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News & Press: Publications

2017 NPA Institutional Policy Report Released

Wednesday, January 3, 2018   (0 Comments)
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January 3, 2018


The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) is pleased to announce the release of Supporting the Needs of Postdocs: 2017 National Postdoctoral Association Institutional Policy Report. Published in partnership with Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, Supporting the Needs of Postdocs summarizes the results from a 2016 survey of 130 NPA institutional Sustaining Members and aids in assessing the needs of the postdoctoral community and of postdoctoral scholars. It will be published as a supplement to the January/February 2018 issue of Sigma Xi’s magazine, American Scientist, and has been posted online on the NPA’s website.

Supporting the Needs of Postdocs provides national data on postdoctoral office (PDO) reporting structure, funding, operating budgets, training and benefits information. In 2005, Sigma Xi conducted the first large-scale survey of individual U.S. postdocs to collect data on the policies and practices of postdoctoral training, and released the data in the report, Doctors Without Borders. The NPA’s 2013 Institutional Policy Survey revised questions from the Sigma Xi survey and asked PDOs to provide answers to paint a better picture of office structure, operating budgets, and university policies and benefits that pertain to postdocs. This data was published in National Postdoctoral Association Institutional Policy Report 2014: Supporting and Developing Postdoctoral Scholars.

Key recommendations from Supporting the Needs of Postdocs include that institutions that hire postdocs should increase the staff and budget for their offices that handle postdoc affairs, provide higher compensation and equality in benefits, increase parental leave policies and family-friendly benefits, and implement more tracking of postdocs after they leave an institution.

“Improvements have been made in the postdoc experience,” notes Kate Sleeth, past chair of the NPA Board of Directors. “However, there are still areas for growth. The NPA is committed to providing guidance and resources to our membership and advocating at the national level to ensure that improvements continue to be made.”


The data on postdoc stipend levels, insurance benefits, appointment policies, access to training programs, and retirement benefits in Supporting the Needs of Postdocs will inform decision makers and allow postdoc offices to advocate for better programs and services, and identify best practices. Custom reports of data for institutions to compare themselves with their peer institutions are available.

We thank our Sustaining Members for their contribution to Supporting the Needs of Postdocs. In appreciation for providing data that contributed to this report, NPA Sustaining Members will receive a hard copy of the report.

In addition to Sigma Xi’s contribution to Supporting the Needs of Postdocs, the report received support from The Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Elsevier. The January/February edition of American Scientist, published by Sigma Xi, will be sold at Barnes & Noble and newsstand locations starting January 9.