Biochem Belle has articulated this better than I, but I will share here my thoughts on the Miller-McCune article about how the "real science gap" appears to mean a reduction in the white male demographic in the workforce.
It describes exactly what I've seen a lot of people talking more informally about: the system is currently constructed as a pyramid scheme, and it leads many productive, smart people (who don't have the luck factor that helps land a TT position) to go elsewhere and/or leave science because the model is unsustainable. It suggests that we need to figure out how to revamp the postdoctoral experience to be more like a medical residency that trains PhD level scientists for some specific area (and not just uses them as bench monkeys to do our work for us), so they can be retained in a productive capacity and contribute to the growth of innovation.
I can't figure out, though, if it is just telling the story of this pyramid scheme or if it is trying to subtly promote the idea that the 'glut' of foreigners (and supposed 'aversion' of white males to following research careers--their words, not mine!) is the "real problem" here.
from the article: "First, something serious is wrong with America’s scientific labor supply. A prime symptom noted by all: a growing aversion of America’s top students — especially the native-born white males who once formed the backbone of the nation’s research and technical community — to enter scientific careers. Increasingly, foreign-born technical and scientific personnel on temporary visas staff America’s university labs and high-tech industries."
...as if an increase in the diversity of scientists in the US is somehow CAUSING white males to avoid science careers... as opposed to the huge expansion of science productivity in the last 50 years creating a market that incorporates more diverse employees (including the same demographic of white males but also now including other demographics). And, it seems to imply, 'home-grown talent' means 'white males' since the demographic that is causing the 'glut' is implied to be the diverse one (foreigners). I don't see a quantitative analysis of the % of white males in science today, but it would not necessarily be relevant unless the expansion of postdoctoral/graduate opportunities were also compared.
Also disturbing is this quote used in the context of the foreign postdoc "influx": "The director of postdoctoral affairs at one stellar university, who requested anonymity to avoid career repercussions, puts it more acidly. The main difference between postdocs and migrant agricultural laborers, he jokes, is that the Ph.D.s don’t pick fruit."
It isn't clear to me if this article is trying to use those examples as illustrations of how exploitative it can be to postdocs, or to complain about all these foreigners coming in and TAKIN' R JURBS...
Mama works at the donut store.
1 day ago