Statistics for the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science

 In December 2017, Duke joined nine other institutions to form the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science, a collaboration that aims to provide meaningful data that speaks directly to the current state of graduate education, postdoctoral training, and career prospects in the life sciences. The 10 founding institutions in the coalition are: Cornell University, Duke University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin.

Coalition members commit to collecting and publishing postdoctoral data using common standards on:

  • Demographics of postdoctoral scholars by gender, underrepresented minority status, and citizenship status.
  • Median time in postdoctoral status at the institution.
  • Career outcomes for postdoctoral alumni, classified by job sector and career type.


*Definition of Postdoctoral Appointment at Duke University

From the Duke University Postdoctoral Policy:

  • The Postdoctoral Candidate holds a PhD or equivalent doctorate (eg, ScD, MD, DVM).
  • The term of the appointment is limited.
  • The appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship, and may include teaching responsibilities.
  • The appointment is generally preparatory for a full time academic or research career.
  • The appointment is not part of a clinical training program, unless research training under the supervision of a senior Faculty Mentor is the primary purpose of the appointment.
  • The Postdoctoral Appointee functions under the supervision of a Faculty Mentor or a department/responsible unit at Duke University.
  • The Postdoctoral Appointee is expected to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of the appointment.

From the Postdoctoral Policy FAQ:

Are postdoctoral positions faculty appointments or staff appointments?

  • Postdoctoral appointments are staff appointments. The Duke Postdoctoral Policy outlines differences between postdocs and other staff employees, but in the absence of a stated difference, regular staff policies and procedures apply.

Can a postdoctoral appointment be for less than one year?

  • The initial appointment for a postdoctoral appointee must be at least 9 months (one academic year).

A grad student in our department just received his PhD. The PI would like to keep him on as a postdoc for a few months before he moves to his first “real” postdoc position. May we appoint the student as a Postdoctoral Associate?

  • Postdoctoral Associate is a full-time, exempt appointment for a period of 9 months or greater, and is subject to the postdoctoral salary minimum and other stipulations of the postdoctoral policy. Postdoctoral Associate is not an appropriate category for recent graduates who are continuing their work in the department for a few months until they begin a postdoctoral appointment at another university or find other employment.

Notes on the Data/Definitions:

URM (Underrepresented Minority): US citizens and permanent residents who are African American/Black; American Indian/Alaskan Native; Hispanic; Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander; or multiracial, when at least one of the preceding URM categories has been indicated.

URM status is only calculated for postdocs who are US citizens and permanent residents (USPR).

International: A person who is not a citizen, national, or resident alien of the United States.

USPR: US citizens and permanent residents.

Departments: List of departments included in these statistics with their sub-units.

You can also view demographics for all life sciences programs in a tabular format.

All percentages are reported from the total number of postdocs. For example, the percentage of tenured/tenure track faculty is reported from the total number of postdocs, not just from those who remained in academia.