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August 30, 2006

PostDocs-in India??

To my knowledge, there is no PostDoc culture or PostDoc positions in Indian Universities, if at all, it might be rare in few places. So, I was surprised pleasantly to see an article about postdocs in India, the following article discuss issues about postdocs in India. Normally, graduates after recieving their PhD move out of India to west or europe and other places to do their postdoctoral fellowship. There are not much postdoc positions and it is not common few years ago, this article is probably one of the very few I found that talk about retaining the graduates in India and create postdoc position for them in India. Not a bad idea at all, but will it work?. Who will fund them and where is the money?.

Will the graduates stay in India to do a postdoc in India is another question.
March 20, 2006 Volume 84, Number 12 pp. 16-17

Keeping Postdocs At Home In India

A vibrant postdoc culture could invigorate India's research climate, but recruiting remains difficult

Amanda Yarnell
Photo by Amanda Yarnell

For India's fresh Ph.D. graduates, the lure of a postdoctoral position abroad remains irresistible. "If there were a chance to get a good position in India without an international postdoc, I would have done it," explains Govindaraju Thimmaiah, who completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune and is currently working as a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "But I felt I had no choice."
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/84/8412India3.html

August 28, 2006

Hello Postdocs-Are you listening??

PostDocs, here is a lesson for you all postdocs of the world!?.
The following JYI from the website:http://www.jyi.org will explain you about how and when this group of undergraduate started their own scientific journal: "The Journal of Young Investigators". Wow, what a fantastic idea and brilliance of this undergraduates. I am not sure if this postdocs have any such journals for them run by postdocs. In my five year postdoc experience, I hardly seen or heard postdocs getting involved in peer-reviews, manuscript reviews and other editorial related works as experts.

Ever since my first postdoctoral year till date, I got involved in peer-reviews, project proposal reviews, manuscript and even postdocs candidate selection reviews. It is important for postdocs to get involved in such areas that will help them to become better communicators in writing and handling research publication related issues. The PIs are not going to worry about if you know any of these or not, as long as you produce data and prepare the manuscript for publications. While there is serious lack of basic mentoring by PIs in labs, how can you expect PIs support in seeing his/her postdoc doing extraordinary jobs like review process involements, you have to do it yourself and it is your academic life that you must take responsiblities. Here is a lesson for all you postdocs from some bright undergrduate kids/young scientists in the making!?.

What is JYI?
JYI, Inc. is a exciting, student-led initiative to broaden the scope of the undergraduate scientific experience. JYI provides opportunities for students to participate in the scientific review and publication processes, primarily through the operation of its peer-reviewed journal for undergraduates. Incorporated as a non-profit, entirely student-run corporation, JYI's staff members currently represent over 30 different academic institutions. JYI has been featured in EurekAlert!, Chemical Engineering News, and The Chronicle on Higher Education. Recently, an article highlighting JYI appeared in The New York Times (17 February 1999).

What is the web journal and what is its purpose?
JYI's web journal (which is also called JYI) is dedicated to the presentation of undergraduate research in science, mathematics, and engineering. It publishes the best submissions from undergraduates, with an emphasis on both the quality of research and the manner in which it is communicated. The journal, JYI, also allows students to experience the other side of the scientific publication process: the review process. Students working with their faculty advisors review the work of their peers and determine whether that work is acceptable for publication in JYI.

How does JYI improve undergraduate science training?
If undergraduate education is to best prepare individuals for future participation in the scientific research community, then it clearly must include an introduction to the scientific research enterprise in its entirety. While many efforts to improve undergraduate science education are focusing on the important goal of making a student's experience more experiential and research-oriented, JYI is focusing on the rest of the problem: how to introduce students to the exercise of communicating their research, reviewing and being reviewed by peers, and other aspects of publishing and disseminating scientific information.

JYI focuses on providing this introduction to two groups of students - authors and editors. For student authors, JYI recognizes that they are likely to have little experience in scientific writing and in a peer-reviewed publication system. JYI therefore helps guide these students towards more effective scientific communication by encouraging them to publish their research and then helping them to develop their skills. Student editors - the other group of students - receive an in-depth experience in which they are trained as scientific reviewers and engaged in a dialog concerning the methods and future of scientific publishing. Recently, JYI's student editors gathered at the journal's annual editorial conference to discuss scientific publishing and participate in workshops lead by senior editors of Science Magazine. When these JYI authors and editors become professionals, they will be informed and experienced in issues concerning scientific publishing and will be effective communicators and reviewers.

For more information on specific aspects of JYI, please visit our other web pages.

August 21, 2006

The Gazzette!! News & Views

"petri dishes"THE WORLD IS CHANGING RAPIDLY" this is exactly what the 24 member faculty committee recognized in their recent committee meeting, the meeting was held to discuss issues around education and research, especially to bring out improvements in undergraduate education and research at Harvard. The plan is to enhance the current undergraduate education system with hands on experience. This is a new concept that is making way into education and higher education these days. So, the need to change the teachng and learning aproach of science subjects is finaly reaching the right places, initially it was debated that school children's must be provided chances in hands on experience, it now slowely spreading from the secondary school education level to the undergraduate level courses. Especially considering the amount of interests student will develop by doing few basic scientific experiments or involving in this "the hands on" approach. I believe it is a good idea, because doing a little bit of basic science as part of hands on experiments can promote more interests in science among the students. A preliminary report from a faculty committee makes recommendations about the future of science at Harvard. (Photo © Harvard News Office).
Here is the article from Harvard Gazzatte!! check the url address....

Science Committee issues preliminary report. Calls for supporting a wide range of approaches to science education and research in Longwood, Allston, and Cambridge

A committee of 24 leading scientists from across Harvard University - five department chairs and one dean - have produced a preliminary set of proposals for "enhancing science and engineering at Harvard" that range from continuing to invest in traditional "core disciplines" to transforming the teaching of science by implementing "hands-on learning as a cornerstone in undergraduate science and engineering education."
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/07.20/14-sciencereport.html

PostDocs-Best Places to Work


PostDocs #1. The David J. Gladstone Institutes at the UCSF.

Interesting to note that J.David Gladstone Institute is picked up by the scientist survey as the best places for postdocs to work, infact the number one among the first places for postdocs. I was in University of California, Berkely campus a couple of years ago for a postdoc meeting, this was the first ever national level postdoc meeting that was organized by UC postdocs and postdoc wellwishers at this place, I found these postdocs are quite outspoken about the problems and issues of postdoc community, they are courageous and forward thinking to bring ideas into action, this is not at all surprising that they got the first place in the survey. I believe that the president and administrators here at the Gladstone are doing a pretty good job in helping and shaping postdocs for their future.
http://www.gladstone.ucsf.edu/gladstone/site/positions/section.php?id=756

PosDocs- NewZealand

New Zealand-NZ

In the postdocs around section, this page will update news and happenings in NewZeland and the postdoc world in NewZeland.

http://www.frst.govt.nz/fellowships/PostDocs.cfm
The New Zealand Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme is intended to foster the development of New Zealand's emerging scientists and future science leaders. It complements other Government initiatives to develop a knowledge society which will assist New Zealand to compete successfully as a knowledge economy. Funding is available for postdoctoral fellowships and to provide bridge to employment support.

August 17, 2006

LATEST POSTDOC NEWS!!!

**The Latest News about Postdoc union:

UAW Petition Filed with the University of California

| | |

Attention UCLA Postdoctoral Scholars:

The United Auto Workers (UAW) has filed a petition with the University of California for exclusive representation of postdoctoral scholars on all ten UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As a condition of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the attached notice must be posted conspicuously on all employee bulletin boards in each facility where postdoctoral scholars are employed.

http://www.postdoc.ucla.edu/node/810


**NIH-NRSA fellowship is added with extra cash for New Medical Health insurance coverage??


http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-06-090.html
Notice of New NIH Policy for Funding of Tuition, Fees, and Health Insurance on Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-090

Key Dates
Release Date: August 4, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

The NIH announces a change in policy for funding of tuition, fees, and health insurance costs for NRSA Postdocs. The new policy applies to new and competing-continuation (renewal) NRSA institutional research training grants (T32, T34, and T35) beginning in fiscal year (FY) FY 2007, and competing individual fellowships (F30, F31, F32, and F33) awarded beginning in FY 2007. It also applies to institutional research training grants that received competing awards in FY 2006. For this cohort, the FY2007 non-competing awards will be issued recalculating budget categories to reflect this new policy.

August 15, 2006

PostDoc Activities & Organizations

PostDocs often left out without proper channels of advice and support, however there are some good local associations that provide some basic help, some of them are listed below.

1. Baylor Postdoctoral Association
http://www.bcm.edu/pda/international.html

Baylor College of Medicine is one of several research centers where the postdoc community is quite big, lots of postdocs work at Baylor. They have got this sense of helping each other through this association. PostDocs will be able to find information related to visa, travel, jobs and other social activities using this site.

2. Brown University Postdoctoral Association
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/bupa/news.html

The association in short called BUPA?. Again, the site provides assistance to postdocs for housing in Providence, RI. Benefits, visa, international student relations and other postdoc related information. The following report and points from BUPA's recent meeting will tell the story that postdocs are struggling to fix issues around benefits, salary, leaves and more.

1. Clarify Brown’s definition of a postdoc. The two most common titles are postdoctoral research associate and postdoctoral fellow. The university has no consistent method for defining postdocs across all departments. Also, postdocs should be promoted to the title of Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate after three years, and to Research Scientist after six years.

2. Provide equal benefits to all postdocs. In general, postdoctoral research associates are university employees and receive full benefits as employees. Postdoctoral fellows generally bring their own funding, and thus are not considered Brown employees. Therefore they do not receive university benefits. This system leads to inequities within departments and labs, and unintentionally punishes postdocs for seeking independent funding. The report recommends that the University provide Fellows access to health and dental benefits at the same individual costs as they are provided to associates. The additional cost must be provided by the department, program, or the institutional allowance of the individual’s grant. Implementing this will be quite difficult, requiring lots of work to assure that the changes are legal and in accordance with tax regulations.

3. The report does not recommend implementing university-wide salary minimums. The large differences in the market pressures for different departments makes this impractical. Salary should, however, be closely monitored by the mechanism recommended in point four.

4. A postdoc liason will be created within the Office of the Vice President of Research to work with BUPA. The liason will assist with organizing events and programs, gather information for distribution to postdocs, maintain information on current postdocs, and help develop grievance procedures for postdocs.

3.Stanford University Postdoctoral Association, in short: SUPD?
http://www.stanford.edu/group/supd/about/news.html

Stanford Universitiy Postdoc Association is one of the most powerful and influential associations in US, because of the sear strength of number of postdocs, there are about 1500 postdocs, wow!?. But yet, they are not free from issues or problems of benefits to child care and what not?.



What kind of PostDoc Help is available in the following places?

This section is under construction

Universities

University of Connecticut
Stanford University
Johns Hopkins University
University of California
Yale University
Harvard University
Brown University
New York University
Columbia University


Institutions
Caltech
MIT
Scripps Research Institute
Howard Hughes


Organizations
NIH postdocs
NSF postdocs

August 10, 2006

Links & Resources of News

UK Graduate Union
PostDocs are associate members of graduate union, though postdocs do not have their own union.
http://www.gradunion.cam.ac.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?
t=431&sid=0f561835b08d08235cf2570091e24574
http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/pdoc/
What's PdOC About?

PdOC is looking for motivated people with innovative ideas to join us and help both current and future generations of Postdocs at Cambridge. We are a young organisation run by Postdocs for Postdocs. Established in 2001, in the years since its inception PdOC has flourished and grown, establishing a strong track record in achieving goals that have been identified university-wide by Postdocs.

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~pdac/steve.html

PostDocs in Canada, PostDocs fate? Dismantling the trap

So how do we end this shameful waste of talent? Some have suggested that granting agencies should waste less money on students, since many students must eventually abandon their careers or leave the country. However, this approach does nothing to solve the present problem, and worse, it is fatally shortsighted. Canada needs highly trained and dedicated scientists.
As well, with professors facing cutbacks, shrinking faculties and increased teaching and administrative loads, grad students and postdocs do an increasing share of the research in Canadian universities. Staunch the flow of graduate students and Canadian research would be choked. But this is no excuse for creating a class of well-trained, disposable indentured servants. If we must produce highly qualified people, it's time to offer them opportunities to use their expertise to benefit us all. To do otherwise isn't merely unjust, it's immeasurably wasteful.

Steven Smith can be reached by e-mail at scsmith@is.dal.ca or by phone at (902) 494-3335 or by fax at (902) 494-3736. University Affairs also welcomes your letters in response to this article.

Read more from the above Link!!!

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/education/8238/8238education3.html

there's a continuing crisis in the postdoctoral enterprise: Many postdocs are underpaid and overworked, with little prestige or status to show for their efforts; often, they are treated simply as extra workers, with few opportunities to be mentored or to expand their skills; and, in a job market that continues to remain tight, they are having less success landing those coveted academic positions. Such concerns can even drive undergraduates away from science and into more lucrative fields such as law or medicine.

http://chronicle.com/jobs/2002/06/2002062001c.htm
And anywhere there's a group of highly educated, highly motivated people willing to fight for change, the situation is bound to get better. Postdocs around the country are airing their grievances, reaching out to administrators, even forming unions. And they're getting results. The progress is especially noticeable at Stanford, where fewer and fewer top-flight researchers feel like second-class citizens.

"Heart-Wrenching" Stories
At Stanford, the tide began to turn in 1999 when a group of disgruntled postdocs decided to speak out.





August 02, 2006

The NEED for OVERHAUL!!!

Slaves to science
For post-docs, finding a supernova is easier than finding a job.
- - - - -By William Speed Weed Feb. 28, 2000
[If you never read this article, it is worth spending some time in reading, an insightful article about postdocs, I admire William Speed Weed for his courage to tell the truth about postdocs are treated like slaves in the academia!?. Here is the link for the article. http://archive.salon.com/books/it/2000/02/28/postdoc/
index.html

This Blog:-

THIS POSTDOC BLOG IS AN EFFORT TO WRITE A-Z ABOUT POSTDOCS. PROVIDE AN INFORMATION CHANNEL TO POSTDOCS, UNITE THEM SO THAT IT CAN BE A VOICE FOR THE POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWS/ POSTDOCS HERE IN USA AND OFCOURSE FOR ALL THE POSTDOCS AROUND THE WORLD. IF YOU ARE CONCERNED OR KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT POSTDOCS PROBLEMS, YOU ARE MOST WELLCOME TO PUBLISH NEWS, COLUMNS, ARTICLES, COMMENTS, REVIEWS ETC., SO, BRING HERE YOUR MESSAGES & SHARE THE IDEAS TO HELP EACH OTHER. GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE POSTDOCS OF THIS WORLD!.

Who are these Little Masters?
These little masters are often given titles such as "postdocs", "postdoctoral fellows", "postdoctoral researcher", "postdoctoral associate", "and postdoctoral scholar". In truth, they toil their life to get this PhD (more than half of life, the most young and prime part of life) goes to earning PhD, the remaining most energetic and efficient part goes to doing post PhD POSTDOC [their academic life and family life is one of the toughest times during postdoc due to low salary, benefits, child care issues, leave/vacation issues, lack of mentoring, lack of independency, among the most difficult issue is to find out a job after postdocs, as there are not many faculty jobs opportunities for the postdocs. Though there are some alternative areas of job opportunities, the postdocs are in most cases academically prepared and thier preference is to be oriented to academy].

What is the Current Postdoc Scenario:-

Doing a postdoc is no longer a luxury or at will training as it was used to be in 1876 or early 1900s. In the initial few decades of the origin of this "POSTDOC", taking up a postdoc was considered to be a voluntary move of an individual to broaden one's background. It was not a mandatory/important requirement to do a postdoc in order to get into a permanent academic position (Asst Professor, or other faculty jobs). However, the scenario is quite different now. There is a significant growth in the academia, the top stakeholders of the academic layer benefited from the changes that took place in the last four or five decades, while postdoc and their fate remained unattended or seen only minimal changes in salary hike occurred instead of looking into this issue with sincere plan.

So we now know that to do a POSTDOC is a must or unavoidable part of one's academic career to move onto a faculty currently. Considering too many highly qualified young scientists chasing around to find out their own project or independent roles in academy, it is not only tough to achieve but it is impractical.

Considering the fact that there are about 100 applicants for 1 Asst Prof Position vacant at a given university or institutions in USA. If this is the case, there is a NEED for a change in improving the current postdoctoral system. Too many Postdocs but too little faculty opportunity, the academic system, PIs and funding agents did not care much to make changes to improve the postdoc's career or job status. So, postdoc of the present days became a type of intellectual slaves, highly educated and poorly paid with inadequate benefits and insecurity throughout their role as a postdoc.

Some call "postdoc" as a kind of training or apprentice to further one's job opportunities. Others call it as an employment!?. Most others say that postdocs are used as "extra pair’s of hands in most of labs. Despite the fact that postdocs are well trained, highly intelligent and extremely hard working, there is hardly any freedom or ability to run their own science project............this is the gray area where improvements can be made by the institutions/universities and the funding bodies like NIH and NSF so that the postdocs move on in the academic ladder, instead they will be wasting lot of time in just thinking about what are they going to do next about their academic future or job prospectives?.


What is the Most authoritative Organization (NAS) think about Postdoc issues:
The frustration of the postdoc issues and their problems was and is constantly debated at the most prestigious "National Academic Borards.

The National Academies Press: Home The National Academies: Home
Read more than 3,600 books online FREE! More than 1000 PDFs now available for sale
The board members represnted from all the scientific areas came out with a recommendation, which can be found in the following publication. Every postdoc, PI, and postdoc related administrators must read this book. For your convenience, I am putting the cover page of the book, I also copied from the book a portion of the "Executive Summary". Just this alone clearly summarises postdocs issues, it is good to know that postdocs got the attention of the highest governing body in science and research, and they are talking about postdocs. This is a good book to read.
Recomended by Muni, 08/10/2006
The book & details of the book, if you are not able to buy, watch out on the website for a free downloadable PDF format of the book, you can read it right on the website or perhaps, I am not sure if you can copy it to your computer, just check out.

Read this book online, free! Click here to proceed to linked table of contents

Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers:

A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies

Book Cover

Status: Available Now

Size: 212 pages, 6 x 9

Publication Year:2000


Below is the executive summary:
Executive Summary

The concept of a postdoctoral scholar in science and engineering arose about a century ago when a handful of PhD researchers were awarded small stipends for the purpose of augmenting their skills and experience. The postdoctoral population in the United States, after decades of gradual growth, leapt ahead quickly in the 1980s and now outnumbers the graduate student population at some US institutions. The total number of postdoctoral scholars, or postdocs, has grown to an estimated 52,000. [this is a old estimate, it is crossed 60,000 and more by now!).

The primary purpose of the postdoctoral experience is to broaden and deepen the research and other skills that are required for a significant contribution to society and satisfying, professional employment. Ideally, this is accomplished through the guidance of an adviser in whose laboratory or department the postdoc works; the administrative and infrastructural support of the host institution; the financial support of a funding organization; and the professional development support of a disciplinary society.

The postdoctoral experience does not always succeed in its educational purpose. In some cases, the postdoc is poorly matched with the research setting; in others, there is little opportunity for growth toward independence, guidance is poor, or a mentoring relationship fails to develop. Sometimes mentors, institutions, and funding organizations have been slow to assign postdocs the status, recognition, and compensation that are commensurate with their skills and contributions to research.

For their part, many postdocs express frustration at their low professional status and inability to fulfill their own expectations to mature as professional researchers, collaborate productively with colleagues (and advisers), and advance in their careers toward rewarding professional positions. While some of this frustration results from a job market that, in some fields, has fewer positions than it does good candidates, it also reflects inadequate administrative attention to mechanisms of the experience that can and should be rectified. In considering needed improvements, it is essential to recognize that the situations of postdocs vary markedly from discipline to discipline and between academic and non-academic settings. Postdocs vary in proficiency; some are quite experienced with little need for guidance, while others are apprentices who require substantial coaching. They also vary in their rate of growth; some learn quickly while others require more time to develop sufficient knowledge and skills to move to the next stage of their career. Moreover, slightly more than half of US postdocs are non-US citizens, many of whom face additional challenges of acculturation and language.

Featured Post

Univerisity of Washington PostDocs Forming Union- Latest University PostDocs to Unionize!

University of Washington, yet another top notch higher education/research institute known for an impressive history and record setting, rig...

UNION yes!!! www.2110uaw.org/gseu/

UNION yes!!! www.2110uaw.org/gseu/
Hello Grads-Say Yes to Union!

PRO/UAW Site

http://www.prouaw.org/home/home.php
Here is the PostDoc Wheel of PRO/UAW, this is like the Wheel of Dhamma of Lord Buddha's that is a symbol of justice and liberation. The latest news from PRO/UAW is very promising to the 5000 or more postdocs in different campuses of University of California System.
PRO/UAW

The Union for Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California
PRO/UAW is the Union for over 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California. By signing up a majority of Postdocs, we can exercise our legal rights to bargain with UC. Postdoc representatives we choose will survey us to determine priorities and will then negotiate a contract with UC. We can negotiate for improvements in wages, hours, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Postdocs will then have an opportunity to democractically approve the agreement that UC and our bargaining team reach, before it becomes a binding contract.