The debate on the enhancement of the title of PhD in fields other than the academic career has been active in Italy for many years, thanks to the cut in funding for the university sector, which has led to a very strong decrease in academic staff and resources available for hiring of researchers in training. In parallel to the request for more funds and attention to scientific research, a battle that remains central for us, already in 2005 ADI brought the matter to the attention of public opinion with the book “Brains in a Cage: misadventures and adventures of researchers in Italy “, which tells of how the Italian system has for years been” hostage to a mechanism that does not know how to profit from its training investments”.
During the V ADI Survey on PhD and Post-Doc ADI identified three main fronts for the enhancement of the PhD in the Italian social fabric: school, public administration and business. The exploration carried out on these three worlds has given us an image with dark tones: calls that ignore the highest educational qualification of the Italian legal system, poor knowledge of the doctorate by managers and entrepreneurs, and a widespread sensation, from part of my colleagues, having lost years in a path of almost zero utility for business purposes.
- An intolerable situation, which prompted ADI to engage immediately with concrete and ambitious proposals, addressed to the academy and political decision-makers, to ensure that the worlds of school, public administration, business and academia begin to talk to each other. The purpose of our proposals is to ensure that mobility between these sectors is no longer a mirage, but a concrete opportunity. For those who want to learn more, here are the links to our proposals on school , public administration and business .
- If in other European countries the title of PhD generally has a higher social recognition, this does not mean that for our colleagues the choice of a career is easier. Often the decision to look for a future outside the academy assumes the stigma of a professional failure, rather than being seen as the legitimate choice of those who decide to bring their knowledge contribution to other sectors of society. A recent article by Philipp Kruger on Nature gives us the opportunity to reflect on the topic, proposing some strategies that PhD students and teachers can adopt to make the doctorate a springboard towards an excellent professional career. We offer it below in translation.
Leaving the academy is not a failure
Here’s how doctoral students can prepare for a career outside of university, and how their teachers can help them. Then there are also the options to buy a paper as well.
PhD students and professors must think of the doctorate as training in scientific thought, indispensable for a wide range of work careers. By accepting that the academic one is not the only possible career at the end of the doctorate, we could change a definition of success that shows many limits. We would thus move from a culture of failure to a healthier and more positive culture of scientific initiative.