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Give postdocs time to break out of the two-track career system

Track Junction Soft Decision Railroad Track

Early-career researchers with fellowships have an advantage over those working on someone else’s grant. All should get a chance to build their own programmes, says Tom McLeish.

Chairing interview panels for early-career permanent academic positions is exciting but painful. For every candidate we delight there are three or four who have to receive heavy disappointment, and must recover their hopes for another day.

In scientific subjects, and increasingly in others, any candidate applying for a first lectureship will have had some years of postdoctoral experience. This time can be extremely valuable, allowing early-career researchers to gain expertise in different techniques, experience a variety of research environments and develop their own questions and programme.

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