Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Career paths for PhD graduates

There's a lot of discussion about the career paths open to Irish PhD graduates - with some commentators arguing that there isn't actually much of a "path" available at all with people being forced into negative feedback loops of short term PostDoc contracts.

That's why this report that's just been released on PhDs going into business and industry is particularly interesting. It's been put together by the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI) - and some of their headline recommendations seem to make a lot of sense...
  • Structured PhD programmes should embody the “Inverted T” shaped model whereby they develop PhD students’ understanding of the discipline as well as in-depth knowledge of research approaches, techniques and methods which are critical to the value of PhDs for enterprise.
  • A user-friendly, centralised system should be developed to allow employers or potential employers to access information on the number of PhD students in the pipeline and the broad theme of the research
  • Ireland should develop an Enterprise PhD programme building on the model of the DanishIndustrial PhD programme whereby an employee earns a PhD based on research relevant to their company.
These suggestions - if implemented - wouldn't change much for people who have a PhD already, but for those who are about to embark on the rollercoaster that is postgraduate research they might just make the whole thing that little bit more worthwhile...

What do you think? E-mail me or comment to let me know...

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