Academic ecosystems must evolve to support a sustainable postdoc workforce

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The postdoctoral workforce comprises a growing proportion of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, and plays a vital role in advancing science. Postdoc professional development, however, remains rooted in outdated realities. We propose enhancements to postdoc-centred policies and practices to better align this career stage with contemporary job markets and work life. By facilitating productivity, wellness and career advancement, the proposed changes will benefit all stakeholders in postdoc success—including research teams, institutions, professional societies and the scientific community as a whole. To catalyse reform, we outline recommendations for (1) skills-based training tailored to the current career landscape, and (2) supportive policies and tools outlined in postdoc handbooks. We also invite the ecology and evolution community to lead further progressive reform.


  • Murielle Ålund
  • Nathan Emery
  • Benjamin J.M. Jarrett
  • Kirsty J. MacLeod
  • Helen F. McCreery
  • Nadya Mamoozadeh
  • John G. Phillips
  • Jory Schossau
  • Andrew W. Thompson
  • Alexa R. Warwick
  • Kelsey M. Yule
  • Erin R. Zylstra
  • Eben Gering
External organisations
  • Michigan State University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Idaho
  • Arizona State University
  • Nova Southeastern University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Studies
  • Environmental Management
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777–781
Number of pages7
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun
Publication categoryResearch