Scientists at every stage of their careers — though especially postdocs — are having a hard time of it, writes Steve Caplan, a University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers, at the Guardian's Occam's Corner.
While postdocs are vying for academic positions that are few and far between, Caplan says that those who make it to a junior faculty position then have to claw their way to get funding — a seemingly endless struggle as even researchers who've gotten tenure must still compete for grants to pay their salaries.
"Researchers across the US, and I am willing to guess across the globe, are walking around with their heads down, demoralized and depressed — at all stages of their careers," Caplan writes. "What makes the situation so difficult is its intangibility; there is no deadline or looming imminent disaster…"
Instead, he says, there has been a slow loss of researchers as support for the sciences wanes, and, Caplan adds, researchers and their institutions have to adjust to this new reality while also lobbying for modest funding increases that keep pace with inflation and cost-of-living increases.