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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary with a special call out to postdocs


It’s the one-year anniversary of the Black Hole moving over to University Affairs. Jonathan and I are very pleased with the added exposure and it’s been a real treat to work with Léo, Peggy and company over the last 12 months – Happy Anniversary! We hope that our readers have enjoyed the content and that they continue to follow along and contribute with excellent comments and guest posts.

Another important message attached to this summary, though, is for postdoctoral fellows to help inform the policy that governs their status, salaries and future opportunities in Canada by filling out the CAPS postdoctoral survey. Last week, I wrote a UA news article on its importance and encourage you all to read through it and forward to your postdoctoral colleagues (including international postdocs in Canada and Canadian postdocs abroad!).

The January to March period has been quite active on the site, with wonderful back-and-forth commentary and great ideas coming from our readers. This is exactly the type of activity that allows us to seek to fill any gaps we have in the blog topics and adjust the messages that we deliver from our life sciences backgrounds to be more inclusive and relevant for other fields. Please do keep the contributions coming.

January-March blog posts: 



Nearly 25% of the total traffic was generated by the Shorter PhDs and more active thesis committees post which also had a good following on reddit where the discussion was lengthy (85 comments!) – this sets a good precedent for the forthcoming articles on proposed solutions for the postdoctoral and early career researcher articles to come out this quarter.

Comments on the UA site were also quite regular with excellent discussions on Jonathan’s “Misallocated Incentives” article and my “Fewer Postdocs at Higher Salaries” article. One thing that definitely resonates with us over and over is the tendency for our posts to focus on the life sciences. It’s difficult for us to write with any authority on other fields and while there are many parallels that we feel are worth talking about generally, there are also many people from other fields that do not find themselves in the same situation for many topics.  As always, we would welcome posts from those in other fields – especially on topics such as sessional positions, temporary contracts, and non-academic careers.

Other activities:

David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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