New publication: Assessing the landscape of postdoc salaries in 2016

New publication: Assessing the landscape of postdoc salaries in 2016

A plot of the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Awards Year 0 stipend by Financial Year. Also includes a comparison of salaries with their approximate value in 2017, using the Personal Consumer Expenditure Index.   In 2016, the very earliest days of Future of Research’s existence as a nonprofit were dominated by the announcement of updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and in particular how that would effectively raise postdoc salaries to $47,476 on December 1st 2016.   The birth – and death – of this update to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and how it was being implemented at institutions, occupied much of our attention, and is summarized in our publication Monitoring the compliance of the academic enterprise with the Fair Labor Standards Act. But even though the update was ultimately not implemented, the academic research system largely went ahead with changes to institutional policies to raise recommended postdoc salaries.   We were however aware of the issue that institutions vary significantly in their ability to count, and presumably, identify postdocs. This led us to ask a number of questions:   If institutions are unable to count their postdocs, and presumably are not overseeing them, do all postdocs receive the salaries set out in an institution’s policy? How strong is the relationship between the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award stipends (which affect only 15% of graduate students and postdocs funded by NIH, which is not the only funder of postdocs) and what postdocs are getting paid? Are there any factors affecting salary, such as location, gender, or job title?   We therefore began...
Sexual harassment policies at NSF and NIH

Sexual harassment policies at NSF and NIH

Policies surrounding sexual harassment in science and federal grant funding have been heavily discussed and been the subject of updates in the last few days. We have attempted to summarize updates below, and may clarify with updates (which will be noted below). NIH creates sexual harassment website On Monday National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins issued a statement discussing how NIH is addressing sexual harassment. No policy changes were announced, a website with sexual harassment information was launched, and the notice spoke of “new initiatives” for the intramural program to be released in the Federal Register today, which appear to consist of a new Manual Chapter and policy piece on personal relationships. National Science Foundation increases oversight At the same time, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new term and condition of award, following a process of proposing rule changes and soliciting public comments (to which Future of Research submitted comments in May 2018). The new term and condition of award requires institutions to notify NSF when a funded investigator is placed under administrative action at an institution. Further details are summarized in their press release and fact sheet. NIH responds to NSF changes Following the announcement by NSF, NIH issued a statement acknowledging NSF’s new terms, but stating that: “Legal constraints that apply differently to NSF and NIH currently prevent NIH from immediate implementation of an identical policy.  A rulemaking process would be needed to determine if NIH can require the same responses from our awardee organizations.” The process in question appears to be due to differences in the Code of Federal Regulations....
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

  From the National Academies site:   “The study scope will include the following:  Review of the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment on college and university campuses, in research labs and field sites; at hospitals/medical centers; and in other academic environments; Examination of existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers, with comparative evidence drawn from other sectors, such as the military, government, and the private sector. Identification and analysis of policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings. For purposes of this study, the definition of sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature, as well as those situations in which the work or study environment is made intimidating or offensive as a result of actions that are gender-based and that interfere with an individual’s academic or work performance, opportunities for advancement, and morale.   Report Release Event Public Report Release Event June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET Washington, DC To attend in person or via webcast: Webcast will be made live on this page on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM ET. How can academic institutions improve in the #MeToo era? Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Tuesday June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET, for the public release of...
Future of Research Board of Directors issues response to NSF Sexual Harassment policy

Future of Research Board of Directors issues response to NSF Sexual Harassment policy

The Board of Directors of Future of Research has submitted a response to the National Science Foundation’s request for comment on Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault. You can find the statement here as a downloadable PDF and below. At time of writing, there was still time to comment (comments due end May 4th 2018); we urge you to submit comments here. Future of Research Response to the National Science Foundation’s request for comment on Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault Future of Research (FoR) is an early-career researcher-led nonprofit that seeks to champion, engage and empower early career scientists with evidence-based resources to improve the scientific research endeavor. The hypercompetitive research system and the dependence on faculty for research and career development create a power dynamic that can facilitate exploitation and harassment. For the approximately 45% of graduate students in science and engineering, and 55% of postdocs on temporary visas that are tied to their employment status, this dynamic is even more skewed. Many early career researchers thus cannot report sexual harassment without endangering their careers and/or immigration status. We therefore applaud and support the National Science Foundation’s proposed changes in Important Notice No. 144 issued February 4th 2018.   Data illustrating the landscape and power dynamics that make academe an environment particularly conducive to sexual harassment of postdocs were discussed by Future of Research President Dr. Jessica Polka and National Postdoctoral Association Chair Dr. Kate Sleeth at the Fourth Committee Meeting of The Committee on Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia as...