The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS), representing over 80,000 biologic researchers, urges universities and institutions to adjust faculty advancement policies and extend certain training periods in response to the challenges associated with COVID-19.
The shut-down of research labs during the pandemic is disruptive for all, but is especially problematic for graduate students, post-docs and early stage investigators. Young investigators are expending precious startup funds supporting staff who are doing scholarly work outside their lab, but cannot carry out the experiments that would build scientific knowledge, and advance their career aspirations. At the same time, hiring freezes across academia and industry are blocking progression to independence for senior postdocs.
In these unprecedented times, CLS urges universities and research institutions to revisit appropriate elements of their promotion and training policies, acknowledging and accounting for the disruption caused by COVID-19
Specifically, we recommend that universities and research institutions:
- Extend the time for promotion and tenure decisions for junior faculty by one year, while allowing individual faculty members to elect to be reviewed on the normal schedule;
- Extend by one a year support for postdoc training, and, for institutions that have term limits for that appointment series allow an extra year to hold the postdoc title;
- Supplement start-up funding for early stage investigators by an amount equivalent to one year.
The CLS applauds the institutions that have proactively changed their policies to address the current realities.