Tuesday, November 6, 2012

And what about research assistant professors?

"How many Brukers were there at Hereford?"
Credit: poodfoison.wordpress.com
An astute reader writes in to ask:
Within my little research niche, I've noticed a lot of "research assistant professor" positions popping up.  The duties seem to be summarized as "chief post-doc with a more respectable title and no teaching responsibilities." 
This might be good news: Slowing the Ph.D. production rate somewhat and providing jobs for those already out there.  I was wondering if you or any of your readers has noticed these positions...and had any idea why they might be becoming more common.
I haven't seen this very often in the ads, but there have been so many run-of-the-mill assistant professor ads recently, I can't really remember.

If they're becoming more common, it's probably because certain institutions have enough soft money to support the position for the short/medium-term, but not for the long term. (Also, could these be "holding pattern" positions for favored postdocs?) It's my guess that the problem with these positions is that they're "soft money"-related, so as soon as the funding runs out, you're in the wind.

Readers, you know so much more about this than I do. Please, feel free to tell me what's up.

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