John completed his undergraduate and Ph.D. training in the biomedical sciences at two of the most prestigious institutions in the country. He received one of the nation’s most competitive fellowships to accelerate his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of a Nobel laureate, and he has now entered what is thought to be a person’s years of greatest scientific creativity. And yet, after more than five years of additional preparation to lead his own research team, this brilliant, creative young scientist has decided to leave academia. As the cost of living skyrockets, John no longer finds his salary sufficient to support his family.
Though I’ve changed his name to protect his privacy, John’s story is real and highlights struggles I’ve seen play out again and again among young scientists. Facing low pay, crushing student debt and barriers to launching their own laboratories, early-career researchers are leaving academia in droves. Inflation has worsened the problem, pushing wages further behind rising living expenses and driving strikes like the recent one at the University of California system. Our next generation of scientists is drowning, putting American science and progress in peril.
Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed.
This article was produced by Footnote in partnership with Duke University.