Integrative Molecular Phenotyping

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‘I don’t want this kind of life’: graduate students question career options

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here - and this article seemed like a great place to start.  As we have all heard, there is a shift in the academic ether - a realisation that the "canonical" pathway from PhD to Postdoc to Professor may not be a realistic or even desired career goal for many. It is an important conversation - and hopefully one that the universities take to heart. In many ways, our relevance to the students that we serve is being questioned - and appropriately so. While I do not have the answers, I like to think that I am honest with the students and postdoctoral students who come work in my research group. Academic positions are few and far between these days - and in many ways undesirable. The key point for me is to communicate early with the person joining the lab about their expectations and goals. We can then tailor the project and their experience at the university to hopefully prepare them for the next step - wherever that may be. It is however important that we move away from the inherent bias that academics is a preferred career choice. Universities need to provide education and support for the multitude of careers available to the people who obtain an advanced degree.  If we do not do so, then we do indeed risk seeing a decreased interest in a PhD.