22 SES 15 B, Looking Ahead: Current Shifts in Trends, Practices and Preferences (Part I)
Symposium Part I, to be continued in 22 SES 16 B
Although the impact varies depending on the national policy regimes, doctorate holders, as a highly qualified labor force, play a crucial role in economic growth (Cohen & Soto, 2007; Cyranoski, Gilbert, Ledford, Nayar, & Yahia, 2011). Therefore, knowledge-based economies keep investing in maximizing the number of doctorate holders (Gokhberg et al., 2016). Unfortunately, an increase in doctorate holders alone does not enhance the economic growth if doctoral education cannot meet the needs and preferences of both doctoral candidates and (non-)academic employers.
Doctorate holders who prefer to pursue an academic career most likely find themselves in extended periods of postdoctoral research positions, and are faced with a highly competitive work environment, restricted funding opportunities, limited permanent positions, and a lack of future prospects. Doctorate holders who prefer to enter the non-academic labor market report high levels of satisfaction, even after several years of holding a postdoctoral position (Haynes, Metcalfe, & Yilmaz, 2016). Nevertheless, in the process of making this transition, they are faced with numerous barriers both from within (e.g., lack of career support and information about career prospects, stigma attached to leaving academia, etc.) and outside of academia (e.g., skills mismatch, expectations mismatch, negative stereotypes of non-academic employers, etc.) (Bebiroglu, Dethier, & Ameryckx, 2020; De Grande, De Boyser, Vandevelde, & Van Rossem, 2011; van der Weijden, De Gelder, Teelken, & Thunnissen, 2017; Wille, Legrand, Mortier, & Levecque, 2020).
We need to rethink and reimagine doctoral education, acknowledging that it is no longer uniquely the training of professors but also the training of versatile professionals who should be optimally employable in the non-academic sector. There are currently multiple dilemmas inherent in the education system of doctoral candidates:
· Emphasizing academic collaboration while understanding the importance of collaboration with non-academic sectors;
· Putting the creation of knowledge at the heart while understanding the importance of building bridges with societal needs;
· Recognizing the importance of doctoral candidates and doctorate holders and the research they produce in academia while not being able to offer them enough job prospects;
· Recognizing/ understanding the role of the perceptions and needs of non-academic employers as regards highly skilled workers while not being able to match these needs.
Based on evidence coming from 5 different countries and 6 different regions, the presentations of this symposium will be divided into two separate sessions:
Session 1: Looking ahead: Current shifts in trends, practices and preferences
Session 2: Lessons learned: Linking the careers of doctorate holders to current shifts
One of the major goals of doctoral education is to train researchers who can work inside and/or outside of academia. The aim of the first session will be to highlight the current practices and shifts in our understanding of doctoral education. It will start with a general overview of the current political (e.g., Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)) and economic (COVID-19) context that affects researchers , and ask “what did “researcher development” set out to achieve and has it been successful”? (Presentation 1, Vitae). Then, focusing on doctoral candidates, we will shed insight on the distinctions that exist among them covering first their motivations to pursue a doctoral degree (Presentation 2, University of Hong Kong), and then their orientations (research vs profession- or practice) (Presentation 3, Research Systems and Science Dynamics, German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies). Based on evidence coming from multiple countries, all presentations will end by offering recommendations on how we can reimagine doctoral education.
Bebiroglu, N., Dethier, B., & Ameryckx, C. (January, 2020). Education-job match among PhD holders in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. Observatory Thematic Report Series #1, Volume 2: http://www.observatoire.frs-fnrs.be/docs/REPORT_EMPLOYMENT_Vol2_ENG.pdf Cohen, D., & Soto, M. (2007). Growth and human capital: Good data, good results. Journal of Economic Growth, 12(1), 51-76. Cyranoski, D., Gilbert, N., Ledford, H., Nayar, A., & Yahia, M. (2011). Education: The PhD factory. Nature, 472, 276-279. DOI: doi.org/10.1038/472276a De Grande, H., De Boyser, K., Vandevelde, K., & Van Rossem, R. (2011). The skills mismatch: what doctoral candidates and employers consider important?. ECOOM, 4, 1-4. Gokhberg, L., Shmatko, N., & Auriol, L. (2016). The science and technology labor force: The value of doctorate holders and development of professional careers. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27210-8 Haynes, K., Metcalfe, J., & Yilmaz, M. (2016). What do research staff do next. URL: https://www. vitae. ac. uk/vitae-publications/reports/vitae-what-do-research-staffdo-next-2016. pdf. van der Weijden, I. C. M., de Gelder, E. J., Teelken, J. C., & Thunnissen, M. (2017). Which Grass is Greener?: Personal stories from PhDs about their careers within and outside of academia. Wille, L., Legrand, V., Mortier, A., & Levecque, K. (2020). PhD holders through the eyes of non-academic employers: A state-of the-art literature review. ECOOM-brief 32.
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