Scientists and policymakers around the world increasingly worry about the plight of young researchers in academia, and for good reason. Competition for tenure-track positions has surged, and some early-career researchers face tough odds in the quest for funding. As a result, many see lower pay-offs for their efforts in preparing and writing grant applications. Although everyone is under pressure, those just starting out seem to feel the impacts more acutely.

Credit: Source: OECD
Credit: Sources: German Research Foundation; Research Councils UK; NIH; European Research Council
Credit: Source: MRC
Credit: Source: NIH
Credit: Source: Nature Salary Survey 2016
Credit: Source: Nature Salary Survey 2016


Two researchers – separated by a couple of decades – describe their experiences of beginning a scientific career.

Nature Special: Young scientists