[ASC-list] New report on research careers

director at tossgascoigne.com.au director at tossgascoigne.com.au
Mon Jan 14 11:08:17 UTC 2013

Hi ASC-ers

A new report on the career experience of researchers in Australia came out

The Commonwealth Government commissioned ACOLA (the Australian Council of
Learned Academies) to seek the views of researchers through an on-line
survey and focus groups.  What did they like about their work?  Did they
have problems winning positions or grants?  What suggestions did they have
for improving the career pathway?

Respondents to both the survey and focus groups showed frustration, anger
and bitterness towards the system which employed them: the lack of
certainty of employment;  the overly-competitive race for grants,
fellowships and jobs; and (for some) the onerous burden of teaching and

There are things Australia does well (such as the PhD scholarship), but
respondents were 4 times as vocal in nominating what Australia does badly.
 While lack of funding is at the root of many of the issues, some
improvements could be made relatively cheaply.  Respondents had a number
of suggestions for both the Government and the research sector.

An underlying issue was the question: is Australia producing too many PhD

The full report will be published on the ACOLA website once technical
glitches are overcome.  In the meantime, it is available at:


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