Currently, postdoctoral fellow (PDF) researchers in Canada face challenges due to the precarious nature of their employment and their overall low compensation and benefits coverage. This report presents three themes, written as statements of need, to support an inclusive and thriving PDF community. These themes are the need for better terms of employment and conditions, the need for access to grants by non-permanent research staff, and the need for a sustainable PDF hiring model that considers the outcomes for the PDFs. We make six recommendations: R1. PDFs should be hired and compensated as skilled experts in their areas, not as trainees. R2. Standard PDF hiring practices should be revised to be more inclusive of different life circumstances. - R2.1 Allow PDFs the option of part-time employment. - R2.2 Remove years-since-PhD time limits from PDF jobs. - R2.3 Financially support PDF hires for relocation and visa expenses. R3. CASCA should form a committee to advocate for and provide support to astronomy PDFs in Canada. R4. CASCA should encourage universities to create offices dedicated to their PDFs. R5. PDFs and other PhD-holding term researchers with a host institution should be able to compete for and win grants to self-fund their own research. R6. Astronomy in Canada should hire general-purpose continuing support scientist positions instead of term PDFs to fill project or mission-specific requirements. In short, we ask for prioritization of people over production of papers.
- Pub Date:
- November 2019
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Physics - Physics and Society
- State of the profession white paper submitted to the Canadian Long Range Plan 2020 decadal survey with appendices