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August 14, 2020

Science Committee Members Introduce Legislation to Create New Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) along with Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Randy Weber (R-TX), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act. This legislation creates a new postdoctoral fellowship program at the National Science Foundation to help keep early career researchers whose employment opportunities have been impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis in the STEM pipeline. The goal of this fellowship program would be to prevent the loss of research talent due to job market disruptions caused by any economic decline during and after the pandemic.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.

“I am deeply concerned about the disappearance of STEM job opportunities and the potential long-term consequences for our STEM pipeline. For established researchers, the COVID-19 crisis has severely limited their access to their laboratory space. But for early career researchers, these disruptions come at a critical juncture in their research career, threatening to derail their career path.

“Even in normal times, postdoctoral research positions provide little job security, with most postdocs employed on two-year contracts. Now that the research job market has severely contracted, postdocs find themselves in a truly precarious position. Many of them may be forced to abandon their career path altogether in order to support themselves and their families.

“The Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act would provide a much-needed bridge to help early career researchers weather this storm and prevent a permanent loss of STEM talent our nation can ill afford.”