The past week is the third annual celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Time flies so fast! It is already my third experience in celebrating postdoc appreciation day/week. I still remember the first time I heard about National Postdoc Appreciation Day in 2009. Together with friends in the lab, we trooped over to get free ice cream and enjoy a happy hour for postdocs. At that time, I was not sure that if this celebration would be an annual event because I never thought of having a day for postdoc fellows to be appreciated. The good news is more than 70 institutions organized activities for the first celebration.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has estimated that there are approximately 43,000-89,000 postdocs in the United States, although institutions do not usually keep records. The number is rapidly increasing each year. In spite of holding a Ph.D., the median salary of postdoctoral scholars is $38,000 a year – far below the median wage of individuals holding only a bachelor’s degree. The average postdoctoral scholar puts in significant overtime, working over 50 hours a week, although they are not paid for overtime.
So, one of the goals for the Outreach Committee in National Postdoc Assocation is to make National Postdoc days nationally recognized. As a member of the Outreach Committee at that time, I helped contact representatives in Maryland to ask for their help in co-sponsoring H.Res.1545, which expresses support for designating the week beginning on the third Monday in September as ‘‘National Postdoc Appreciation Week.”
“H.Res.1545 supports the designation of ‘National Postdoc Appreciation Week;’ recognizes the accomplishments and contributions postdocs make to departments, institutions, fields and communities around the United States; and encourages the improvement of training and career opportunities in various research fields at all levels of training and stages of all research careers.”
Later, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Res. 1545, which officially recognizes National Postdoc Appreciation Week, which occurs during the week of the third Monday in September.
The 2010 National Postdoc Appreciation Week was from September 20-24th. 87 institutions in the United States and Canada participated and organized events to recognize postdoctoral researchers, including all kinds of seminars, receptions, happy hours and photo shoots. I invited my PI to go with me and show his support to postdocs. A large group of NIH postdocs took pictures with the NIH director for the celebration. This year, NIH organized similar events for the National Postdoc Week during September 19-23th. However, I was busy in lab and did not get a chance to join in.
Postdocs are well-educated scientist, engineers and researchers who make up one of the most substantial driving forces for innovation and research. I hope that each postdoc fellow can contribute their talent to their field and am looking forward the next National Postdoc Appreciation Week!
“Whereas research is the mechanism by which humankind achieves innovation and progress; Whereas in order for the United States to maintain a leadership role in the world, citizens must be well educated to harbor the world’s best scientists, engineers, and researchers in all fields of study; Whereas postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) make up one of the most substantial driving forces for innovation and research; Whereas the base of available knowledge is increasing exponentially; Whereas given such rapid rates of knowledge expansion, increasing levels of training and education are required beyond the average undergraduate level and even beyond graduate study levels to generate the next generations of innovators in every field of study; Whereas postdocs conduct work and studies in a complex transition period while being both trainees and paid professionals; and Whereas the week beginning on the third Monday in September would be an appropriate week to designate as ‘‘National Postdoc Appreciation Week’’: Now, therefore, be it. ” Detail’s of the resolution from http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.RES.1545