Reporting improvements contribute to rise in counts of postdocs employed in academia

October 1, 2013

According to a study published by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the number of postdoctoral appointees (postdocs) increased across all disciplines during the past three decades.

In 2010, the number of postdocs reported to the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS) grew to 63,415, an increase of more than 10 percent from the 2009 total and 25 percent more than the 2007 total.

The growth reflects improved reporting methods, as well as the continued expansion of postdoctoral employment in academia.

The GSS has collected data on postdocs annually since 1979, and the trends reflect an increase in postdoc employment across all fields. Postdoc employment in engineering has seen the fastest growth, with employment in computer sciences closely behind.

Biological sciences, clinical medicine and were the most common fields of for postdocs in 2010.

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