A recent post at Galactic Interactions proposes what seem to be substantial changes in the current NSF- and NASA-funded astronomy research career. I had a few observations in the comments trying to understand just what was being proposed and how this might apply to the NIH-funded biomedical research career. In some exasperation with my not-gettin’-it comments, Rob Knop suggests that I’m a hidebound traditionalist. I don’t think so. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the way astronomy careers work and the way biomed research careers work these days are sufficiently different that the specific problems and solutions may not look very similar. However, Rob raises an excellent challenge which I might view as “okay complainers, don’t like the systems determining your career? how would you change it?”. Read the rest of this entry »

Still not done with the issue of nontraditional entries to independent research positions. “Independent” here being somewhat narrowly defined as the ability to submit and hold research grant funding (not just fellowships) as a Principal Investigator. I’ve been advocating postdocs to look beyond the traditional route to independence, i.e., applying for hard money salary, tenure track assistant professorships (with startup funds!) advertised halfway across the country. Physioprof is most familiar with the more traditional route to independence but is, I hope, being won over a bit. S/he asks:

Drugmonkey, if you personally have taken a “non-OldeSkool” route, would you mind summarizing your path?

Read the rest of this entry »