Anyone in the world
Leaving Academia: How To Get A Job In Industry After Your PhD
Getting a job in industry after your PhD is an honorable alternative to an academic career. Despite its appeal, many PhD students seem terrified to take the jump.
I want to share with you the one thing you have to do if you want to successfully get a job in industry after your PhD.
, if you want to stay in academia or aspire to have a scientific career, don’t read this post.
Warning 2, this post is a rant, it contains foul language, if you have a thin skin please check some of the more civilized posts we have in Next Scientist.
Do you want to find a job in industry after your PhD? Read this post. Apart from some occasional name calling, there’s a lot of useful stuff in here.
You should see an academic position (postdoc, associate professor) just as a regular job. Don’t get obsessed by following all the steps in the academic ladder.
These were the words of my friend of mine and scientist. He was responding to my bitching on how difficult it was to get a good scientific career.
By academic career I mean the classical path in universities: PhD, hopefully n x post-doc (in different countries), hopefully tenure, hopefully professorship.
Too many ifs, too many maybes, too many compromises. I don’t want to switch countries now, I have already done that. I don’t want low-paying high-demanding post-doc positions with the promise that maybe one day I will get tenure as long as I churn papers out like a motherfucker.
I know how the science game is played. Academy is a pyramid with a very big base of PhDs and postdocs doing the heavy work. There are very few spots on the top of the pyramid. These spots, taken by (assistant) professors, have very slow rotation.
Fuck this shit! I don’t want to be one more in the army slaves of a professor.
In industry you are also the slave of a corporation. But industry pays better.
What happens if I don’t get tenure? Why did I raise my children far from their families in a country where I don’t want to be?
Sorry academic career, we are not made for each other. It was nice while my PhD lasted, but now it’s time to meet other career paths.
Yes, I know, working in a company is also stressful, your career path is also uncertain and less idealistic than a career in science.
I thought academy was a place where nobel people would collaborate for a greater good. Smart people and good ideas would prevail.
Academia, like any other field of life, it’s run by humans. As such, humans are capable of the best, and the worst.
Welcome to the real Academia. Here you also have to suck dicks to progress. It’s not enough to be good, you need to be political. Without “friends” you go nowhere. Without a “godfather” you go nowhere. Exactly the same shit you will find in a company.
I look around for academic groups where I can continue working on the same field. What do I find? 5 or 6 groups worldwide, quite a niche market. How’s that for overspecialisation?
If you want to survive in Academia you’d better update your skills regularly and jump to the next hyped field.
In industry you also have to adapt to new technologies and procedure, true. But industry pays better.
Fair enough, that’s how the world works. But. Yes, in my butt.
If I have to sell myself like a whore, I will sell to the highest bidder. And industry pays better.
Is money the only reason to get a job in industry after your PhD?
You might be thinking that I am only after the money. In part yes. I also have to pay the bills and I like to burn cash to enjoy life.
I am also after the wealth of opportunities you have in industry. There are hundreds of companies countrywide where I can continue my career in case I need to make a switch. There are many alternative careers for PhD students waiting in industry.
Compare that with the 5 academic groups worldwide where I can make a switch. In Academia you spend your years going deeper and deeper in a topic. You end up knowing a lot about a very little thing. While it might be interesting for some people, I prefer variety and change.
So it’s decided. Bye academic career. Hello industry.
What do you have to offer to industry?
OK, let’s see what you have to offer industry as a PhD. Have you developed any skills during my PhD that are valuable for companies?
In my case, I was busy doing some data modeling. I did two things. I analyzed chemical data to find patterns in the properties of molecules. I built models to classify molecules.
I found out that in industry, there’s a need for data modeling or analytical skills. Financial companies want to find patterns in the stock exchange that help them to make better investments. Companies want to classify their customers so they can provide them with targeted products. The list goes on and on.
I thought I can use my data analysis skills to help companies make better decisions. It seems I can still use my brains to solve a problem creatively. Something like what I did in my PhD.
How the heck do you convince a company to hire you?
The odds are against you. Let’s see why I would not hire you if I was the HR recruiter:
- You are not a fresh (and young) MSc graduate ready to be groomed by the corporate philosophy.
- You have little relevant industry experience. And because of your age you are a bit expensive.
- With a PhD, you get the label “smart guy” (nothing further from reality). This for some people means “he gets bored easily if not challenged”.
- Economy is fucked up. Lots of qualified (more than me) people looking for jobs, plus few job openings, equals companies can be picky.
You could sit in a corner, suck your thumb and cry in silence. You could go back to your former group begging for a temporary job till the economy improves. You could stuck your business ambitions up your ass.
Let me tell you something: when the odds are against you, victory tastes sweeter.
At the beginning of my PhD I presented my plans to a known scientists. He said “you want to do all this, on your own, in 4 years? Good luck sonny boy, you won’t manage”.
Guess who was wrong? Take that, old fart!
One of my PhD collaborators (a professor) told me “You didn’t look like the kind of guy that would be interested in these topics, much less to succeed in them”. I take that as a great compliment.
I am no special guy. In fact I am an average dude. I am not smarter than you.
Do you want to know why they were wrong and I was right? Hint, it’s the same you need in order to get a job in industry after your PhD.
Hustle To Find a Job In Industry After Your PhD
Hustle is the key to achieve those impossible goals.
You have a clear goal. You have a burning desire to achieve that. You do all what it takes. You fight your ass off for it. You hustle. You succeed.
I have done it before. I can do it again. I know if I hustle I will get a job in industry after my PhD.
Hustling is not about that gangsta stuff you hear in hip-hop songs about drug dealing, being a pimp and burning money on Cristal bottles. You just go out there and annoy everybody in your search for a job.
Use all resources available. Poke your network, former colleagues, friends of friends, everybody.
Keep in mind that having a PhD you are entitled to nothing, nada. It’s no guarantee of landing a corporate job.
Competition is fierce. You have limited time, unless you want to burn all your savings. You have to focus your energy. You can just apply to every single job under the Sun. You can’t run around that job fair like a chicken without head.
It’s important to analyze the situation. You need to answer several questions.
- What kind of job you want? You need to define a kind of job you would like to have. Think in terms of required skills, responsibilities, type of industry. Have a clear definition of your job. This will help you to find the right job offers, to taget your application documents and to grow your excitement (try to build excitement in your mind about the job you want, recruiters will notice).
- What are the keywords? You need to learn the jargon if you want to use Google Search and LinkedIn effectively to find jobs. Figure out under which title or headline the jobs you want are posted in the job boards. In my case this is “data scientist”, “data analyst” or “business intelligence”.
- What are the friction points that could make you fail? What are the weaknesses of your candidacy? Are you missing some important skills? Maybe the recruiter is skeptical about your background. Sometimes they think people coming from Academia are not good team players or communicators. Think how you can appear more competent in those areas.
- What skills can you leverage? Most of the times, highlighting your strengths instead of covering your weaknesses is the way to go. Did you learn or gain experience in some area that is highly relevant for that dream job? Show them how it can be applied in industry. In my case this was data analysis and building predictive models (useful in this era of Big Data). I was also good at giving presentations (good for visiting customers and presenting results to bosses) and working in a multidisciplinary project (good for projects that involve different departments within a company)
- Can you use people to achieve your goals? This might sound a bit unethical. Think of as using your network of contacts. Do you know people (that know people) in some of the companies you are targeting? Ask them for an introduction. Collect also all the information you can: what skills and type of people they are looking for, expected salary, selection procedure, working environment.
Now you know the kind of job you are looking for. It’s time to find job vacancies. Even better, you can convince people to create a job opening for you.
You need to scout both the analog and digital worlds. In the analog world you poke your network. You tell former colleagues, friends and new connections about your ambitions. In the digital world Google and LinkedIn are your friends.
You have decided to hustle, good. There are many things you could do to hustle. Let me share with you some of the things you should do on a daily basis in your hustle to get a job.
Photo credit: Chris Piascik
6 Ways To Hustle For A Job In Industry After Your PhD
See it as planting a lot of seeds. See it as creating a lot of dots, that once connected will lead to your new job. In any case, many actions will lead nowhere, but you maximise the chances of finding a job in industry after your PhD or a job finding you.
Let’s see what you have to do to find a job:
- Let everybody know you are job hunting. Let all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family know that you are looking for a job. Not only this, make sure they understand the type of job you want. Like this you will have a lot of more eyes looking for your opportunities. As soon as they come across an job offer, they will recognise it as relevant for you. The more people know your quest, the more (good) things that can happen.
- Use LinkedIn to contact people with the same kind of job you want. Don’t just rely on the people you know, also contact people outside your network. These people have a wide network in the field where you want to start. That can make a big difference. Since they have the job you want they can give you advice on how to get one, or even look around in their company for job offers. What you are doing is simply an open sollicitation, so don’t forget to attach your CV. Contacting via LinkedIn has the advantage that people can immediately see your profile and your face (recommended, add a profile photo and try to have a 100% completed profile, check my LinkedIn profile for inspiration).
- Contact both recruiters and employees. You will come across job offers (in job boards and LinkedIn Jobs) that mention a contact recruiter. Send a LinkedIn contact request to this recruiter. This will allow her to keep you informed of future vacancies as well as to show your eagerness. Once you find a sexy job offer, you should also contact some of your “future colleagues”. They can give you more inside information on the vacancy. Contacting employees also increases your chances of being invited for an interview.
- Send reminders and follow-up emails. Sometimes people say “send me your CV and I will distribute it around my company”. Other times you submitted your CV via the company website and didn’t hear anything after a few weeks. A good hustler will send some follow up emails asking for the status of the selection process. The delay can be due to a key decision maker is on holidays or that the CVs will only be reviewed after a certain date. Knowing what to expect when will keep your motivation up. Remember, when sending a reminder/follow-up email be polite. Don’t go saying “you promise me to send it around and you didn’t”. Show empathy, appreciation and acknowledge the fact that they are spending part of their precious time trying to help you.
- Keep the hustle even if you get invited for interviews. Once you get invited for interviews, apart from yelling FUCK YEAH!! and drinking some beers, it can be tempting to stop hustling in the hope that this time you’ll get the job. Wrong!! Keep sending emails, CVs and contact requests like a mortherfucker. Don’t get lazy now. You might not get the job (let’s hope you do). If you keep hustling, you might get invited for an interview for an even better job that your are interviewing now. So keep the hustle till you sign the contract.
- When they turn you down, hustle more. What do you do when the captain of the cheerleaders turns you down and goes with the quarterback to prom? You cry at home? No. You make a move on her sister! (Remember, nerds will prevail) When a company says “sorry we had better candidates” or “we have made a selection of candidates for interviewing and you are not selected”, keep morale up. You are allowed to have a grumpy afternoon, of course. But tomorrow you keep hustling, sending CVs and poking your network. You need to stay positive and excited. Don’t show up in your next interview all angry because the previous company turned you down.
This is part one of hustling. You know how to make the world aware of your hunt for a job in industry after your PhD. Now let’s move on to part two of hustling, marketing yourself.
Steps To Seduce A Company Into Hiring A PhD
You can see getting a job as a seduction game. You have to push your courtship skills to seduce a company.
I am not talking about dancing bird-of-paradise style. Forget about naughty construction worker quotes. Focus on how you can be an irresistible future employee.
Here are some things you can do to be more attractive job-wise and maximise the chance of getting a job in industry after your PhD:
- Get a picture of who they are looking for. You need to understand what kind of professional, both in terms of skills and experience, they are looking for. Could you (more or less) fit the profile? If one of the mandatory requisites is to have 10+ years business experience, well, sorry my friend, but this is not your league. On the other hand, if they ask for 2-3 years, you could argue that you spent 2 or 3 years during your PhD using one of the required skills for the job. This might be good enough and count as experience. If you have previously worked in a a company (as it was my case) mention that as general business experience. While not a wow-factor, this shows you understand the pace of a company, how things work there, the bureaucracy and the politics.
- Decide if their work is interesting for you. At the interview you will have to show how excited you are in the job. You should apply if you are really interested or you believe you can fake the interest. Trust me, recruiters can easily figure out if your motivation is just money or you find the job exciting.
- Customize your CV and motivation letter. Nothing turns a recruiter off faster than generic CVs and motivation letters. You have to mention the precise job offer or vacancy to which you are applying. You should also address your email and motivation letter to the recruiter (if any) that posted the vacancy.
- Target your speech. Focus on how you bring value to the must-haves of the candidate they are looking for. You need to mention the aptitudes and attitudes they are looking for and how you are capable of fulfilling their desires.
- Reduce their fear to scientists. A company might be skeptical with a guy that comes with a fresh PhD. They might also judge based on stereotypes of scientist. For this reason, show them you are social person, a team worker and that you can communicate well. It’s not bad to mention that you are capable of making a long project (4 years) work. That you can handle a complex task, split in smaller parts and finish all of them. Let them know that you can work independently and that you can be held accountable.
- Dress slightly better than they do. This is the best dressing advice for interviews. You need to figure out how people dress in that company and dress a bit better. If you apply to a modern and informal company, where everybody wears shorts and flip-flops, then sneakers, jeans and a polo shirt will do. They wear suits and no tie? Then you wear it with tie.
Other Things You Need To Know When Job Hunting
Here you have a few other things that you need to keep in mind. Some will reduce the disappointments in the interview process. Others they will maximize your attractiveness as a candidate.
- What you did in your PhD doesn’t matter much. Only matter those things that you did that will allow you to do a better job, to be a better colleague, to be a great investment. Your fantastic cell culture protocol? Jackshit. Your spreadsheet with the inventory of lab supplies? Crap.
- People don’t care about your publications. While you might beat your chest proudly when talking about your publication record, recruiters might not be so interested in that. In fact, companies usually don’t give a damn about your publications. They just want to know if you can do the job. So forget mentioning your 5 publications in PLoS One because you strongly support Open Access publications.
- Show enthusiasm, eagerness. Most of the times, it’s more beneficial to hire a highly motivated and enthusiastic person that lacks some experience, than a highly experienced yet uninvolved professional.
Recommended Books (They Helped Me To Search A Job In Industry)
Career switching and job hunting can be quite scary. You need to figure out first if you really want to switch. Then you will find (hopefully) many job offers. How can you decide which one is a good career choice? How do you discover what your strong and weak points are?
You have decided to hustle for a job in industry, but like me, you like to read some books to prepare yourself for the battle.
Luckily there are tons of books out there that can guide you through. Let me mention some books that I have read recently and that I think they can help you to find a job in industry after your PhD.
This book was written by one of the founders of LinkedIn. So expect sound advice on how to push your career. This book will teach you how to take control of your career by focusing on three ideas: your assets, your aspirations and values, and market realities.
One important message I derived from the book is how to decide if a job offer is interesting: you have to focus on the learning potential of the job. In other words, choose jobs that (while badly paid) allow you to learn a lot and have more responsibilities. You must read this one if you want to understand how the job market is evolving due to technological disruptions.
You can buy The Start-Up Of You here.
This book provides you a framework to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses on how you approach your career. It also provide valuable examples of different career paths and how people achieved success in those careers. The key learning is that your career is like a business, and as such, it can benefit from a business, aka career, plan.
You can buy Business Model You here.
One school of thought about self improvement is to focus on your strengths. Forget improving or being better at your weaknesses, that takes a lot of time and yields poor results. Instead, you should spend all your time improving and maximising your strengths.
You don’t know what your strengths are? Very few of us do. Luckily, this book will help you to discover them. It also allows you to do an online questionnaire to uncover all your talents.
You can buy Strengths Finder 2.0 here.
You have read how important it is to network to find a job in industry. Unfortunately, we are not born knowing how to get people to help us. How can we convince known and unknown people to spend time on us?
Dale Carnegie wrote many decades ago the ultimate networking book. This book has been the networking bible for several generations of businessmen. At the time were technology could not help you much to network, Mr. Carnegie focused on human interactions. The advice he distils in this book are as valid today as they it was in 1936. A must have.
You can buy How To Win Friends & Influence People here.
I have a collection of recommended books for PhDs, and alternative careers here.
Job-Hunting Homework For You
If you have read this far (sorry for the loooong post) you might be seriously considering a job in industry after your PhD. You have balls and hopefully some burning need inside you to find a new job.
This is why I would like you to take action today. I want you to do the following things:
Define your dream job. Find the titles under which your job is usually posted online. Learn the keywords and important skills that are demanded in most of the jobs.
List 10 companies where you’d like to work. Find those companies that might have your dream job. Think also if consultancy companies or recruiting agencies could also provide you with those jobs.
Find people in those companies. You have to find one recruiter and one or two employees (working in similar positions as the one you aspire to). Add them on LinkedIn. Ask them about vacancies in your area of interest. Propose to send them your CV (and a motivation letter if needed). What you are doing now is an open sollicitation.
Create 2 CVs. A short CV where you list your education and experience. A long CV where you list and give some detail of your projects, accomplishments and all your publications. You can use the long CV if you still decide to apply to more “scientific” jobs and the short CV for regular comapanies or to hand out at job fairs. Include a headshot photo of you on a white/light background. Export your CV a a pdf (this is the format you will use).
Pimp your LinkedIn profile. Make your LinkedIn profile as complete as possible. Try also to add in the text fields (interests and descriptions of educations and work experience) as many keywords as possible. This will make you appear in more often in search results. Try also to use the same profile photo as the one you included in your CV. If you need help, you can hire me to improve your LinkedIn profile and your online presence in general.
Create an Alert in Google. Go to Google Alerts and create multiple search queries using the keywords you identified before (add also “job offer” or “vacancy” or “we’re hiring”). You will receive a weekly summary of what’s new on the web concerning those words. This will allow you to detect new job offers.
Search daily in Google and LinkedIn jobs. Use your keywords and the name of the companies you are targeting to search for new vacancies. After a few days, order them for recency, so you only check the new ones.
Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. And when you are tired hustle some more. Hustle when you are sick of it. Hustle when you want to quit. Hustle while you wait.
Now Back To You
How did you manage to get a job in industry after your PhD? What was the key factor that got you hired?
Do you have some extra advice for those that just finished a PhD and are looking for a job in industry?
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How to Succeed in Industry by Really Trying
Who are the scientists that industry wants to hire? "Brilliant people who are creative and curious and can communicate," says William Banholzer, chief technology officer and an executive vice president of Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan.
That's the short answer. Banholzer's longer answer, revealed in both a March presentation to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and an April interview with Science Careers, suggests ways that early-career scientists who aspire to industrial careers can prepare themselves to compete for those jobs.
First, candidates should expect the competition to be stiff. Speaking to PCAST as a representative of the commission of prominent chemists who authored the recent, excellent American Chemical Society report on graduate education, Banholzer expressed pride that the group recognized "the elephant in the room: … there are too many Ph.D.s being granted in chemistry for the … jobs out there." As a consequence, postdoc appointments have become "a capacitor to try to buffer between" the oversupply of scientists and the available opportunities, he said.
But you'll notice that a history of postdocing is not among the characteristics that appear in Banholzer's description. "I don't think I need to hire postdocs," he told PCAST. A Ph.D. earned under an excellent professor is sufficient education, he says, because Dow provides newly hired scientists its own training for the work that they will be doing. "They sort of get their postdoc on the job," he notes.
Industry values the Ph.D. because it teaches "how to create new knowledge, pose an original research question, analyze the literature, generate an hypothesis, generate an experimental validation plan, and draw an appropriate conclusion," Banholzer tells Science Careers. But for success in industry, scientists need something more: an ability to "differentiate between interesting research and practical solutions to society's problems, … between what's possible and what's practical."
But many scientists don't do this, he has observed. Through years of graduate study, they can become "so deeply immersed in the nuances of [their] particular research that they can't put it in a larger perspective" and judge its relevance to providing workable solutions for real-world needs. "In industry you have to answer three questions. What do people want? What will they pay for? What can they afford?" Banholzer explains. Industrial research must succeed on a technical level, fit within economic parameters, and provide practical benefit to customers. It can also serve a higher purpose, he adds: finding feasible answers to large problems such as energy supply, climate change, and improved nutrition and health.
Looking for breadth and perspective
When Banholzer chooses scientists to meet these challenges, particular expertise matters less than candidates' intellectual ability and approach. "You hire someone for 20 or 30 years. I don't know what we're going to work on 30 years from now, or even 15," he says. But, because "smart people are creative, if I give them a new problem, they may not be immediately up to speed, but they'll learn what they need to." Of course, "I don't try to take a plant geneticist and turn him into a chemist." But, Banholzer believes, the ability to venture beyond one's expertise, to explore new ideas and information, and to integrate unfamiliar material and approaches are marks of a scientist with the potential to succeed in industry.
"If you are an expert in cell metabolic engineering, I might ask [in an interview], what do you know about particle physics or dark matter or the thermodynamic efficiency of photovoltaic cells compared to combined cycle turbines?" The "Renaissance science" people whom he seeks to hire have "curiosity beyond the field [they're] in" and the ability "to step back and say, 'Why do I even want to do cell engineering? What am I trying to do and what are the other alternatives?' "
Banholzer's off-topic questions aren't probing for expertise in those other fields but for evidence of intellectual flexibility and breadth. "Science," he says, "happens at the interfaces, to people who move into new areas." He believes that "students need to be personally accountable" for their own careers and intellectual development. Whether their advisers encourage them or not, Banholzer thinks that that they will benefit from cultivating interests outside their thesis area, for example by reading journals like Science that broadly cover research, attending seminars in fields other than their own, and delving into different areas of science.
And it's not just science. Communicating effectively, both orally and in writing, is essential for success in industry, where scientists interact not only with fellow researchers but also with many nonscientists. Whether those skills are acquired through reading, practicing, or taking courses, "you'd better be able to be very effective communicating with your fellow scientists, but you'd better also be able to understand your audience. The less technically astute your audience is, the better you should be at communication," he explains.
Anyway, he warns, without getting your ideas across effectively and understandably, you won't land a job in the first place. "Nobody should ever go to a job interview unless they've had multiple practice sessions." This is important because "I don't think you can recover from [giving] a bad seminar. If you screw up your seminar, people kind of dismiss you because they equate bad communication with a faulty thought process."
In addition, knowledge beyond science—especially of business subjects—gives applicants an edge. "If you and I do great science, but you also took some business classes and communication, … you're more employable," he says. Ancillary studies, though, won't compensate for mediocre dissertation work. "Great science" is always the nonnegotiable requirement.
To find employees who can do that great science, he seeks people whose originality and creativity have made them stand out. "I want to see what's novel, what wouldn't have happened if you hadn't been in that group, if somebody else had been there and been given the same problem. … Where did you come up with something that was so original that your professor was just shocked by [it]? Where your colleagues thought, 'Holy cow, I wouldn't have thought that would have worked, or I wouldn't have gone that way, or I wouldn't have drawn that conclusion?' " The fact that grad students may work in large collaborative groups doesn't mean that each can't make an individual contribution, he says. "We're all part of a collegial team, but I can still tell you on a baseball team what the batting average is of the pitcher and the first baseman."
He especially seeks scientists whose research shows an ability to work on hard—even "disruptive"—problems rather than building incrementally on a professor's work. "If it were easy, people would have done it by now. I look for people who take on hard problems and solve them."
A final element of Banholzer's formula for starting an industrial career is studying at an institution that ranks high in your field. "If you want to get a job, you'd better go to the best schools because that's where the best faculty are, that's where the best research is done. It doesn't mean there might not be a world-class, creative, capable person at a lesser school, but I've got to work so much harder to find them." Dow recruits at the roughly two dozen schools at the top of their fields; the particular institutions vary with the disciplines. An outstanding candidate from a lower-ranked school can still apply but faces much longer odds of getting noticed and hired.
Banholzer believes that large companies offer their scientist-employees a big advantage over smaller companies: Bigger companies can afford much larger risks than smaller firms. "If you do world-class science [at Dow] and it doesn't work out, you get another chance to turn world-class science into a world-class product. In a small company it may mean you don't have a job anymore."
"The reason I'm in industry is that I want to solve society's problems," Banholzer says. For aspiring scientists desiring to join him in this endeavor, his advice is straightforward. "You've got to figure out how to distinguish yourself from others. That means you'd better go to a prestigious university, you'd better work on some disruptive thesis, you'd better be outstanding at communication."
Anyone in the world
PhD system risks leaving overseas students in the cold -
UK universities are wrestling with a ‘two-tiered’ approach to delivering PhDs as a result of the introduction of the research councils’ doctoral training centres, a conference has heard, writes Elizabeth Gibney for Times Higher Education. And international students are losing out.
Under the model, students are funded for four years and receive structured skills training as part of a cohort, often in interdisciplinary centres that can span multiple institutions. But international students are usually ineligible for funding from the centres. Like UK students without research council backing or a match-funded studentship – who typically can access just three years of funding – overseas students struggle to find time to participate in extra training even where the centres offer it, said Tessa Payne, head of the graduate school at the University of Nottingham, at the International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training held in Edinburgh from 11-12 April.
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The future impact of the Internet on higher education: Experts expect more efficient collaborative environments and new grading schemes; they worry about massive online courses, the shift away from on campus life .
Tech experts believe market factors will push universities to expand online courses, create hybrid learning spaces, move toward 'lifelong learning' models and different credentialing structures by the year 2020. But they disagree about how these whirlwind forces will influence education, for the better or the worse.
Janna Quitney Anderson, Elon University Jan Lauren Boyles, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
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Adoc Talent Management et l’association Doc’Up ont le plaisir de vous présenter une série de 5 courts-métrages de promotion du doctorat, réalisés grâce au financement de la région Île-de-France.
Les 4 premiers courts-métrages visent à illustrer la diversité et la richesse des compétences développées dans le cadre du doctorat et l’atout que constituent ces compétences pour les entreprises. Chacune de ces vidéos est réalisée sous forme de spots illustrant les principales compétences identifiées chez les docteurs (cf. étude CAREER : www.competences-docteurs.fr ).
Docteurs, des compétences adaptées à votre entreprise (1) : Management
Docteurs, des compétences adaptées à votre entreprise (2) : Savoir-être
Docteurs, des compétences adaptées à votre entreprise (3) : Communication
Docteurs, des compétences adaptées à votre entreprise (4) : Expertise Scientifique et Technique
Enfin, un dernier court-métrage apporte aux docteurs et doctorants des informations sur les différentes étapes du processus de recrutement dans le secteur privé et leur donne quelques conseils. Dans cette vidéo, vous suivrez Pauline, docteur fraîchement diplômée, dans l’ensemble de son processus de recrutement, de la définition de son projet professionnel jusqu’à sa prise de poste.
Adoc Talent Management et l’association Doc’Up vous souhaitent un bon visionnage ! N’hésitez pas à diffuser ces vidéos le plus largement possible ou à les réutiliser !
A très bientôt !
Anyone in the world
Publié sur http://blog.educpros.fr/doctrix/
Jeudi 13 décembre 2012, au ministère de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, Pierre Lamblin, Directeur du département Etude et Recherche de l’Apec et Cédric Etienne Directeur du secteur public chez Deloitte (voir son interview par Doctrix et celui de Jean-Marie Marx, Directeur général de l’Apec).
- Sous la houlette de la Direction des Ressources Humaines du CNRS et de l’Observatoire des métiers, un “Référentiel métier de chercheur” est publié en 2007 (PDF avec une version français/anglais).
La même année, l’enquête “Compétences des doctorants et des docteurs” réalisée par Technopolis (PDF) sort.
- En 2009, Bruno Carrias (consultant et membre de la commission recherche, innovation et nouvelles technologies duMEDEF) publie “Recrutez des docteurs pour booster votre entreprise“, ouvrage préfacé par Laurence Parisot.
- En novembre 2010, l’Apec et Deloitte publient leur première enquête sur “Les besoins en compétences dans les métiers de la recherche à l’horizon 2020” (PDF en version trilingue). Le 13 décembre 2012, Pierre Lamblin et Cédric Etienne présentaient les résultats de l’enquête actualisée (en lecture et téléchargement sur le site de Collectif PAPERA).
La même année, Docteurs&Co (magazine jadis publié par l’ABG) sort un hors série : “Dix raisons d’embaucher un docteur“.
- En 2011, Adoc Talent Management soutenu par la région Ile de France publie une enquête sur les “Compétences-docteurs“.
La même année, Sebastien Poulain publie une synthèse “Bilan de compétence : valorisation du doctorat” (PDF) pour le BAIP (bureau d’aide à l’insertion professionnelle) de l’université Paris 1.
Si vous souhaitez aller + loin sur le sujet : lors du lancement de Doctrix, nous avons listé un certain nombre d’études/enquêtes sur les compétences des docteurs et plus largement sur le marché de l’emploi, voir la bibliographie. Merci de nous aider à compléter ce travail.
Article mis à jour le 17 décembre 2012.
Anyone in the world
Original link on EducPro.fr
La difficile évaluation de la recherche interdisciplinaire
La recherche interdisciplinaire avance. Les crédits dédiés à cette pratique commencent à affluer, mais les institutions ne savent pas encore vraiment évaluer cette nouvelle approche. Pour les chercheurs, l’interdisciplinarité peut être un frein à l’évolution de leur carrière. Etat des lieux.
"L’interdisciplinarité est difficile à évaluer", soupire Josette Garnier, directrice de recherche au CNRS et membre du bureau de la commission interdisciplinaire, CID 45 .
L'évaluation de la recherche interdisciplinaire est peut être un des sujets les plus complexes pour les institutions françaises à l'heure actuelle. "Lors de la vague C de nos évaluations, nous avons eu 20 à 25% des unités de recherche évaluées qui pouvaient être considérées comme pluri ou interdisciplinaires, témoigne Didier Houssin, président de l'AERES [Agence d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur]. La méthode optimale d'évaluation de ces équipes est encore un sujet en chantier chez nous."
L’AERES s’adapte à l’interdisciplinarité
Élisabeth de Turckheim, directrice de recherche à l'INRA, a travaillé – avec Luc Dugard – sur le sujet pour l'agence. "Nous avons dû redéfinir les critères et les outils de l'AERES pour les adapter à l'interdisciplinarité", relate-t-elle. De fait, les six critères d'évaluation de l'AERES ont été adaptés dans le cas d'équipes interdisciplinaires (voir encadré et document ).
Le comportement des sections du CNUface à l’interdisciplinarité est très variable
Le CNRS a mis en place des commissions interdisciplinaires (CID) depuis près de dix ans. Au sein de celles-ci, la thématique traitée par un chercheur compte plus que sa discipline d’origine ; d’ailleurs, les membres du jury représentent des filières variées. En dehors de ces thèmes-là, les chercheurs interdisciplinaires souhaitant évoluer dans une autre section doivent se plier à des conditions d’éligibilité plus strictes, notamment sur le type de revues dans lesquelles il faut avoir publié.
Bien choisir sa section CNU
Le problème est sensiblement le même pour les chercheurs se destinant à une carrière universitaire. Le comportement des sections du CNU face à l’interdisciplinarité est très variable.
La section 24 – aménagement de l’espace, urbanisme – est, par nature, interdisciplinaire. Elle peut être abordée du point de vue du géographe, du sociologue, de l’écologue ou de l’économiste. "Quand on reçoit un dossier, indique Sabine Barles, membre du bureau, nous regardons l’excellence académique bien sûr, mais aussi la proximité du sujet traité avec le nôtre. Nous avons des critères de sélection souples car, en sciences dures, certains doctorants peuvent publier deux papiers, alors que leurs collègues de SHS vont, dans le même temps, publier un livre."
Cet effort de dépassement des critères établis pour s’intéresser aux cas particuliers des candidats n’est pas fourni par toutes les sections du CNU.
À tel point que Sabine Barles hésite elle-même à l’heure actuelle à encadrer un jeune doctorant aux velléités interdisciplinaires. "J’essaie de les cadrer un peu dans une discipline, dit-elle. Sinon j’ai peur qu’ils aient des difficultés à faire carrière."
Un impact sur la carrière ?
L'évaluation est bien également un problème au niveau personnel. Dans l'élaboration de leur carrière, les chercheurs interdisciplinaires doivent savoir composer. "Le principal frein à l'interdisciplinarité est inhérent à cette pratique, évoque Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, professeur d'économie à l'UVSQ (université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin). Il est nécessaire d'investir du temps dans la relation sociale avec les autres chercheurs afin de construire des sujets réellement interdisciplinaires."
"Ce sont souvent des vieux chercheurs qui n’ont plus rien à perdre qui font de l’interdisciplinarité"
L'interdisciplinarité nécessite un travail de découverte de l'autre en amont qui est souvent méconnu par les instances. "Les appels d’offres de l’ANR, par exemple, courent sur trois, quatre ans maximum, regrette Josette Garnier. Le travail en amont est de fait ignoré. En trois ans, des partenaires qui ne se connaissent pas ont tout juste le temps de s'apprivoiser."
Et d'ajouter : "il n’est pas facile de trouver et surtout de réunir les compétences nécessaires à l’évaluation d’un sujet interdisciplinaire. De plus, il y a encore trop peu de revues interdisciplinaires, donc il est plus compliqué de satisfaire tous les coauteurs au moment de la publication."
Élisabeth de Turckheim l'a remarqué également lors de son travail sur le sujet pour l’AERES:"Ce sont souvent des vieux chercheurs qui n’ont plus rien à perdre qui font de l’interdisciplinarité", relève-t-elle.
Une récente étude span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">menée par l’université du Québec à Montréal et l'Institut de recherche (Pdf) pour l'ingénierie de l'agriculture et de l'environnement a d’ailleurs conclu : "De manière générale, ces résultats suggèrent qu’un adoucissement des exigences de publication à court terme créerait des conditions plus favorables à l’exploration interdisciplinaire."
L’essentiel de l’évaluation personnelle étant effectué par les pairs, si une fraction importante de chercheurs décide de valoriser l’interdisciplinarité, celle-ci devrait pouvoir assez rapidement se frayer une place au panthéon académique.
Les 6 critères d’évaluation de l’AERES
• Critère 1 : production et qualité scientifiques.
• Critère 2 : rayonnement et attractivité académiques.
• Critère 3 : interactions avec l'environnement social, économique et culturel.
• Critère 4 : organisation et vie de l’entité.
• Critère 5 : implication dans la formation par la recherche.
• Critère 6 : stratégie et projet à cinq ans.
Pluri, inter ou transdisciplinarité ?
Attention, ces termes ne sont pas synonymes. Ils désignent des niveaux d'interactions différents entre les disciplines impliquées sur un projet de recherche.
• La pluridisciplinarité est une simple juxtaposition d'équipes de cultures différentes autour du même sujet. Les échanges s'effectuent essentiellement à la fin, lors du partage des résultats.
• L’interdisciplinarité induit une plus grande collaboration en amont des personnes impliquées. Le projet de recherche est défini en commun. Les différentes approches sont associées, voire unifiées.
• La transdisciplinarité dépasse les points de vue disciplinaires. L'intégration entre méthodes d'approche est totale. Les partenaires définissent une nouvelle méthodologie originale qui peut déboucher sur la naissance d'une nouvelle discipline à part entière.
Pourquoi faire de l'interdisciplinaire ?
La question ressurgit, encore, parfois, dans le débat. Qu'apporte réellement l'interdisciplinarité ? Le présupposé voulant que cette pratique soit positive ne se vérifie pas toujours. Le système académique français s'est construit autour de disciplines cohérentes réunissant des personnes utilisant les mêmes méthodes et parlant le même langage.
Élisabeth de Turckheim considère qu'une "discipline seule ne peut pas répondre aux problèmes complexes posés par la société". En effet, l'adaptation au changement climatique, le vieillissement de la population et les pertes cognitives qui l'accompagnent ou encore l'utilisation ou non d'OGM sont autant de sujets très pointus mais complètement interdisciplinaires. Ils nécessitent la mobilisation de savoirs pointus dans des secteurs très différents comme la sociologie, l'écologie, la physique du globe, les sciences politiques ou encore l'économie !
L'interdisciplinarité ne doit pas être pour autant limitée à la recherche finalisée et appliquée. "C'est aussi à la croisée des disciplines que se situent les avancées", soutient Didier Houssin. Ces zones de rencontres entre les disciplines restent encore mystérieuses et attisent la curiosité des chercheurs.
"Je me suis lancée dans ma première aventure interdisciplinaire par intérêt et curiosité, témoigne Josette Garnier. Avec des historiens des universités de Paris 1 et de Bruxelles[ULB], nous avons quantifié la pollution à l'époque du Moyen Âge. Il y a eu une contribution réciproque et cette collaboration dure depuis quinze ans !"
Anyone in the world
Original link on l'Etudiant.fr
Les entreprises en quête de chercheurs interdisciplinairesUn labo de l'université d'Evry - DR
"Chercheurs : quelles compétences attendues demain ?" C'est le titre de l'étude menée par l'APEC avec le cabinet d'audit Deloitte et publiée le 13 décembre. En ressortent une forte demande en matière d'interdisciplinarité et le besoin d'améliorer les interactions entre recherche et monde socio-économique.
C'est dans un contexte particulier qu'est publiée l'enquête : quelques jours après la fin des Assises nationales de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche et quelques jours avant la publication du rapport de synthèse desdites Assises. Après une première étude conduite en 2010 sur les besoins en compétences dans les métiers de la recherche à l'horizon 2020, l'Association pour l'emploi des cadres (APEC) et le cabinet Deloitte ont décidé d'interroger de nouveau formateurs et employeurs sur l'évolution du métier de chercheur et sur l'adéquation entre l'offre de formation et les attentes des recruteurs.
Plusieurs questions leur ont été posées. Première d'entre elles : les attentes en matière de compétences acquises par les chercheurs. Que ce soit en sciences exactes ou en sciences humaines et sociales, les retours sont relativement homogènes : les jeunes chercheurs doivent disposer de bonnes connaissances scientifiques, d'une capacité à travailler en équipe et à formuler une problématique de recherche. Pour les profils plus expérimentés, les attentes concernent entre autre la faculté à gérer et à piloter des équipes et à développer un réseau.
L'INTERDISCIPLINARITÉ : L'ENJEU DES PROCHAINES ANNÉES
Lorsque les sondés se projettent à l'horizon 2020, de nouvelles compétences sortent du lot. C'est le cas de la capacité à prendre en compte la pertinence de la recherche et son impact sur l'environnement. Autre élément indispensable dans les prochaines années : l'interdisciplinarité.
"Aujourd'hui, il existe un paradoxe, a noté Jean-Claude Lehmann, président honoraire de l'Académie des technologies, lors de la présentation des résultats de l'étude au Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, le 13 décembre. Les universités, de par leur nature, devraient être préparées à raisonner à la fois en termes de discipline et d'enjeux. Or, ce n'est pas le cas. Il faut donc arriver à intégrer au cœur de la formation doctorale, une vision plus globale du sujet, dépassant la simple discipline enseignée."
"LE SAVOIR-FAIRE DOIT PASSER PAR LE FAIRE-SAVOIR"
Autre point abordé par l'étude : l'interaction entre formateurs et employeurs. Si depuis une dizaine d'années, les relations s'améliorent, ces dernières restent encore bien insuffisantes, pour plus de 70% des employeurs et 60% des formateurs. Pire, une majorité des répondants pense que les universités n'ont pas bien identifié les besoins des recruteurs en matière de compétences, contrairement aux écoles et aux instituts.
Pour remédier à cela, plusieurs outils sont à privilégier. Outre l'implication des employeurs dans la définition des programmes et l'existence d'études prospectives sur les compétences attendues, c'est la valorisation du doctorat qui arrive en tête des réponses (70%). "Il manque aux universités une structure pour défendre leurs diplômes et leurs diplômés, à la manière des écoles d'ingénieurs qui disposent de réseaux de lobbyistes", argumente Alain Priou, professeur des universités et membre du pôle aéronautique ASTech Région Ile-de-France.
Un point de vue partagé par Anita Flouzat, coordinatrice des Investissements d'avenir à l'université d'Orléans. "Les universités anglo-saxonnes investissent de grandes sommes dans leurs communications externe et interne. Le savoir-faire doit passer par le faire-savoir."
Il manque aux universités une structure pour défendre leurs diplômes et leurs diplômés, à la manière des écoles d'ingénieurs qui disposent de réseaux de lobbyistes. (Alain Priou)
DES PISTES, POUR AMÉLIORER LA "CONNIVENCE"
Derrière cette valorisation des compétences, se cache le véritable enjeu des prochaines années : le recrutement des chercheurs. La majorité des employeurs avoue avoir des difficultés à embaucher ces profils. "Ce n'est pas une surprise, note Pierre Lamblin, directeur du département études et recherche de l'APEC. De manière générale, deux tiers des employeurs connaissent actuellement des difficultés pour recruter des profils cadre."
Mauvaise image des laboratoires, manque de profils spécialisés, les raisons sont diverses."Les mondes de l'entreprise et de la recherche se connaissent, constate Jean-Claude Lehmann, mais ils ne se sentent pas sur le même bateau. Il est nécessaire d'améliorer cette connivence en trouvant les bons leviers pour agir."
Et les pistes de réflexion sont nombreuses : hausse des rémunérations, inscription du statut de docteur dans les conventions collectives, valorisation de la double expérience public-privé... "L'un des problèmes en France est l'absence de recherche privée, constate Alain Costes, co-fondateur et président du conseil scientifique de Mapping Consulting. L'ambition est de porter à 3% (1/3 public et 2/3 privé) du PIB la part de recherche et développement. Aujourd'hui, ce taux est de 2,1%, dont 1% porté par le public. L'une des clés est donc le développement de la recherche privée."
Méthodologie de l'étude APEC/Deloitte
Les 518 personnes, qui ont répondu à l’enquête en ligne entre le 29 novembre 2011 et le 7 février 2012, se répartissent en 196 formateurs et 322 employeurs exerçant leur activité dans des organisations diverses (universités, écoles et instituts, établissements publics à caractère scientifique et technologie, entreprises privées) de tailles différentes, dans des disciplines de recherche variées et pour divers champs d’application.
Anyone in the worldInteresting LinkedIn group on careers for PhD graduates. International perspective. A forum for discussion on the topic.
(You need a LikedIn account)
[ Modified: Friday, 14 December 2012, 01:14 PM ]
Anyone in the world
PhD students should be managers, not technicians
Michael J Mulvany, Zdravko Lackovic and Roland Jonsson16 September 2012 Issue No:239
Over the past year there has been considerable criticism in leading journals about the future of the PhD, with the underlying message that there is an overproduction of PhD graduates and that standards are falling.
The Humboldt concept of PhD education – research training under supervision – goes back over 200 years. Now, the PhD is perhaps the most internationally recognised academic degree, a PhD graduate being perceived as a trained researcher.
Until comparatively recently, PhD training was the route to an academic research position. Some professors would sometimes have a PhD student work with them, and successful students would likely end up permanently in academia. Given the growth in universities, this apprenticeship model was balanced.
In the past decades, however, the position has changed. Now most professors have, and are expected to have, several PhD students. And university growth is modest, if not negative. The large majority of PhD graduates will use their talents outside of academia.
Clearly, the model has become unsustainable.
There are in principle two approaches to solving the problem.
First, that the number of PhD students be drastically reduced. This, however, overlooks the far-reaching consequences for research output, since a large proportion of university research is now performed by PhD students.
The alternative is to ensure that PhD graduates who do not end up in academia are well qualified for the non-academic job market.
PhD graduates are among the brightest of our citizens and their PhD programmes should be an opportunity to develop their powers to solve problems. Such experience should give them the background to make major contributions to society and thus the competing economies of the future.
However, the recent criticism indicates that this is not always the case. Why is this? In our view it is due to the failure in some institutions and countries to recognise that the PhD training itself has to change to accommodate the new reality.
As long as PhD training was just a preparation for academic research, the traditional approach of performing experiments in a laboratory for a number of years and writing these up in detail in a monograph was a good basis for a future academic career.
That, however, is now not the case. If PhD graduates are to be attractive to the non-academic job market then they need to have so-called transferable skills: how to make presentations orally and written to national and international audiences, scientific and lay; how to teach; networking; grant writing; patenting; project management.
These are all aspects that are important for academics, but also of value elsewhere. Indeed being able to set up a three-year project, perform it and present it, is itself a transferable skill. The skills learned would be valuable in any job where creative synthesis, initiative and resourcefulness are needed.
Thus PhD education should be seen as a valuable contribution to the knowledge societies that will form the competing economies of the future.
A new approach is needed
Such an increase in the demands on the PhD student cannot be accommodated by the traditional apprenticeship model, if the quality of the research is to be maintained.
Excellence in research is the sine qua non of a PhD programme, but a new attitude to the PhD is needed, away from the idea that it consists only of learning scientific method and laboratory techniques towards having responsibility for a project.
In future the student will not necessarily do all the work himself or herself – whereas previously such an idea was anathema – but will rather learn to manage the job.
This is the approach favoured in Europe, and that recommended by the European Commission and the European Universities Association’s Council for Doctoral Research (EUA-CDE), where quality is ensured by embedding PhD programmes in a structured organisation within the administration of the institutions granting the PhD degree.
With this approach it is possible for PhD programmes to be completed within three to four years, to have research outputs at least at previous levels, and for the PhD student to develop the transferable skills that the PhD graduate will need to be competitive in the job market.
Over the past seven years, the approach recommended by the European Commission and the EUA-CDE has been expanded in the biomedical and medical fields by the organisation ORPHEUS – Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System – which represents more than 100 European faculties and institutions.
ORPHEUS has produced a set of standards. The standards combine specificity with the flexibility needed to accommodate quality PhD programmes in different countries. The major points can be summarised in the following ‘seven pillars':
- PhD programmes require a strong research environment.
- Admission to a PhD programme requires a level corresponding to a bachelor and two-year masters, and based on research potential rather than past experience.
- PhD programmes are structured and based primarily on a three- to four-year hands-on, original research project.
- PhD programmes should include project-related course work covering at most about six months, including courses on ethics and transferable skills.
- PhD students should have qualified and regular supervision.
- A PhD thesis should demonstrate an intellectual ability to be expected from completion of a three- to four-year research project at international level (for example, the equivalent of three papers-manuscripts).
- The PhD thesis should be evaluated by an assessment committee consisting of active scientists, who should be independent of the student’s milieu and preferably international.
These standards are not intended as a straitjacket, but as a way of ensuring the value of the PhD, both to the institution in terms of research output and in terms of strengthening career opportunities for PhD graduates inside or outside of academia.
PhD students should be managers, not technicians.
* Professor Michael J Mulvany is based at the department of biomedicine at Aarhus University in Denmark and is vice-president of ORPHEUS. Zdravko Lackovic is a professor in the department of pharmacology, University of Zagreb School of Medicine in Croatia, and president of ORPHEUS. Professor Roland Jonsson is deputy head of the Gade Institute at the University of Bergen in Norway, and a member of the ORPHEUS executive committee.