis will be on hearing postdoctoral perspectives and envisioning the future of research. This meeting will feature and be moderated by: Chair Alan Leshner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Chair Ron Daniels, President, the Johns Hopkins University   Register Here for the In-Person Meeting Register Here for the Webcast   Draft Agenda: 1:30 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. Opening Remarks by Host Keith Yamamoto 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Panel I: Bold Visions for the Future of Science Panelists will share their vision on how changes to today’s system of graduate education and early research careers can ensure a future research enterprise that fosters innovation, promotes equity and inclusion, and advances U.S. national interests. Chair Alan Leshner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of...
Postdoc Reactions to the FLSA Fiasco – Part 1

Postdoc Reactions to the FLSA Fiasco – Part 1

  This is a guest post by Future of Research board member, Adriana Bankston. Although postdocs are highly skilled, PhD-level scientists, they have been a historically underpaid segment of the biomedical workforce. While advocating for increased postdoctoral salaries had been previously attempted, not much has changed, and there was still not much hope in terms of better pay in 2016. This was about to change on December 1st, 2016, when the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ruling from the Department of Labor was to result in increased salaries for full-time postdocs from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. At Future of Research, we have been tracking the national compliance of institutions with the FLSA ruling at various timepoints before this date, and subsequently published the results in F1000Research on November 17th, 2016. On November 22nd, 2016, a preliminary injunction against the Department of Labor was granted nationwide, delaying the FLSA implementation. Since that time, Future of Research has been once again tracking how institutions responded to the injunction nationally. To get an idea of how postdocs felt in the current state of the research enterprise, in this first blog post, we spoke with postdocs at various universities whose salaries were raised following the injunction.   The effects of salary raises As expected, continuing to raise salaries despite the injunction was received positively, as it significantly helped some postdocs improve their own life situations. “The extra money is particularly helpful for my situation because my husband has a job in Nashville, and I’m completing my postdoctoral training at Yale University. Because of my salary, we are able to afford our apartments...
The FLSA and postdoc salaries: actions and where things currently stand

The FLSA and postdoc salaries: actions and where things currently stand

If you’ve been following along with out FLSA and postdocs resource, you’ll know that on December 1st, 2016, the threshold at which salaried workers (including all postdocs, regardless of visa or fellowship status) receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week was due to increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This was delayed by an injunction granted November 22nd, 2016 (see here for more information), and the updates were declared invalid on August 31st, 2017.   ACTION: There is a new call for comments in a Department of Labor Request for Information here (guidelines for empoyer comments are here). You are able to make comments until September 25th.   We have revised our paper on the FLSA and postdocs and this will appear in the next couple of days here (you can see our data from before the injunction in this first version). We tracked how institutions responded to the injunction and removal of a federal mandate for salary raises for postdocs, particularly given that the NIH decided to keep their new NRSA postdoctoral salary levels at the levels set by the FLSA updates.   The major finding from our second round of data collection is that around 60% of postdocs are at institutions whose policies have changed to raise salaries, even after the injunction. 5 institutions who originally cancelled plans to raise salaries (University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, Brigham and Women’s (Boston, MA), Iowa State University and Massachusetts General Hospital) have since reversed their plans to varying degrees. You can find out more in the FLSA and postdocs resource under the first tab,...
So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

On April 27 2017, Executive Director Gary McDowell gave a talk to graduate students at the University of Michigan, “So…You Want To Do A Postdoc?” The talk presents some data about the postdoc position to provide context for discussing some barriers junior scientists face, and some advice on things to consider. This talk doesn’t aim to be a comprehensive resource, but rather to provoke thought and reflection, and challenge some basic assumptions people may have about the postdoc position.   The talk is available here on YouTube, and the slide deck is available here at F1000Research in the Future of Research Channel. After downloading the PDF of the slide deck it should be possible to click on the links to access the resources and citations mentioned.   A note on the data presented: the talk includes a very preliminary analysis using publicly-available data from the University of Michigan. It is hard to draw concrete conclusions from the data about salaries, but is used to highlight the difficulties in finding out salary info that potential postdocs may face; to challenge the assumption that all postdocs are paid on a defined scale (usually assumed to be the NIH NRSA stipend scale); and to demonstrate that a wide range of salaries can be found, and that postdocs need to ensure they are advocating for themselves in potential negotiations for positions....
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...
Guest post: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) injunction and postdocs: one month later

Guest post: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) injunction and postdocs: one month later

This is a guest post by Adriana Bankston, a volunteer with Future of Research and one of the travel award winners for the Advocating for Science symposium in Boston, 2016.  Adriana has been collecting data directly from institutions as part of this effort.   UPDATE: This post has been updated, the first figure was previously showing institutional plans, not the percentage of the postdoctoral population affected by each change as described in the text.     On December 1st 2016, postdocs working more than 40 hours per week were due to see salary raises from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ruling issued by the Department of Labor. At Future of Research, we have been collecting data and documenting the compliance of universities with the FLSA in our online resource. These data were also communicated in a paper published F1000 research in November 2016. To document this compliance periodically, we published subsequent blog posts at one month, 20 days and 10 days prior to the original FLSA implementation date of December 1st. Our data indicated that, at 10 days prior to December 1st, 69% of all postdocs were expected to receive salary raises, 6% of postdocs were to have either salaries raised or hours tracked with no central institutional mandate for either, 3% of postdocs were at institutions focused on allowing hours tracking, and for 22% of postdocs no data had been made publicly available (below).     Complying with the FLSA ruling for such a large percentage of postdocs with 10 days to go was due to have a very positive impact...