Time to tenure in Spanish universities: an event history analysis.
ABSTRACT: Understanding how institutional incentives and mechanisms for assigning recognition shape access to a permanent job is important. This study, based on data from questionnaire survey responses and publications of 1,257 university science, biomedical and engineering faculty in Spain, attempts to understand the timing of getting a permanent position and the relevant factors that account for this transition, in the context of dilemmas between mobility and permanence faced by organizations. Using event history analysis, the paper looks at the time to promotion and the effects of some relevant covariates associated to academic performance, social embeddedness and mobility. We find that research productivity contributes to career acceleration, but that other variables are also significantly associated to a faster transition. Factors associated to the social elements of academic life also play a role in reducing the time from PhD graduation to tenure. However, mobility significantly increases the duration of the non-tenure stage. In contrast with previous findings, the role of sex is minor. The variations in the length of time to promotion across different scientific domains is confirmed, with faster career advancement for those in the Engineering and Technological Sciences compared with academics in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Results show clear effects of seniority, and rewards to loyalty, in addition to some measurements of performance and quality of the university granting the PhD, as key elements speeding up career advancement. Findings suggest the existence of a system based on granting early permanent jobs to those that combine social embeddedness and team integration with some good credentials regarding past and potential future performance, rather than high levels of mobility.
Project description:BACKGROUND:MD-PhD programs confer degrees that empower medical doctors with in-depth scientific skills to contribute to biomedical research and academic medicine, alongside clinical practice. Whilst the career options and research opportunities related to graduates following these programs in the US are well documented, little is known about their European counterparts. In this article, we studied graduates who had completed the MD-PhD program at the University of Geneva between 2010 and 2019. METHODS:A cross-sectional survey was performed in April 2019, targeting all medical doctors who had obtained the MD-PhD degree from the University of Geneva since 2010. Demographics, opinions, and career outcomes of the MD-PhD graduates were assessed through an online anonymous questionnaire. RESULTS:Twenty-one questionnaires were collected from 31 MD-PhD graduates (response rate 65.5%). Most respondents (57.1%) had performed an MD-PhD training in basic sciences; however, only 14.3% had pursued this type of research thereafter. Most of the respondents held a position at a University hospital (90.5%), although a significant number of them were no longer involved in research in their current position (28.6%). 85.7% mentioned obstacles and challenges in combining clinical duties with research. Despite this, the majority (85.7%) declared that the MD-PhD degree had given them advantages in their career path, granting access to clinical and academic positions, as well as funding. CONCLUSIONS:Graduates from the MD-PhD program in Geneva were for the most part, satisfied with their training. However, because of the challenges and obstacles in combining clinical duties with research, the implementation of research activities in their current position proved difficult.
Project description:PhD recipients acquire discipline-specific knowledge and a range of relevant skills during their training in the life sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, social sciences, and engineering. Empirically testing the applicability of these skills to various careers held by graduates will help assess the value of current training models. This report details results of an Internet survey of science PhDs (n = 8099) who provided ratings for fifteen transferrable skills. Indeed, analyses indicated that doctoral training develops these transferrable skills, crucial to success in a wide range of careers including research-intensive (RI) and non-research-intensive (NRI) careers. Notably, the vast majority of skills were transferrable across both RI and NRI careers, with the exception of three skills that favored RI careers (creativity/innovative thinking, career planning and awareness skills, and ability to work with people outside the organization) and three skills that favored NRI careers (time management, ability to learn quickly, ability to manage a project). High overall rankings suggested that graduate training imparted transferrable skills broadly. Nonetheless, we identified gaps between career skills needed and skills developed in PhD training that suggest potential areas for improvement in graduate training. Therefore, we suggest that a two-pronged approach is crucial to maximizing existing career opportunities for PhDs and developing a career-conscious training model: 1) encouraging trainees to recognize their existing individual skill sets, and 2) increasing resources and programmatic interventions at the institutional level to address skill gaps. Lastly, comparison of job satisfaction ratings between PhD-trained employees in both career categories indicated that those in NRI career paths were just as satisfied in their work as their RI counterparts. We conclude that PhD training prepares graduates for a broad range of satisfying careers, potentially more than trainees and program leaders currently appreciate.
Project description:Background:For students entering a science PhD program, a tenure-track faculty research position is often perceived as the ideal long-term goal. A relatively small percentage of individuals ultimately achieve this goal, however, with the vast majority of PhD recipients ultimately finding employment in industry or government positions. Given the disparity between academic career ambitions and outcomes, it is useful to understand factors that may predict those outcomes. Toward this goal, the current study examined employment status of PhD graduates from biomedical sciences programs at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU AMC) and related this to metrics of predoctoral publication records, as well as to other potentially important factors, such as sex and time-since-degree, to determine if these measures could predict career outcomes. Methods:Demographic information (name, PhD program, graduation date, sex) of CU AMC biomedical sciences PhD graduates between 2000 and 2015 was obtained from University records. Career outcomes (academic faculty vs. non-faculty) and predoctoral publication records (number and impact factors of first-author and non-first-author publications) were obtained via publicly available information. Relationships between predoctoral publication record and career outcomes were investigated by (a) comparing faculty vs. non-faculty publication metrics, using t-tests, and (b) investigating the ability of predoctoral publication record, sex, and time-since-degree to predict career outcomes, using logistic regression. Results:Significant faculty vs. non-faculty differences were observed in months since graduation (p < 0.001), first-author publication number (p = 0.001), average first-author impact factor (p = 0.006), and highest first-author impact factor (p = 0.004). With sex and months since graduation as predictors of career outcome, the logistic regression model was significant (p < 0.001), with both being male and having more months since graduation predicting career status. First-author related publication metrics (number of publications, average impact factor, highest impact factor) all significantly improved model fit (?2 < 0.05 for all) and were all significant predictors of faculty status (p < 0.05 for all). Non-first-author publication metrics did not significantly improve model fit or predict faculty status. Discussion:Results suggest that while sex and months since graduation also predict career outcomes, a strong predoctoral first-author publication record may increase likelihood of obtaining an academic faculty research position. Compared to non-faculty, individuals employed in faculty positions produced more predoctoral first-author publications, with these being in journals with higher impact factors. Furthermore, first-author publication record, sex, and months since graduation were significant predictors of faculty status.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The big problem in global public health, arising from the international migration of physicians from less-developed to more-developed countries, increases if this migration also affects scientists dedicated to health areas. This article analyzes critical variables in the processes of Spanish scientific mobility in Health Sciences to articulate effective management policies for the benefit of national public health services and the balance between local and global science. METHODS:This study develops a survey to measure and analyze the following crucial variables: research career, training, funding, working with a world-class team, institutional prestige, wages, facilities/infrastructure, working conditions in the organization of the destination country, fringe benefits in the organization of the destination country and social responsibility in the organization of the departure country. A total of 811 researchers have participated in the survey, of which 293 were from the health sector: Spanish scientists abroad (114), scientists that have returned to Spain (32) and young researchers in Spain (147). RESULTS:The most crucial variables for Spanish scientists and young researchers in Spain in Health Sciences moving abroad are the cumulative advantages (research career, training, funding and institutional prestige) plus wages. On the other hand, the return of Spanish scientists in the Health Sciences is influenced by cumulative variables (working with a world-class team, research career and institutional prestige) and also by other variables related to social factors, such as working conditions and fringe benefits in the destination country. Permanent positions are rare for these groups and their decisions regarding mobility depend to a large extent on job opportunities. CONCLUSIONS:Spanish health organizations can influence researchers to return, since these decisions mainly depend on job opportunities. These organizations can complement the cumulative advantages offered by the wealthier countries with the intensification of social factors.
Project description:There is national and international recognition of the importance of innovation, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship for sustained economic revival. With the decline of industrial research laboratories in the United States, research universities are being asked to play a central role in our knowledge-centered economy by the technology transfer of their discoveries, innovations, and inventions. In response to this challenge, innovation ecologies at and around universities are starting to change. However, the change has been slow and limited. The authors believe this can be attributed partially to a lack of change in incentives for the central stakeholder, the faculty member. The authors have taken the position that universities should expand their criteria to treat patents, licensing, and commercialization activity by faculty as an important consideration for merit, tenure, and career advancement, along with publishing, teaching, and service. This position is placed in a historical context with a look at the history of tenure in the United States, patents, and licensing at universities, the current status of university tenure and career advancement processes, and models for the future.
Project description:Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience is a National Institutes of Health-funded, national program that addresses challenges to the persistence of diverse early-career neuroscientists. In doing so, BRAINS aims to advance diversity in neuroscience by increasing career advancement and retention of post-PhD, early-career neuroscientists from underrepresented groups (URGs). The comprehensive professional development program is structured to catalyze conversations specific to URGs in neuroscience and explicitly addresses factors known to impact persistence such as a weak sense of belonging to the scientific community, isolation and solo status, inequitable access to resources that impact career success, and marginalization from informal networks and mentoring relationships. While we do not yet have data on the long-term impact of the BRAINS program on participants' career trajectory and persistence, we introduce the BRAINS program theory and report early quantitative and qualitative data on shorter-term individual impacts within the realms of career-advancing behaviors and career experiences. These early results suggest promising, positive career productivity, increased self-efficacy, stronger sense of belonging, and new perspectives on navigating careers for BRAINS participants. We finish by discussing recommendations for future professional development programs and research designed to broaden participation in the biomedical and life sciences.
Project description:Few, if any, educational interventions intended to increase underrepresented minority (URM) graduate students in biological and behavioral sciences are informed by theory and research on career persistence. Training and Education to Advance Minority Scholars in Science (TEAM-Science) is a program funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the twin goals of increasing the number of URM students entering and completing a PhD in BBS and increasing the number of these students who pursue academic careers. A framework for career development in graduate research training is proposed using social cognitive career theory. Based on this framework, TEAM-Science has five core components: 1) mentor training for the research advisor, 2) eight consensus-derived fundamental competencies required for a successful academic career, 3) career coaching by a senior faculty member, 4) an individualized career development plan that aligns students' activities with the eight fundamental competencies, and 5) a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats personal career analysis. This paper describes the theoretical framework used to guide development of these components, the research and evaluation plan, and early experience implementing the program. We discuss the potential of this framework to increase desired career outcomes for URM graduate trainees in mentored research programs and, thereby, strengthen the effectiveness of such interventions on participants' career behaviors.
Project description:Field-based data collection provides an extraordinary opportunity for comparative research. However, the demands of pursuing research away from home creates an expectation of unburdened individuals who have the temporal, financial, and social resources to conduct this work. Here we examine whether this myth of the socially unencumbered scholar contributes to the loss of professionals and trainees. To investigate this, we conducted an internet-based survey of professional and graduate student anthropologists (n = 1025) focused on the challenges and barriers associated with developing and maintaining a fieldwork-oriented career path and an active family life. This study sought to determine how (1) family socioeconomic status impacts becoming an anthropologist, (2) expectations of field-based research influence family planning, and (3) fieldwork experiences influence perceptions of family-career balance and stress. We found that most anthropologists and anthropology students come from educated households and that white men were significantly more likely to become tenured professionals than other demographic groups. The gender disparity is striking because a larger number of women are trained in anthropology and were more likely than men to report delaying parenthood to pursue their career. Furthermore, regardless of socioeconomic background, anthropologists reported significant lack of family-career balance and high stress associated with the profession. For professionals, lack of balance was most associated with gender, age, SES, tenure, and impacts of parenting on their career, while for students it was ethnicity, relative degree speed, graduate funding, employment status, total research conducted, career impact on family planning, and concern with tenure (p < .05). Anthropology bridges the sciences and humanities, making it the ideal discipline to initiate discussions on the embedded structural components of field-based careers generalizable across specialties.
Project description:Even though academic research is often viewed as the preferred career path for PhD trained scientists, most U.S. graduates enter careers in industry, government, or "alternative careers." There has been a growing concern that these career patterns reflect fundamental imbalances between the supply of scientists seeking academic positions and the availability of such positions. However, while government statistics provide insights into realized 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. 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. Based on a national survey of PhD students at tier-one U.S. institutions, we provide insights into the career preferences of junior scientists across the life sciences, physics, and chemistry. We also show that the attractiveness of academic careers decreases significantly over the course of the PhD program, despite the fact that advisors strongly encourage academic careers over non-academic careers. Our data provide an empirical basis for common concerns regarding labor market imbalances. Our results also 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.
Project description:Scientific publications enable results and ideas to be transmitted throughout the scientific community. The number and type of journal publications also have become the primary criteria used in evaluating career advancement. Our analysis suggests that publication practices have changed considerably in the life sciences over the past 30 years. More experimental data are now required for publication, and the average time required for graduate students to publish their first paper has increased and is approaching the desirable duration of PhD training. Because publication is generally a requirement for career progression, schemes to reduce the time of graduate student and postdoctoral training may be difficult to implement without also considering new mechanisms for accelerating communication of their work. The increasing time to publication also delays potential catalytic effects that ensue when many scientists have access to new information. The time has come for life scientists, funding agencies, and publishers to discuss how to communicate new findings in a way that best serves the interests of the public and the scientific community.