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To Invest in Postdocs

Scientific institutions need to better invest in postdocs' careers, writes Nikolay Ogryzko, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh, at the Guardian.

He noted that postdocs, along with graduate students and technicians, do the bulk of the scientific heavy lifting that goes on at universities and other institutions. But they have little room for advancement, poor job security, and an overreliance on their managers for continued employment, which Ogryzko says is bad for science.

Instead, he argues that postdocs need to be viewed as a valued part of the research enterprise and need to be invested in. At the same time, Ogryzko says universities have to address some of the poor working conditions postdocs face, including bad managers and toxic cultures. At the same time, he says funders need to enforce policy changes and employers need to alert postdocs to careers outside academia.

"Producing, maintaining and growing research talent is essential to innovation in the UK," he writes. "It makes sense for everyone: investing in postdocs' careers provides a better return on investment of research funding and will reduce R&D costs for the private sector."