Science Policy Research Report: Entrepreneurial Career Opportunities for Science and Engineering Postdoctoral Researchers

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Academic postdoctoral research positions were originally intended to provide additional training in preparation for tenure-track university faculty positions. Many postdoctoral researchers are currently unlikely to obtain a faculty job. These individuals possess scientific knowledge of value to science and technology-based companies. This project examines evidence on university and government programs that promising career alternative in the private sector. The project documents the needs of current and potential employers to understand factors that will better prepare postdocs to work in the private sector. The project recommends new programs and policies to prepare and assist postdoctoral researchers for careers in corporations and startups.

This project reviews research that examines the purpose and structure as well as the career-related benefits and challenges of these positions. This project will conduct original case studies of existing career development programs focused on preparing postdocs to work in corporations and startup companies. The research will also focus on how non-academic career outcomes may vary for postdocs based on their race and gender, which are two critical considerations for leveraging the benefits of a diverse science and technology talent pool. Based on these findings, the project will result in policy recommendations for government and university leaders to improve postdoctoral researcher career outcomes and increase the public return on its research investment.

Principal Investigator: 
Christopher Hayter
Arizona State University
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Start Date: 
May, 15 2017
Last Amendment Date: 
May, 02 2017
Expiration Date: 
Dec, 31 2017
Award Instrument: 
Standard Grant
Program Manager: 
Maryann Feldman
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