ASCB survey

Thu Aug 6 13:32:27 EST 1998

The editorial in this week's Science (vol 281 no 5377) is based on an American Society for 
Cell Biology survey of its members done by a professional survey agency and provides some 
hard numbers for some of the topics frequently discussed on this list.  The data is 
availible at, but I thought I'd share some mentioned in the editorial to 
spark some discussion.

Q) Does it take longer to get a PhD these days?
A) 1970s-4.4 yrs, 
   1990s 5.6 years

Q) Do people do more postdocs these days because jobs aren't availible?
A) pre 1970 percentage of doctorates who did a second postdoc because they were unable to
            find a  satisfactory independent position : 14% 
   1980s 39%

Q) Is it harder to get funding these days?
A) pre 1970, 71% of first time applicants to NIH, NSF or the American Cancer Society got
  1980s 43%

Q) Is science a less satisfying career these days?
A) 1970s cohort 81% report job satisfaction
   1980s 49%

I believe this debunks the "it's always been hard, today's students,postdocs, and young 
faculty just complain more" opinion I've heard expressed.    And these are 
biologists-imagine what the physics/math numbers must look like!

Julia Frugoli
Texas A&M University
Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology
Crop Biotechnology Center
MS# 2123
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-862-4790

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