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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
Policy and Global Affairs
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The  Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) is a joint unit of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Most of its members are current or former members of the Councils of the three institutions. COSEPUP operates out of the Policy and Global Affairs unit of the National Research Council.

COSEPUP mainly conducts studies on cross-cutting issues in science and technology policy. It was chartered by the Academies to address "the concerns and requests of the President's Science Advisor, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Chair of the National Science Board, and heads of other federal research and development departments and agencies, and the Chairs of key science and technology-related committees of the Congress." It also monitors key developments in U.S. science and technology policy for the Academies' leadership.
 
COSEPUP studies are usually conducted by special interdisciplinary panels comprising the nation's best scientific and engineering expertise. While many studies are sponsored by government agencies, COSEPUP procedures safeguard its studies from the influence of sponsors or other outside groups. 


 
LATEST REPORT RELEASES  

Postdoc coverThe Postdoctoral Experience Revisited builds on the 2000 report Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers. That ground-breaking report assessed the postdoctoral experience and provided principles, action points, and recommendations to enhance that experience. Since the publication of the 2000 report, the postdoctoral landscape has changed considerably. The percentage of PhDs who pursue postdoctoral training is growing steadily and spreading from the biomedical and physical sciences to engineering and the social sciences. The average length of time spent in postdoctoral positions seems to be increasing. The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited reexamines postdoctoral programs in the United States, focusing on how postdocs are being guided and managed, how institutional practices have changed, and what happens to postdocs after they complete their programs. This book explores important changes that have occurred in postdoctoral practices and the research ecosystem and assesses how well current practices meet the needs of these fledgling scientists and engineers and of the research enterprise.

The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited takes a fresh look at current postdoctoral fellows - how many there are, where they are working, in what fields, and for how many years. This book makes recommendations to improve aspects of programs - postdoctoral period of service, title and role, career development, compensation and benefits, and mentoring. Current data on demographics, career aspirations, and career outcomes for postdocs are limited. This report makes the case for better data collection by research institution and data sharing.

A larger goal of this study is not only to propose ways to make the postdoctoral system better for the postdoctoral researchers themselves but also to better understand the role that postdoctoral training plays in the research enterprise. It is also to ask whether there are alternative ways to satisfy some of the research and career development needs of postdoctoral researchers that are now being met with several years of advanced training. Postdoctoral researchers are the future of the research enterprise. The discussion and recommendations of The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited will stimulate action toward clarifying the role of postdoctoral researchers and improving their status and experience.


Arc Cover
America's research universities have undergone striking change in recent decades, as have many aspects of the society that surrounds them. This change has important implications for the heart of every university: the faculty. To sustain their high level of intellectual excellence and their success in preparing young people for the various roles they will play in society, universities need to be aware of how evolving conditions affect their ability to attract the most qualified people and to maximize their effectiveness as teachers and researchers.

Gender roles, family life, the demographic makeup of the nation and the faculty, and the economic stability of higher education all have shifted dramatically over the past generation. In addition, strong current trends in technology, funding, and demographics suggest that change will continue and perhaps even accelerate in academe in the years to come. One central element of academic life has remained essentially unchanged for generations, however: the formal structure of the professorial career. Developed in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to suit circumstances quite different from today's, and based on traditions going back even earlier, this customary career path is now a source of strain for both the individuals pursuing it and the institutions where they work.

The Arc of the Academic Research Career is the summary of a workshop convened by The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy in September 2013 to examine major points of strain in academic research careers from the point of view of both the faculty members and the institutions. National experts from a variety of disciplines and institutions discussed practices and strategies already in use on various campuses and identified issues as yet not effectively addressed. This workshop summary addresses the challenges universities face, from nurturing the talent of future faculty members to managing their progress through all the stages of their careers to finding the best use of their skills as their work winds down.
 

 

 
UPCOMING EVENTS

September 10-11, 2015

COSEPUP Meeting
Keck Building, Washington, DC

 
 

 RECENT EVENTS


February 25, 2015

Collaborative Workshop to Improve Postdoctoral Training
National Academy of Sciences Building , Washington, DC

 March 23-25, 2015

Presidents' Circle and COSEPUP Joint Meeting
NAS Building, Washington, DC

 April 25-28, 2015

National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting
NAS Building, Washington, DC

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