Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Monday, 1 December 2014

In the news - What do young scientists want?

The transitional period from PhD student to permanent (academic) staff member is when many talented researchers of both genders are lost from the pipeline. So what do post-docs think needs to be done? Hundreds of Boston-area early career scientists gathered in early October to debate the matter, and the white paper summarising their concerns, goals and suggested actions was published today. Above all was the emphasis on post-doctoral roles as training positions, not lab rats. Too many supervisors still work to the idea that post docs are employed to make their supervisors look good, rather than to further the post-doc's career, which in turn boosts the profile of their supervisors. As one participant put it, 'If you’re going to call me a trainee, then train me.'

When hundreds of Boston-area postdocs and graduate scientists gathered in early October for the postdoc-organized Future of Research (FOR) Symposium, the organizers promised a consensus document that, as lead organizer Jessica Polka told Science Careers, “people can point to and say, ‘This is what the postdocs are worried about.’”
That document, “Shaping the Future of Research: a perspective from junior scientists,” has now been published at F1000Research. More a report than a manifesto, it describes the symposium’s various sessions and details surveys and comments of participants. It advocates three principles distilled from the discussions as the basis for “future activities towards scientific reform.”

Read more on the Science Careers blog.

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