Comments by Sean Luo

Topic: Postdoctoral Training
by Sean Luo
Columbia University

Proposed Actions

In medicine, training time is limited by ACGME regulations and the bottle neck, especially for supply-demand mismatch in competitive specialties, such as dermatology, is solved by using an efficient matching algorithm for residency spots. Similar algorithms can be made for postdocs looking for a faculty position. Given that the “alternative” career positions for postdocs are fairly diverse, all early stage career development grants (K series) should have a time limit, and all interested postdocs should file for a career development grant by the end of year 3. Based on the score of the K-application, which comprehensively evaluates the applicants based on a number of scales, the existing publication records, and institutional recommendations, candidate will then go through a match process nationally to identify the position that they can match at for a full time academic position.

This provides a very clear cut pathway for nationally funded investigators to progress along a training continuum, and makes issues such as startup funding and institutional support irrelevant. Given that once someone is in a tenure track position, the chance of failure is relatively low, institutions can then commit to provide further support if it is thought to be warranted.