The Boston Globe reports on the post-doc crisis in science research:
The life of the humble biomedical postdoctoral researcher was never easy: toiling in obscurity in a low-paying scientific apprenticeship that can stretch more than a decade. The long hours were worth it for the expected reward — the chance to launch an independent laboratory and do science that could expand human understanding of biology and disease.
But in recent years, the postdoc position has become less a stepping stone and more of a holding tank. Some of the smartest people in Boston are caught up in an all-but-invisible crisis, mired in a biomedical underclass as federal funding for research has leveled off, leaving the supply of well-trained scientists outstripping demand.
That's a winning combination for the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, which celebrates efforts to turn doctoral thesis topics into interpretive dance. This year's top prize goes to University of Oxford biologist Cedrick Tan, for a series of dances based on his study of "Sperm Competition Between Brothers and Female Choice." The dance video has to be seen to be believed (and understood).
anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed
The U.S. National Institute of Heath has urged steps to curb growth in "training" positions in biomedical research (report). [more inside]
In this annual contest, each dance must be based on a scientist's Ph.D. research, and the scientist must be part of the dance. Biomedical engineer Joel Miller has won Best Ph.D. Dance of 2011. The crowning ceremony will be held at TEDxBrussels in Belgium on November 22, 2011. No word yet on whether the winning choreography will be performed. Previously danced here.
Is There a Shortage of Skilled Foreign Workers? What is never mentioned is that “the best and the brightest” are already here. This argument is an old one. [more inside]
The Real Science Gap:
“There is no scientist shortage,” declares Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman, a pre-eminent authority on the scientific work force. Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leading demographer who is also a national authority on science training, cites the “profound irony” of crying shortage — as have many business leaders, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates — while scores of thousands of young Ph.D.s labor in the nation’s university labs as low-paid, temporary workers, ostensibly training for permanent faculty positions that will never exist.