Aspiring science academics must confront, overcome tough reality

October 22, 2015

Anyone who aspires to become a tenured researcher in the sciences needs to seriously consider the economic and political factors that currently constrain opportunities in this area, writes Harvard Medical Professor Jonathan Thon. Biomedical researchers in the US, for example, now receive their first faculty appointment at an average age of 38 (for PhDs) or 37 (for MDs), and the situation has no doubt gotten worse since the recession of 2008. Thon insists that funding for more postdoctoral fellowships is imperative to provide researchers with the skills and experiences necessary to seek out tenure-stream positions. Navigating the extremely competitive job market for scientific research requires hope, he concludes, but also a sober sense of the challenges facing aspiring researchers. University Affairs