PhD students should take responsibility for their own careers, but careers advisers and Higher Education Institutions can do a lot to help them.
The Royal Society, the UK equivalent to most countries’ academies of science, recommends that PhD students should “consider and take responsibility for managing their own career expectations” in Doctoral students’ career expectations: principles and responsibilities, published on December 18th 2014. Although this is a very UK-centric piece of work, it can be extremely useful for PhD students and research universities the world over. So even if you’re not from the UK or doing a PhD in the UK, it’s worth having a look at.
The document, along with the complimentary pieces from the round-table discussions, aims to do three things:
1) raise awareness among students and higher education institutions (HEIs) of existing issues in managing PhD students’ career expectations;
2) offer possible solutions to these challenges; and
3) encourage HEIs to implement these solutions.
I spoke to Professor Athene Donald, the chair of the working group that put together this document to find out more.