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So Many Research Scientists, So Few Openings as Professors
2016-07-18 14:54:27 GMT
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"One way to see what is happening is to look at a measure, called R0, used in demography to show how a population is growing. If every baby girl in a population grows up to have one baby girl on average, R0 is one, and the population size will remain constant. If R0 is significantly greater than one, the population can explode. Dr. Larson and his colleagues calculated R0s for various science fields in academia. There, R0 is the average number of Ph.D.s that a tenure-track professor will graduate over the course of his or her career, with an R0 of one meaning each professor is replaced by one new Ph.D. The highest R0 is in environmental engineering, at 19.0. It is lower — 6.3 — in biological and medical sciences combined, but that still means that for every new Ph.D. who gets a tenure-track academic job, 5.3 will be shut out."
"The National Institutes of Health recently created a grant specifically for beginning scientists, but only about 20 percent of applications result in an award. Most beginning scientists face five or more years as a postdoc, which is not always conducive to original research. “The incentive for the professor is to have the postdoc do as much work as possible so the professor can get grants,” said Gary McDowell, executive director of a newly formed group, The Future of Research, that supports young scientists. “I have heard of postdocs going to orientation when a faculty member said: ‘This is not a time to work on your independence. It is a time for you to work for your professor to help him succeed.’”"
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