• Sara Rimer

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Sara Rimer

    Sara Rimer spent 26 years as a reporter at the New York Times, where she wrote about education, the death penalty, immigration, and aging in America, and was the New England bureau chief. The Times nominated her for the Pulitzer Prize. Her coverage of the death penalty was cited by the Supreme Court in its 2002 ruling outlawing the execution of developmentally disabled individuals. Profile

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There are 5 comments on Too Many Postdocs, Too Little Funding

  1. […] Too Many Postdocs, Too Little Funding […]

  2. This is a problem that demands a political solution, one that goes beyond mere squabbling over more crumbs from a shrinking pie. It’s time to put real pressure on Congress to reorient funding priorities. Too much money is wasted on military adventurism & frivolous, wasteful activity (“Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI!!”) instead of properly funding education & research. One good start is to overthrow Citizens United, which turns Congress into tools of people who care nothing for he public good.

  3. The reality is that the trainees think that being a PI in academia is Mecca or Heaven. You have to pay the price. If you really love doing it then 80 hours a week is trivial. A Ph.D.may have been a valedictorian in high school or as an undergrad had a GPA above 3.75 but there is a glut of them…. they are dime a dozen at the university level. To get to the top, you not only have to be gifted (not just academically smart); able to be original, think out of the box, and truly dedicated and focused like an Olympic athlete. Unfortunately at a young age, students/trainees don’t know what reality is. Dreamers. Analogous is the situation where an athlete thinks he/she will make the Olympics or be a professional athlete. The odds are astronomical! Furthermore federal funding will be not more than marginally better for the next decade unless wars end and the political atmosphere makes a abrupt turnaround.

  4. This is really sad. Makes you wonder how many jobs are going to be out there for new graduates, or how many jobs fall victim to the Hollywood affect (A few spots going to a lucky few). To those who have a hard time with the idea of more government funding, don’t forget that the development of the Internet and computer industry was the result of government money.

  5. I don’t think that taking time off academia should be a problem. For example, Boston hospitals and universities are filled to the brim with foreign PhD’s. Harvard competes with Goldman Sachs for the highest share of J1 visas in the country. I am not going to debate individual cases, but I think that, as a whole, Boston-minted PhD’s are likely more qualified. There is no real circumstance in which a mentor, looking to grow a postdoc into a professor, would forego an application from an US postgraduate, because the latter took some time off. Sadly, too few professors are genuinely interested in creating peers, who will soon compete for the same grants. Most professors who hire foreign PhD are determined to use them as cheap labor, and most postdoc jobs are a trap.

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