Continuing with my twitter review of AAS 219 sessions:
The Astrophysics Postdoc Job Market – AAS Employment Committee
This was a panel discussion where panel members included heads of postdoc fellowship programs and successful ex-postdocs who have moved on to faculty, research staff, industry, and education positions. Overall the discussion was interesting but rather open-ended. Here are my tweets, with some additional explanation in a couple of cases.
- The object of your training is not necessarily to turn you into a faculty member. Be flexible.
- Consider education, management, policy… you can often have a much bigger impact.
- Postdoc period is a time of stress and transition, but also a time of learning and searching for your place.
- AAS Survey 2000-2006, 270 new postdocs available each year and NASA named fellowships 10% of those.
- 97% of NASA named fellows are still in the field, 85% have permanent positions (not necessarily faculty). — These stats are 2000-2006 before the economic downturn.
- Our training is incomplete w.r.t. knowing how to interact with people (non-specialists).
- Research shouldn’t be 100% of your time. Maybe organize a seminar, teach a class, something else.
- You don’t need a named fellowship for an R1 faculty position. You do need to demonstrate the whole package.
- Carve out time to demonstrate your independence and the skills that faculty already exhibit.
- Faculty search committees ask “Are you a match to our department?”
- The number of postdoc positions has tripled in the last decade.
- The number of tenure track faculty positions in the last decade has not changed.
- “Do not assign yourself a flat prior to the probability you will get a faculty job.” – J. Johnson
- There is the possibility of exploitation in hard economic times. We as postdocs should be aware.
- There is some precedence for NSF/NASA to incentivize permanent positions. This is highly debated.
- One suggestion to provide bridge funding for new faculty lines during bad times when faculty aren’t retiring.
- There is a gigantic information asymmetry when applying for faculty jobs… the rumor mill helps but isn’t perfect.
- Beware, there can be false information on the rumor mill and self-serving behavior.
If you attended the session, what were your questions and take-away messages?