Research Assistant Professor

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Is the bar being raised for tenured track faculty positions?

Postby Emil Chuck » Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:44 pm

It appears to me more likely that basically it's a buyer's market, with the buyer being the search committee. I'm sure if you have a grant-in-tow, a few extremely high impact journals, a great pedigree, and a killer smile, it still won't matter beans unless the department feels your work is compatible with the educational, research, and political goals of the department. As mentioned before, for every advertisement for a job spot in a tenure-track line, expect 100-300 applications. Your productivity is all that counts, and then after that it's how you fit in the context of the department.

Frank's circumstantial observations truly reflect the fact that faculty hiring is still stagnant and the influx of RAP's, staff scientists, postdocs, and assistant professors looking for lateral moves reflects the fact that non-t-t/postdoctoral positions are created at a much faster rate (this is backed up by labor statistics/NSF data). Oh I forgot... those scientists who want to move from industry to academia for whatever reason too... :)

The bar has been raised for the last 20 years when one postdoc of 2 years was required. In the current era of scientific training and entrepreneurship, it should surprise no one that this is the true cause of much of the difficulties we've had with scientific graduate training. Again, the NBER report I posted about earlier notes that this mess is going to have major economic consequences unless it is addressed soon.

My other suggestion is to have postdocs start applying for faculty positions outside the US. I hear China and India are building many new biotech centers and universities. When our best and brightest start going there (and not just those on visa), that will really start to signal the death knell of American technological dominance.
Emil Chuck
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Is the bar being raised for tenured track faculty positions?

Postby Carlysle Tancha » Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:55 pm

Wow, ETC... it sounds like you are ready for a career in policy with your last sentiment. Maybe there should be more of us in touch with the reality of things at the forefront, as other senior people were living in a different age of science, when things were, let's just say, different than they are now. I think that the ideas you said are right on... this is the only way things are going to change...
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Is the bar being raised for tenured track faculty positions?

Postby Emil Chuck » Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:32 pm

I appreciate the sentiment. Too bad people who offer positions in policy (as I have applied for them in the last year) didn't agree. I'm sure I am/was way too argumentative for them! :)
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From The GrantDoctor

Postby Jim Austin » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:06 pm

Phil, et al:

Please have a look at this series of articles from The GrantDoctor, from all the way back in 2002:

Jim Austin
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From The GrantDoctor

Postby Kelly » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:41 pm

Thanks Jim.

I read these; I think they present a balance account of the thinking: some institutions hire only with money in hand (although a lot will not be as forth coming as Tufts; kudos to Tufts for being honest) and some just assume that a young person will be able to get funding (an assumption that I think will change in the next year or so).

It's one of those institutional perspectives that as an individual applicant, you aren't going to change. If you like a job, don't let not having money stop you from at least applying.

Bottom line: A major grant is a major responsibility.

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Re-emergence of RAP line

Postby James1 » Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:05 pm

Thanks all for the interesting discussion! My RAP has resulted in a Co-PI-ship on a major multi-institutional consortium after less than a year now. Hopefully, i will secure a grant or two soon. I plan to apply to t-t jobs this Fall because i have responsibilities (my family) beyond just comfortable research.

One major question is, has anyone reading attempted to start a second part-time non-science career (such as real estate) while simultaneously holding a academic position? This would be for supplementary income of course.


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Research Assistant Professor now t-t offer, no start-up

Postby Charles Allen » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:12 pm

Thanks for all the advice on RAP. Here's an update on what has transpired since my initial posting.

I was shortlisted for a faculty position at another institution but just found out (today) that I did not get the job (I was one of three shortlisted). I also got a written offer of employment as a Research Scientist with another biotech company, with a significant increase in salary over my present biotech job.

When I told my former boss about the job offer, he agreed to offer me a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in his Division but WITHOUT my own start-up package (He has a large one for 5 years, which means I would be dependent upon him). My next move is to push for a start-up package of my own.

How tenable is it to step into this kind of position without a separate start-up? Would this compromise my ability to get grants (because it might look like lack of commitment on the part of the institute)?


H. Esitante.
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