National Postdoctoral Association

Research institutions show improvement in some policies for postdoctoral researchers but many gaps remain

ROCKVILLE, Md. /Massachusetts Newswire – National News/ — The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) today announced the release of Growing Progress in Supporting Postdocs: 2021 National Postdoctoral Association Institutional Policy Report.

Developed in collaboration with Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, and with support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the report provides data and analysis of current postdoc office structures as well as insights into postdoc policies and programs at their institutions. The report is the third in a series of triennial reports on this topic.

The report analyzes the impact of how certain important and measurable factors, such as the number of postdocs at an institution, affect postdoc policies, benefits, and training programs. The latest data show positive trends when compared to the last edition, such as the continued creation of new postdoc offices at research facilities, a small increase in postdoc office budgets, and a few more institutions offering family friendly benefits to postdocs, to name a few.

“We are headed in the right direction in many areas of the postdoctoral experience,” noted Tom Kimbis, executive director and chief executive officer of the NPA. “However, there are clear areas demanding improvement illustrated in this report that should be considered by all institutions supporting postdocs.”

The report’s key recommendations to institutions that hire postdocs are to increase the staff and budget for postdoc offices, provide higher compensation and equality in postdoc benefits, implement a uniform postdoc onboarding process, offer an intentional training program, build a diverse postdoc population, and implement better career tracking of postdocs after they leave their training institutions.

The report is part of an ongoing data collection project that began in 2012. This is the first look at longitudinal data covering a span of six years and originating with the last three NPA Institutional Policy Reports, and includes identification of areas of strength and weakness in institutional progress over that time. The institutions covered in this year’s iteration represent 36,000 of the country’s approximately 70,000 postdocs. Work is underway to begin the next round of data collection starting in 2022.

Growing Progress in Supporting Postdocs is being released as a supplement to the May-June 2021 issue of Sigma Xi’s publication, American Scientist, and is also available online at the Sigma Xi and NPA websites. Fuller data from the expansive report is also available to NPA members only on the NPA website.

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About National Postdoctoral Association:

The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational association headquartered in Rockville, MD. Founded in 2003, the NPA envisions an inclusive community where all postdocs are empowered, valued, recognized, and supported in their current and future endeavors. The NPA serves the entire postdoctoral community, including its 18,000 individual and 215 organizational members.

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