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Postdoc to Permanent Role

A new law in Berlin aimed at helping postdoctoral researchers into permanent roles has been called well-meaning but flawed, Science writes.

It adds that the law, passed in September by the Berlin legislature, requires universities to offer postdocs "a pathway to a permanent position." However, it notes that a number of universities in Berlin have instead implemented hiring freezes.

Science adds that the law was spurred by a social media uproar following a video meant to promote a previous law that limited researchers, after finishing their postdocs, to six years of temporary university contracts. That law, it says, was criticized for pushing talented researchers out of academia, though it meant to help researchers gain stable positions.

Kristin Eichhorn, an adjunct professor at the University of Stuttgart, tells Science that the new law may also have unintended consequences. "There's a risk of making things worse," she tells it. "Let's not rush. Let's think this through and come up with something that actually works."


The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.