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Uncertainty Ahead

The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lab shutdowns and policy changes are creating an environment of uncertainty for graduate students and postdocs, Wired reports, adding that the situation could have run-on effects on their careers.

For instance, it notes that Anzela Niraula, a postdoc at the University of Washington had to sacrifice a number of mice she was studying when the school closed down, pushing her research back and, in turn, possibly affecting her ability to win subsequent grants. At the same time, she worried that new immigration policies would affect her ability to stay in the US, Wired adds. 

Other early-career researchers, it notes, are in similar situations, which are coming at a time when grants and papers are a key part of becoming established as a scientist. "The longer-term question now," Mike Solomon, a dean at the University of Michigan tells Wired, "is what does career development look like for graduate students? What are the opportunities? It's an ongoing question for us."