Tshaka Cunningham on postdoctoral salaries

"Those of us who decide to stick with academic science have to make a financial sacrifice that we shouldn't be making."

- Dr. Tshaka Cunningham, as quoted in

Being a postdoctoral research fellow is a mixed bag. Because the years are dedicated almost exclusively to working at the bench instead of teaching classes or winning grants, you have extraordinary freedom and focus, but at the same time the position is temporary and future job prospects, uncertain. And, as Dr. Cunningham, a new postdoc at the US National Institutes of Health indicates in this interesting feature by Jacqueline Ruttiman, the pay is notoriously bad considering how many years of education postdocs have under their belts.

As Ruttiman puts it, "At a time when many of your friends are making good money at real jobs, you have to work in another laboratory for almost the same time it took to complete grad school."

If you have a subscription to Nature, you can read more about the ups and downs of postdoctoral existence here.