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Women in Science

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Video clip: Carolyn would not have applied for her current job if her supervisor hadn’t encouraged her to apply. She would like to have had a permanent post as a postdoc running a lab.

And the world is not designed for people to stay as postdoc’s and I think it’s one of the big problems with academic research in that it doesn’t recognise, well the funders just don’t recognise the value that somebody having a long term postdoc running a lab brings to a lab. It brings sort of consistency, and you know how everything works, you know the history of what’s been tried and what hasn’t been tried and you provide this amazing support to a supervisor who has a hundred and one other things to do. But it’s a really difficult role to fill.

And so you know if I, I think it’s probably one of the things I get on my soap box about, that it should, there should be a permanent postdoc type position. But that’s what I would have been really happy doing. And I love my job and I love supervising students but I would really like not to have to write grant applications; in my ideal world I just want somebody to give me a job and let me do it.

Does a postdoc salary go up every year a bit more than inflation as it were?

Yes so you, until you reach the top so you go up and up till you reach the top of the grade.

That’s why they [funders] might prefer somebody…

Yes, somebody cheaper. Yes. But so I think, and I think women do undersell themselves a lot, and they just sort of, I mean the classic thing people always say is that a women will read a job description and think, ‘I can’t do that and that and that so I won’t apply.’ Whereas a man will read it and think, ‘I can do that and that and that, so I’ll apply.’ Then yes, I know that definitely applied to me, you know I wouldn’t have applied for my current job if my supervisor hadn’t said, ‘Oh apply for this one.’ I’d have read it and thought, ‘Well I can’t do any of that.’