ERATO AS A POSTDOCTORAL PROGRAM

As noted above, for the majority of the bioscience projects, ERATO is a postdoctoral program. New Ph.D.s gain valuable experience that enables them to compete for permanent positions in academia or industry. It is thus very attractive to young, ambitious scientists. This panel was left with the impression that positions in ERATO, from project director to researcher, were highly sought. Indeed, the panel interacted with a few individuals who sought future project directorships. Since securing ERATO positions is very competitive, a clear perception was that the ERATO program has many good points: increased funding, increased interaction with leading scientists, increased visibility, and better facilities. There are a few negative points, as noted earlier: there may be insufficient time in some cases to develop solid research results; projects that are more applied than basic in nature may be proposed and selected; and the continuation of projects is more difficult than under other funding programs, or may even be impossible. If one does not define a research plan with these constraints in mind, an individual could be left in an uncomfortable position when looking for employment beyond ERATO. Some ERATO scientists have moved from one project to another, in most cases because they excelled and were sought by new project directors, but in a few cases because they were helped by ERATO administration.

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Published: September 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian