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Challenges being faced by postdoctoral fellows in Canada

Marianne Stanford, chair of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS), speaks about the challenges that today's postdoctoral scholars face and their prospects outside of the academic "parking lot."

SEP 13 2010

Career Corner 2010

Presenter: Marianne Stanford, chair of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS).

Introduction (8:27)

0:00 – 1:40   Themes around postdoctoral scholars
1:40 – 2:40   Defining the “postdoc”
2:40 – 5:15   Debunking the postdoc myths
5:15 – 7:15   What is CAPS?
7:15 – 8:27   Who is the Canadian postdoctoral scholar?

Profiling the postdoc scholar (9:40)

0:00 – 1:55   A snapshot of the postdoc
1:55 – 5:10   Are postdocs being undercompensated?
5:10 – 6:00   How satisfied are postdoc scholars?
6:00 – 7:00   Employee vs. trainee
7:00 – 9:40   The key to postdoc satisfaction

Shifting the postdoc mindset (7:43)

0:00 – 1:25   Canadian postdoc experience doesn’t make the grade
1:25 – 4:50   Five ways of improving the postdoc experience
4:50 – 6:05   Gathering stakeholders around postdoc needs
6:05 – 7:43   Announcements of postdoc funding in federal budget

The issue of taxation (9:24)

0:00 – 2:10   Standardizing tax regulations for postdocs
2:10 – 4:00   CAPS takes a stance on taxation
4:00 – 5:10   Advocacy and support behind CAPS
5:10 – 6:15   Looking ahead on taxation issue
6:15 – 9:24   Giving postdocs employment status is not the answer 

Moving out of the academic parking lot (5:53)

0:00 – 2:05   Academic positions vs. ‘alternative’ careers
2:05 – 3:10   The false belief of available industry jobs
3:10 – 5:00   Be realistic, be informed and be involved
5:00 – 5:53   Acknowledgements 

Question and answer period (9:52)

0:00 – 2:52   The importance of postdoc recognition
2:52 – 4:30   Don’t sugarcoat your career prospects
4:30 – 6:10   Postdocs are often undervalued
6:10 – 7:40   A push for clear policy surrounding postdocs
7:40 – 8:50   Have a plan B and a plan C
8:50 – 9:47   The “overqualified” myth


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  1. Allison / September 30, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Wow, I’m super lucky to have chosen to do my postdoc in Australia. It’s just like the UK example given, where there is a minimum salary, and my Cdn fellowship is topped up to that level. I’m making close to $70k/year, I get paid vacation leave, I get a pension that my employer also pays into, and I even have the opportunity to apply for academic promotion equivalent to an Asst prof. We are certainly treated as “employees” and not “trainees” here. We have to complete a statement of expectations, just any other staff member does, and it’s reviewed every 2 years.

    Thanks for posting this talk. It was very informative, especially about the myth of a retirement wave. I didn’t realize it’s been around for so long! Kudos for all your hard work at making the postdoc process better.

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