Postdocs in crisis: science cannot risk losing the next generation

The pandemic has worsened the plight of postdoctoral researchers. Funders need to be offering more than moral support.

"Now is the time to pause or slow down the treadmill of research evaluation"

Nature conducted a poll ran in June and July, and more than 7,600 people responded from across 19 disciplines. The sample, a self-selecting group scattered over 93 countries, is not fully representative globally, because the overwhelming majority of respondents are in Europe and North America. But the picture that emerges is undoubtedly concerning. 

   Six out of ten respondents think the pandemic has worsened their career prospects, and one in four feel that their supervisors have not done enough to support them during the pandemic. Moreover, 23% of respondents said that they have sought help for anxiety or depression caused by their work, and a further 26% would like such help but have not yet sought it. This is in line with other findings of pandemic-related mental ill-health.

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Nature 585, 160 (2020) 

doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-02541-9