PhDs galore but they don’t take up science careers

University World News | Issue No:221 | 13 May 2012 | by Jan Petter Myklebust
mardi 29 mai 2012
par  antonin
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Even though academic research is often viewed as the preferred career path for PhD-trained scientists, most US graduates take up jobs in industry, government or ‘alternative careers’, according to Henry Sauermann of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Michael Roach from the University of North Carolina.

In a paper published in PloS ONE [Read it below], the researchers note the growing concern that these career patterns reflect fundamental imbalances between the supply of scientists seeking academic positions and the availability of such posts.

“However, while government statistics provide insights into realised career transitions, there is little systematic data on scientists’ career preferences and thus on the degree to which there is a mismatch between observed career paths and scientists’ preferences,” they write.

“Moreover, we lack systematic evidence whether career preferences adjust over the course of the PhD training and to what extent advisors exacerbate imbalances by encouraging their students to pursue academic positions.”

Using a national survey of PhD students at tier-one US institutions, the researchers studied the career preferences of junior scientists across the life sciences, physics and chemistry.

They found that a faculty research career was most often considered “extremely attractive” and ranked among the most desirable careers for more than 50% of life scientists and physicists.

“Given that the number of faculty positions is much smaller, these findings support the concern that the supply of science PhDs interested in faculty research positions significantly exceeds the number of available positions in these fields.

“At the same time, the majority of chemistry students as well as significant shares of students in the life sciences and in physics prefer careers outside of academia, regardless of job availability.”

The researchers say academic administrators and advisors should consider such heterogeneity in career preferences when designing graduate curricula, ensuring that students have opportunities to acquire the skills and knowledge required to perform in non-academic careers that may not only be more readily available but are also quite attractive to students themselves.

“Similarly, public discussion may benefit from recognising that labour market experiences may be quite different depending on which particular career a junior scientist seeks to pursue.

“The results suggest the need for mechanisms that provide PhD applicants with information that allows them to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing a PhD, as well as for mechanisms that complement the job market advice advisors give to their current students.”

Science PhD Career Preferences : Levels, Changes, and Advisor Encouragement

Sauermann H, Roach M (2012) Science PhD Career Preferences : Levels, Changes, and Advisor Encouragement. PLoS ONE 7(5) : e36307. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0036307

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Thursday 5 February 2015

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On the Web : Full news here

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vendredi 18 avril 2014

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Sur le Web : Read on

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Aux USA, les répercussions des coupes budgétaires fédérales pour la recherche académique sont bien visibles selon une études récentes :

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Une recherche académique en récession aux USA...

Étudiants étrangers : la sénatrice Dominique Gillot dépose une proposition de loi visant à améliorer leurs conditions d’accueil et de séjour

vendredi 15 février 2013

« Il n’est (?) ni dans l’intérêt des pays d’origine, ni dans le nôtre, de renvoyer chez eux les étrangers dès la fin de leurs études. Au contraire, c’est après au moins une première expérience professionnelle que ces diplômés pourront, à leur retour chez eux ou à l’international, mettre à profit les compétences acquises en France et en faire la promotion. » Voilà ce qu’écrit Dominique Gillot, sénatrice (PS) du Val d’Oise, dans l’exposé des motifs de la proposition de loi relative à l’attractivité universitaire de la France qu’elle dépose mardi 12 février 2013.

« Droit illimité au séjour » pour les diplômés d’un doctorat français. Dans son article 4, la proposition de loi « crée un droit illimité au séjour en France pour tout diplômé d’un doctorat obtenu en France, à qui la carte ’compétences et talents’ est délivrée sur sa demande ». Il est précisé que « cette disposition a vocation à favoriser les échanges entre les pays d’origine et la France, permettant de développer une coopération économique continue, enrichissante, sans pillage des cerveaux des pays émergents ».

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