PhDs, postdocs should be renamed to better reflect their skills, research expertise: Opinions

In an article for Times Higher Education, Michele Nardin (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) argues that the titles of “PhD student” and “postdoctoral researcher” should be re-evaluated. Nardin writes that these titles obscure the transferable expertise involved in the roles, making it challenging for professional employers to understand what exactly these professionals do and the skills that are involved in their work. Framing PhDs and postdocs as students or trainees also justifies precarious contracts and lower compensation, she argues. Nardin suggests that PhDs and postdocs should instead be referred to as “researchers” (junior or senior, depending on their experience), maintaining that this would lay the groundwork for fair compensation and the establishment of clearer career pathways inside and outside of academia.

Times Higher Education (Acct Req)