ASCB survey

Megan Brown mbrown at
Sat Aug 8 00:07:55 EST 1998

It is worth emphasizing that this survey looks at current members of ASCB
who chose to respond. The membership of ASCB is largely academic so many
of the people who initially wanted academic jobs but could not find them
(probably a much larger fraction now than in the 70s, for example) will
not be included in the responses. Another finding of the study was
that 25% of those surveyed, if they could choose again, would not do the
Ph.D. All in all, a really interesting study.

Megan Brown

JFRUGOLI at wrote:
: 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
:              funding 
:   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
: 409-842-2595
: FAX 409-862-4790
: *****************************************************


Megan Brown
mbrown at
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, Washington

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