Why science needs a new reward and recognition system

Posted in Research on July 16th, 2021 by steve

“The chance of ‘success’ in an academic science career, which has historically been defined as obtaining a permanent position, is low. Because of this, early-career researchers, including PhD students, postdocs and junior faculty members, are vulnerable to extra stresses. From June to October 2020, we surveyed 151 such researchers in different fields and from multiple countries in Europe to better understand how they were affected by pandemic-related lockdowns and associated relief efforts …” (more)

[Edyta Swider-Cios, Katalin Solymosi and Mangala Srinivas, Nature, 15 July]

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Students urged to consider apprenticeships as a career choice

Posted in Governance and administration on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Students are being urged to consider apprenticeships as a career choice, as they prepare to sit their exams this week. The government is today announcing €7.5m in funding to support apprenticeship programmes across the country …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 3 June]

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The academic career?

Posted in Life on August 30th, 2016 by steve

Scotland“Every so often someone asks me whether I would recommend academia as a career option, and to be honest I am never quite sure what to say. Of course the academy has been very good to me, but what can someone entering the profession today expect? …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 29 August]

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Students ‘not aware’ of jobs in science and technology sector

Posted in Life on October 28th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“More than half of Irish students and nearly half of teachers are unaware of science and technology career opportunities, a survey published today has suggested. The research, by Populus for Nestlé Ireland, involved interviewing 103 decision-makers at Irish STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) businesses …” (more)

[Irish Times, 28 October]

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The role and place of the academic is changing – and it’s a good thing

Posted in Life on November 13th, 2013 by steve

“The academic career is dead. There, I’ve said it. Over the last few years I have been trying to build an academic career, in the process losing sight of why I became an academic in the first place …” (more)

[Alex Hope, Guardian Professional, 13 November]


The academic career path has been thoroughly destabilised by the precarious practices of the neoliberal university

Posted in Governance and administration, Life on November 1st, 2013 by steve

“It is an increasingly difficult time to begin an academic career. The pressures of the REF, casualization and adjunctification of teaching and the disappearance of research funding are enormous obstacles academics face …” (more)

[Sydney Calkin, Impact of Social Sciences, 1 November]

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Sinead Morris reports on the prospects of a career in scientific research in Ireland

Posted in Research on September 30th, 2012 by steve

“… and during the week two students from Synge Street School in Dublin won joint first prize in the EU contest for young scientists in Bratislava …” (audio)

[RTÉ This Week, 30 September]

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The data confirms: If you want to stay in science and see your children grow up don’t have children before you have tenure

Posted in Life on May 11th, 2012 by steve

“Women are much more likely than men to move out of the research-professor pipeline in order to have children. Bjoern Brembs wonders if we should make science a 9-5 job in order to accommodate women with children, or should we get used to not having a 50-50 distribution of men and women? …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 11 May]

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Pregnancy and science careers

Posted in Life on April 6th, 2012 by steve

“In graduate school, I was directed toward a dissertation topic on fossil rodents based primarily at the Field Museum in Chicago. My major professor assumed that I would not want to go to Africa for dissertation field research as most of his other students did, since I was pregnant with my first child …” (more)

[Sue V Rosser, Inside Higher Ed, 4 April]

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Why you will fail to have a great career

Posted in Life on March 28th, 2012 by steve

“In this funny and blunt talk from TEDxUW, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions …” (video)

[Larry Smith, TED, 27 March]


Doctoral careers

Posted in Life on October 7th, 2011 by steve

“When in 1978 one of my lecturers advised me to do a PhD, I followed the advice for one reason only: I had developed a strong curiosity about my proposed research theme (bless my enthusiasm!) and I wanted the opportunity to dig deep. I did not have the slightest concern about what this would do for me in career terms …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 October]

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Thousands risk picking the wrong CAO course

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on August 15th, 2011 by steve

“Thousands of school-leavers are ill-prepared for crucial choices about college courses and future careers, a major new study reveals. It exposes deep flaws in the careers guidance system …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 August]

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Advice on courses should not be seen as ‘a luxury’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on August 15th, 2011 by steve

“Career guidance has always had a scent of luxury about it, sort of a desirable accessory for the middle classes. But the education system cannot treat the need for teenagers to be given all the information and advice they require as an optional extra …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 August]

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Pue is 2: Lisa

Posted in Life on June 13th, 2011 by steve

“… Looking back I think that we have received the best response to posts when we have dealt about these issues and how they affect us, or about how they affect the community at large. Young academics are often afraid to admit that they struggle with certain parts of their research or career because to do so might just be advertising to a prospective employer that you are not perfect. We are taught to loudly proclaim just how good we are and to project a false sense of confidence (in doing this though surely we make it more difficult for ourselves?) Posts about careers, the difficulty with publishing and getting a job always get a really positive response …” (more)

[Lisa Marie Griffith, Pue’s Occurrences, 13 June]


Will the university world change utterly?

Posted in Life on May 8th, 2011 by steve

“Attempting to gaze into the future can be an amusing pastime. Generally predictions of how the world will look in a few years from now turn out to be dramatically wrong. It’s not that things don’t change, sometimes dramatically – but rather they tend to change in unexpected ways …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 May]

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Lucrative careers for graduates

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 13th, 2010 by steve

“It has long been my view that students and their families often choose degree programmes for all the wrong reasons. One of these wrong reasons is an assumption about what kind of career is likely to prove lucrative. The problem is that if this is to inform the choice of degree programme, you are making the judgement at the wrong time …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 13 September]

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If not University, what else?

Posted in Life on July 1st, 2010 by steve

“… In a professional context, I only worked with one person without a degree. He was great, a real go to guy. He subsequently had to go back and get a degree because not having one was blocking his pathway to promotion. Good grief, you probably need a degree to run away and join the circus nowadays …” (more)

[Robert Cosgrave, Tertiary21, 1 July]


A Reply on Higher Education

Posted in Teaching on January 3rd, 2010 by steve

“… This is a false dichotomy. Choosing a major that provides, yes, training in basic analytical reasoning, but also the information specific to the sort of career I want is, as a student, exactly what I want to do. There is nothing inherent in focusing on choosing a major suited to the sort of career one is interested in that proscribes also studying classic thinkers related to and even perhaps outside of that specific course of study …” (more)

[Kevin Dean, Properly Understood, 3 January]


Making College ‘Relevant’

Posted in Life on January 3rd, 2010 by steve

“Thomas College, a liberal arts school in Maine, advertises itself as Home of the Guaranteed Job! Students who can’t find work in their fields within six months of graduation can come back to take classes free, or have the college pay their student loans for a year. The University of Louisiana, Lafayette, is eliminating its philosophy major …” (more)

[Kate Zernike, New York Times, 29 December]

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Academics: the next generation

Posted in Life on July 10th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“As readers of this blog will know, I believe that universities may over the next few years turn out to be very different places from what they were when I embarked on an academic career. Not all of the changes to date have been bad: when I started as a lecturer in Trinity College in 1980, most staff, in most departments, were by today’s standards entirely research inactive; students were predominantly from an upper middle class background; there was very little opportunity for anyone who was not very senior to discover what was going on, never mind have a say in it; a surprising number of professors were on second name terms only with junior staff; assessment of students was by exams only; and so forth …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 10 July]

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