The Scientist has a nice piece by Katarina Zimmer on the idea of mandatory retirement ages for academic scientists: “Is Mandatory Retirement the Answer to an Aging Workforce?” The lede covers a scientist at Oxford University who has won a three-year extension on the mandatory retirement age of 68.
I headed my post with “academic scientists” because the problem has different parameters for scientific fields than for humanities and arts.
For [Hagan] Bayley, however, dismissing experienced researchers at the height of their careers isn’t just unfair—it would do more harm than good for science. “I don’t think that firing faculty members at 68 is going to give you the best science,” he says. “And it’s also not good for young people,” as lab members will have to find alternative posts after their PI leaves. “You’re not firing one person, you’re firing an entire research group.”
I wanted to point to the article because it deals with the complexity of the problem at several levels, including individuals, institutions, and grant agencies.