FnAK’s Annual Report 2018

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The FnAK 2018 annual report can be downloaded here. (French)

Today’s young researchers belong to generation Y (or millennial). They were born between 1980 and 2000 and possess qualities that predispose them to research careers: access to information is child’s play for them, they have team spirit, are well educated, motivated and enterprising, as long as the pressure of work can be combined with their many external interests.

In a context where mobility and research stays play an increasingly important role in the lives of researchers, the level of their research team and their professional success will increasingly depend on their participation in large-scale projects. For host institutions, this means valuing their best researchers and their participation in high-level projects, initiating future-oriented research areas, being open to new disciplines and promoting new forms of publication.

Institutional membership and physical presence will lose their importance, to the benefit of job security, equality and independence in the research system. To make an institution more attractive, the resources allocated will of course be decisive. Those who can adopt this new approach will be in the best position to attract the best international talent.

In terms of supporting the scientific career, this paradigm shift is fortunately well understood on both sides of the Atlantic. This is also true for those who belong to the lost generation of scientists, the majority, who will not get a permanent position in research.

However, careers outside academia are just as valuable, and those who supervise doctoral and post-doctoral students must provide them with an exit plan and take responsibility for preparing them to non-academic careers. It is therefore essential for institutions to have data on the number of university jobs available at each level and to indicate a perspective to each departing scientist.

What may indeed seem like a loss for the academic world can still prove to be an enormous gain for society… Thus the surveys carried out in France with doctoral schools on the professional future of doctors (employability, training) must be completed by an approach that favours career development, the attractiveness of the European Research Area and the development of researchers.

There is a real interest in linking the two approaches and developing their complementarity: from thesis preparation to post-doctoral work or even beyond, then from employability to career development and support.