Pay and support early career scientists

Graduate student workers remain on strike in the University of California system, although some news outlets are reporting that a tentative deal has been reached for postdocs and other academic researchers to end their strike, now in its third week.

Postdocs are considered early career in academic science, despite the usually 5+ years of research experience they bring as a graduate student, plus often experience before that. They bring a wealth of expertise to technical projects – and that knowledge and contribution should be fairly compensated!

I co-authored an editorial in the December issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment that went live online today titled “Action to support early career ecologists.” The other authors and I, all current or former chairs of the Early Career Ecologists section of the Ecological Society of America, outline four key points that the early career ecology workforce needs more of:

  • Equity and inclusion, including understanding of its important by more senior people
  • Funding, both for salary and benefits and also for development opportunities such as conference travel
  • Mentorship in targeted and individualized areas and development opportunities
  • Exposure to diverse career opportunities and paths

Also I want to point out that the December issue cover highlights glaciers and tardigrades – one of my favorites!