5 February 2024
The need for evidence on postdoctoral research fellows, or ‘postdocs’, has become increasingly evident as many countries lack information on this relatively new addition to the academic labour force. An article by CREST researchers, Prof H. Prozesky and Dr F van Schalkwyk, provides, for the first time, longitudinal, quantitative evidence at the national level about postdocs in South Africa.
The researchers used quantitative data from national research-and-development surveys and from the national Higher Education Management Information System. Their focus was on postdocs’ representation and time spent on research within the national research system, as well as on two key demographic features, namely nationality and gender.
Prozesky and Van Schalkwyk draw comparisons with findings reported for other countries to situate our results within the global science system. Interpretation of the results leads to comment on global and national developments and policies relevant to postdocs.
The findings provide the basis for a critical reflection on current discourses and policies related to postdocs in South Africa.