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Pay for US Postdocs Varies Wildly by Institution

By November 9, 2017No Comments

Some postdoctoral researchers at public universities in the United States apparently work for fast-food wages whereas others make more than US$100,000 a year, an analysis of postdoc pay has revealed.

The salary data, which a science-advocacy group released on 1 November after a year-long investigation, are incomplete and — in some cases — appear to be incorrect. Some researchers are listed as earning nothing, and another study underway suggests a higher overall rate of pay for US postdocs. But the latest analysis underscores the challenges of getting basic information about an under-recognized and misunderstood segment of the academic workforce.

Gary McDowell, a former developmental biologist and executive director of Future of Research, an advocacy group in Boston, Massachusetts, used the US Freedom of Information Act to gather salary reports for nearly 13,000 postdocs at 51 public universities. Through personal connections, he also received salary information from one private institution, Boston University in Massachusetts.