Early career researcher identity development: 
Research within and beyond academia

Many PhD graduates find themselves taking up jobs outside academia. Little is known about the types of jobs they take, the careers they build, nor the skills and knowledge needed to get and do their jobs. We also lack knowledge of what PhD employers want in the way of employees and how regional, national, and global labour markets influence hiring and PhD job-seeking. 

Our goal is to gain knowledge about early career researcher and employer experiences in Spain, Finland, and the UK, and use the findings to create useful career resources. Specifically, we will explore a) PhD through post-PhD non-academic career trajectories; b) employers’ motives for hiring PhDs across the countries; and c) the influence of regional and global labour markets on career decision-making. 

To find out more about the career paths of doctoral graduates beyond academia, we invite you to answer the following questionnaire: 

A continuación, encontraras información sobre los objetivos de este estudio y detalles de la participación que te solicitamos. Date un tiempo para leer atentamente la información antes de confirmar tu participación. Si hay alguna cosa que te genera dudas o requieres de más información, no dudes en contactar con nosotras en annasb4@blanquerna.url.edu

Why is this study being conducted?

Many PhD graduates find themselves taking up jobs outside academia. Little is known about the types of jobs they take, the careers they build, nor the skills and knowledge needed to get and do their jobs. We also lack knowledge of what PhD employers want in the way of employees and how regional, national, and global labour markets influence hiring and PhD job-seeking. So in this project, we explore the contexts that shape the career trajectories of early career researchers in Europe.

 

We focus on your experiences and the structural constraints that shape your thinking, whether you are a PhD graduate seeking work or an employer willing to hire PhDs. Your participation will offer insights into the circumstances in which early career researchers work and live, as well as into their work experiences. 

What are the specific aims?

Our goal is to gain knowledge about early career researcher and employer experiences in Spain, Finland, and the UK, and use the findings to create useful career resources. Specifically, we will explore a) PhD through post-PhD non-academic career trajectories; b) employers’ motives for hiring PhDs across the countries; and c) the influence of regional and global labour markets on career decision-making. The project is funded by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación; “Proyectos de I+D+i» de los Programas Estatales de Generación de Conocimiento y Fortalecimiento Científico y Tecnológico del Sistema de I+D+i y de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad.

Why have I been invited to take part?

You have been invited to participate because you are either a PhD-holder who is working outside academia or a non-academic employer who hires PhD graduates. 

Do I have to take part?

Your participation in this research is entirely voluntary and you may ask questions about the study before deciding whether or not to participate. If you agree to participate you may, at any stage and without penalty, withdraw from the study by advising the researchers of this decision, and your data will be destroyed. You may also choose not to answer any specific questions and still remain in the study. 

What will happen in the study?

If you decide to take part in the study, you will be asked to sign a consent form. After this, involvement may include: a) responding to online questions; b) being interviewed online; and c) being contacted, if you are willing, at a later date if we have further questions. (See "What happens to the research data provided?" below for more information about the use of your data.)

Are there any potential risks in taking part?

This research seeks to understand the experiences of early career researchers and PhD employers in non-academic contexts. Reflecting on and talking about your work experiences may involve some implicit or explicit criticism of your institution or organisation, a colleague or other people related to your work experiences. Whether this is the case or not, to protect your identity and to enable you to speak freely, personal data will be pseudonymised as appropriate. 

Also, it is possible that in some circumstances reflection on your experiences may reveal an unsatisfactory or distressing experience. Should this be the case we would encourage you to let us know and we will be happy to pause the interview and help you to address the situation. At the same time, you may find that the process of reflecting on your experience stimulates ideas for guiding your decision-making or engaging in personal and professional development. As well, your involvement will provide an opportunity to contribute to implementing better career development support for early career researchers. 


Regardless of whether you choose to participate, you may find some useful resources from our previous research here: https://www.researcher-identity.com/erasmusproject. Of particular interest may be https://www.researcher-identity.com/careers. While these resources were largely developed to support early career researchers, as they offer insight into the kinds of difficulties that PhD graduates can experience in their careers, they may also be useful to PhD employers.

What happens to the research data provided?

All your data will be anonymised – you will be allocated or can choose an alias. One digital and one paper file linking your real name with the pseudonym will be kept securely for the duration of the study. Your real name, personal details such as phone number and address, and other identifying information will not be revealed to people outside the project. In this way, your confidentiality and anonymity will be preserved. For example, your words may be quoted but you will be identified by your pseudonym.

 

All data will be treated in accordance with the university’s data protection policies, e.g.: 

  • Electronic data, including consent forms, questionnaires, audio files and transcripts will be stored in password-protected locations. (Audio files will not be used in dissemination.) 

  • Hard copies will be stored in the locked research cupboard in the project office.  

  • Emails will be stored on the researchers’ university accounts. 

  • If, during or after the project, another researcher requests access to the data, the request may be granted if the purpose is reasonable and accords with the information sheet and consent form, including agreeing to preserve the anonymity and confidentiality of data. 

  • At the end of the project, the data will be stored, encrypted, and kept secure for three years; electronic data in a limited access drive on the URL server, and hard copies in the project’s office-locked research cupboard. At the end of this period, a decision will be made for the materials to be preserved in an external archive or confidentially destroyed.

 

Puedes encontrar más información sobre nuestro tratamiento ético de datos aquí https://www.researcher-identity.com/privacy-policy y aquí https://www.url.edu/en/research-and-innovation/research-url/research-ethics-committee-url 

Will the research be published?

Our dissemination plan includes reports, online resources on the RIDSS website, workshops, conferences, and articles; in all cases, your anonymity and confidentiality will be preserved. We will be happy to share our findings with you on request. 

Who do I contact if I have a concern about the study or wish to complain?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this project, you can contact the PI Montserrat Castelló (montserratcb@blanquerna.url.edu) or the co-PI Lynn McAlpine (lynn.mcalpine@education.ox.ac.uk).