Investments in Early Career Scientists: Graduate Students and Postdocs
Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) play a key role in the generation of new scientific findings in the life and natural sciences, and postdoctoral training positions are a key step on the career ladder for scientists in these fields. Despite their important role in advancing science, in many fields the wages of postdocs are low given their education and training, and questions have been raised about the length of postdoctoral positions and the uncertainties associated with career options at their conclusion.
The NBER, with the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is launching a research project on the early career paths of scientists. The project will be directed by Donna Ginther (University of Kansas and NBER). The project will convene a virtual research meeting on Friday, November 5, 2021, that will bring together a diverse group of researchers to present new evidence on how graduate training and postdoctoral positions and the institutions surrounding them affect future scientific careers and productivity. The virtual meeting will feature six research papers and two keynote addresses.
The NBER seeks papers by researchers from academia, government, as well as the private sector, on topics related to graduate study and the postdoctoral experience. Studies comparing the institutional structures and experiences in different countries and describing the data available on the early stages of scientific careers, are welcome. Topics that could be studied as part of the project include, but are not limited to, the following:
• What data are currently available for studying scientific career outcomes outside the US?
• Does postdoctoral training raise the likelihood of pursing a scientific career?
• What determines the length of postdoctoral training and its compensation structure?
• How does research experience in graduate school affect career outcomes?
• How do postdocs contribute to the research and development system?
• What is the effect of team size on science careers?
• How do different types of postdocs affect career outcomes?
• How do postdocs compare across countries?
• How does the structure of postdoctoral training affect the diversity of scientists?
Submissions from researchers with and without NBER affiliations, from early career scholars and from researchers from under-represented groups are welcome. Please do not submit papers that will be published by October 2021.
To be considered for inclusion on the program, papers or detailed paper outlines with a timetable for completion must be uploaded by Monday, August 2, 2021, to the following site:
Decisions about which papers will be included on the program will be announced in late August. All papers should include a comprehensive conflict of interest statement that describes any financial or other interests that the researchers might have with regard to the research. Please direct questions about this project to firstname.lastname@example.org.