The curious case of the Postdoc

In our quest to reach out for all postdoctoral researchers, we as POSTDOCNL are facing the problem of none existing definition of a postdoc. What makes a scientist a postdoc?


According to the Rathenau Institute, a ‘postdoc’ is a scientific personnel in the salary scale 10–12 with a temporary contract (WPer in salarisschaal 10 tot 12 met een tijdelijk contract). Although it is a nice working definition, especially for classifying postdocs in a group, it does not precisely reflect reality.


We would like to initiate a discussion about this issue here. What makes you feel as a postdoc? Or why do you not consider yourself as a postdoc?


One of the requirements that most people will agree on is that you need to have finished a PhD in order to qualify as a postdoc.


Another qualification is that you are not yet an assistant professor (UD) or in a tenure track position. This implies that postdocs are still on a temporary contract.


Some people might argue that postdocs are scientists that have relatively recently received their PhD title and are performing science within a defined project. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scientists with a temporary contract that are also supervising PhD students, teaching and performing more management tasks, thereby executing the work of most assistant professor (UDs).


We as POSTDOCNL aim to represent all people who consider themselves a postdoc, including all scientists with a PhD title, working at a knowledge institution on a temporary contract.




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