Information can provide an engine for change. The architects of a recently released US survey (see Nature 414, 476; 2001) hope that data they have gathered from 32,000 graduate students will help to reform education — especially as the results indicate that one of the biggest shortcomings is the lack of information for students on careers outside academia.

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) based many of the survey questions on 'best practices' recommended by a variety of societies and government agencies. By collecting students' responses about how well their programmes enacted these recommendations, the association was able to grade and rank over 1,000 US graduate departments.

Lewis Siegel, vice-provost and dean of the graduate school at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that the survey is “one of the most powerful tools I've seen in a decade” to get change in graduate education.

Naturejobs, in launching a new web page devoted to postdocs and graduate students, is providing another tool for students. This 'channel' ( contains links to surveys such as the one conducted by the NAGPS, relevant government reports from around the world, and links to useful societies and organizational resources.

And, starting next month, Naturejobs will supplement this channel with a monthly feature about postdoc and studentship issues. As well as this new feature, the channel will also host Naturejobs articles about careers outside academia — just the kind of information many students who responded to the NAGPS survey said their academic advisers often failed to supply. In providing this resource, we hope to help students gain more control of their careers.