What Do Postdocs Need to Succeed? A Survey of Current Standing and Future Directions for Australian Researchers

9 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2016

See all articles by Margaret Hardy

Margaret Hardy

University of Queensland

Adrian Carter

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

Nikola Bowden

University of Newcastle (Australia) - School of Medicine and Public Health

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

When discussing the postdoctoral period in a researcher’s life, a lack of career progression often boils down to “is it you, or is it me?” Is it a reduction in the quality of candidates, or the fact that there are now too many candidates for a rapidly shrinking pool of jobs? Australia provides an ideal case study, as a large and decentralized country with a government mandate to build the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) workforce. The goal of the present study was 1) to provide a baseline for postdoctoral experiences and career aspirations in Australia, and 2) to identify gaps in postdoctoral training. When undertaking a capacity building programme it is important to know where efforts should be focused. To better understand the demographic and career progression of Australia’s current cohort of postdoctoral researchers, a national survey was undertaken from 2014–2015. More than 280 postdoctoral researchers from government, industry and academic institutions responded. Our results indicate that although postdoctoral researchers work more than the legal maximum of a 38-hour a week (on average) and have a long-term plan to stay in research, there is significant concern over the long-term viability of research careers due to job insecurity and a shortage of funding.

Suggested Citation

Hardy, Margaret and Carter, Adrian and Bowden, Nikola, What Do Postdocs Need to Succeed? A Survey of Current Standing and Future Directions for Australian Researchers (December 2016). Palgrave Communications, Vol. 2, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2885806 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2016.93

Margaret Hardy (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Adrian Carter

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Nikola Bowden

University of Newcastle (Australia) - School of Medicine and Public Health

Newcastle
Australia

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