The Rise of the Post-Doc as Principal Investigator? How PhDs May Advance Their Career and Knowledge Claims in the New Europe of Knowledge
Policy Futures in Education, Vol. 6, No. 4, 2008
The European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area are still under construction. Their foundations, however, are visible and already affect what the next generation of researchers can and cannot do. While it is unclear when, and to what standard, construction will be completed, the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers clarify the expectations of policy makers and major stakeholders. One significant scenario is the rise of the post-doc as principal investigator. This would signal profound change in the governance and funding of research since hitherto the post-doc has been understood primarily as an assistant (to a professor's chair or on a research project).
It is outlined which new knowledge and skills PhDs and post-docs need to advance their career and projects more independently - in science and engineering as well as the social sciences and humanities. Potential changes in funding and status are discussed as well as changing relations with supervisors and mentors. Because of European flagship awards for post-docs as well as mobility fellowships, a significant number of post-docs are already principal investigators. Details of these flagship post-doc awards and fellowship are outlined. The report then discusses what doctoral students and post-docs might do individually and collectively to follow in the footsteps of the pioneers. A list of the most valuable online resources is provided.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Postdoc, Early Stage Researcher, Principal Investigator, Tenure, European Charter for Researchers, European Research Council
JEL Classification: D83, I21, J44, O15
Date posted: March 30, 2006 ; Last revised: April 8, 2008