The number of postdoctorates in science and engineering fields has increased since the mid-1980's.  Postdoctorates have been regarded as a more integral part of
education in some fields in the sciences than in engineering, providing opportunities for individuals to establish credentials as research scientists. Their numbers are increasing in other fields beyond those in the life sciences and physical
sciences where they have been more customary. Recently, postdoctorates have offered interim opportunities to continue a career while an individual searches for a desired type of permanent appointment, whether a faculty position or a position with
industry. Net effects of all of these changes and situations are combined in the data on trends in postdoctorate appointments. While postdoctorate appointments have continued a steady increase in science and engineering, the largest proportionate
increase has occurred among women in engineering. (See figures 7-17 and 7-18.)
3. Data on postdoctorates are not collected by racial/ethnic group, nor by presence or absence of disability.