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Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies

by Committee on Science Public Policy

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.

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