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ECRID 2020-24

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. 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.

Our goal is to gain knowledge about early career researcher and employer experiences in Spain, Finland, the UK and Switzerland, 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.

Researchers & Covid-19 2020-21


The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed an enormous challenge not only in terms of health but also in terms of social and employment issues. Researchers from different areas of knowledge have had to face this challenge in different ways depending on our projects and areas of work.

The purpose of the project is to understand what impact COVID-19 has had on your research activity and on your well-being, how you are managing the changes that the pandemic has brought about, and to what extent you consider that the current situation may affect research in your discipline and the social perception of science. 

RID·SSISS 2018-20

Researcher Identity Development: Strengthening  Science in Society Strategies

The RID-SSISS project aims at reconceptualizing the role of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and providing them with innovative and quality educational resources to help them develop as researchers and successfully face current societal challenges and establish satisfactory careers.


The specific objectives are:


  1. To design, implement and assess interactive on-line research-based resources to help ECRs (PhD students and post-doc) face challenges concerning: interaction with supervisors, teams and communities of reference; scientific writing and production; inequity and ethics of research, and strategies for developing resilience and regulating emotions.

  2. To develop, validate and set up digital tools that contribute to developing ECR identity and career trajectories through effective participation in the professional and scientific communities of reference.

  3. To raise awareness within the European scientific community of the importance of researcher identity and career development through the presence of these digital tools.

  4. To showcase and disseminate proven methodologies, tools and practices for ECR to successfully address challenges faced in advancing their careers.


Apart from Early Career Researchers (PhD Students and post-docs), the RID-SSISS project is clearly targeted to other groups’ needs:

  • Supervisors and other teachers and trainers.

  • Higher Education institutions and educational stakeholders (doctoral school directors, graduate program directors).

  • Research funding agencies and policymakers.


To develop effective and innovative training proposals, materials and modules for doctoral students and ECRs, we need to train highly qualified teachers and trainers engaged in doctoral education. Training not only helps them implement these innovative approaches and proposals but to modify their own perception of what researcher education means and how it needs to be changed to make a new researcher profile possible at the European level. Moreover, HE institutions and other stakeholders can benefit from the outputs of the project to plan doctoral programs and courses in their institutions.



Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. Project reference: 2017-1-ES01-KA203-038303.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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FINS·RIDSS 2015-17

Researcher Identity Development in the Social Sciences


The project aimed at generating knowledge about and resources for Social Sciences Early Career Researchers’ (ECR) identity development in the European context. To do that, we conducted two empirical studies.

The first study conducted initially in Spain, Finland and UK, and later on also in Switzerland, was aimed at analysing ECRs’ conceptions about research and writing and how they deal with the problems and critical incidents they face. A large-scale data collection was done through a questionnaire that was developed in the four contexts and administrated to both PhD students and post-docs. Around 2,000 doctoral students and 300 post-docs from the four countries participated in this study.
In the second study, we conducted individual interviews with a subsample of participants to explore more in-depth their conceptions and experiences during the previous year. We interviewed more than 80 ECRs.

Results and outputs of the project are available on this website.

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