The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) appreciates the efforts of the Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative and thanks the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) for producing “The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through” report. Several aspects of this report build upon the work the NPA has done over the years in creating and providing resources for the postdoctoral community.
In 2005, the NPA issued its groundbreaking Recommendations for Postdoctoral Policies and Practices to improve the postdoctoral experience through enhanced training and a culture of enhanced professional growth. The recently released 2017 Institutional Policy Report elucidates the current needs of the postdoctoral community and underscores NPA’s commitment to seeking new ways to improve the postdoctoral experience. Key recommendations are highlighted including: increasing postdoctoral office staff and budgets, increasing postdoctoral researchers compensation and equality of benefits, and implementing family-friendly benefits and leave policies. We have also created and provided resources focused on the following: recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce at all stages of career development, the importance of mentoring in postdoctoral training, and the need to collect data on postdoctoral scholars’ demographics to tailor programs to better prepare trainees for their individual career paths. These efforts and resources correlate with and support key recommendations in the NASEM report.
While we acknowledge that there are many challenging topics addressed in the NASEM report, the NPA is hopeful that it will build upon prior and advance current improvements to the postdoctoral experience. Successful implementation of the recommendations in the report will take coordinated effort and considerable investment of funding agencies, institutions, professional societies and associations, and postdoctoral researchers. The NPA would like to invite our postdoctoral offices, postdoctoral scholars, and all members to reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your opinions and thoughts on the NASEM report and its implementation. Our mission is to give everyone a voice, and allow for future partnering with key stakeholders to continue to enhance the postdoctoral experience.