I have entered the Post Doctoral Fellow Black Hole…
I’ve witnessed a lot and heard about much more and, while this is the time in academic life when you’re meant to be the busiest, I have begun this blog. Just as a black hole is difficult to define, the label Post Doc is bandied about with recklessness by university administrators, professors, and even PDFs themselves. One thing is certain though… once you get sucked in, it appears to be near impossible to get back out.
Over my 5+ years at UBC and in Vancouver, I had the enormous pleasure of working with some very bright and motivated people who first sat down at a bar about 4 years ago and posed the question “What’s wrong with the science enterprise?” The onslaught began from those burned by standardized testing (or lack thereof), to those not on the scholarship gravy train (for reasons as diverse and random as you can imagine), to those whose jaws have still not been set back in place since learning that you can get a Canadian undergraduate degree in biology without any laboratory courses.
This blog will give my biased but hopefully not too distorted view on such issues, often reflecting the sentiments expressed in those informal meetings, the information collected, and some possible directions forward. It would be a true shame if graduate students and post docs were forced to redo this sort of heavy lifting (read drinking together and surfing the Internet) so the first series of blog entries will attempt to avoid having the wheel reinvented and give the next brave group some starting points.
Naturally, this site will evolve over the course of time and engage additional issues as they arise. In fact, joining me from the outset is good friend and colleague, Dr. Beth Snow. Together (and with future new partners) we hope this series of blogs will engage issues that face science trainees across Canada from finding jobs, to communicating science, to improving the training environment for the upcoming generations.