Category Archives: Postdocs in Physics

New NSF Proposal Policies

According to the 2009 “Proposal & Award Policy and Proceedures” guide released by the National Science Foundation, any new proposal that requests funding for postdoctoral researchers must include a separate section on Postdoc Mentoring that details “the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals”. All new proposals must have this or they will be returned with out review. This new requirement is part of the 2007 “America Competes Act”.

The CCPD believes this is a good thing, at least in theory. It remains to be seen how this will be put into practice.



Will the stimulus package help science?

President Obama recently signed into law a trillion spending plan designed to stimulate the sagging (and perhaps crashing) US economy. His emphasis is on Energy, Education, and Health Care Reform. As part of this, the various science funding agencies will receive multi-billion dollar boosts over the next few years with much of it targeted towards basic energy research. This should be good for physics and engineering… thoughts??

Postdoc Best Practices

APS has recently approached physics department chairs to ask them how they deal with the problems that many postdocs face. Below is an excerpt from the January 17, 2007, letter to department chairs from APS Executive Officer Judy Franz, followed by a link to some of the responses and additional information.

“I’m writing to ask for a few moments of your time to help us with an important initiative regarding postdocs. As you know, physicists in their postdoc years are especially vulnerable—their future careers depend critically on the success of their research during this rather brief period. Yet we hear of concerns from postdocs about their isolation, poor health benefits and maternity leave policies, lack of travel funds, and being tied too closely to one advisor or one project.

APS would like to learn how your department deals with such concerns, as well as any other ideas you have that would help postdocs be more productive. We will then circulate a list of departmental best practices and post it on the APS website with the hope that more physics departments will adopt these practices.”

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