During the SIG 24 meeting we engage in workshops with the aim of an edited peer reviewed book.

The workshops focus on transitions in researcher education and careers.

Together, we ask the questions:

  1. What do we know from the research literature about the various and diverse forms of transitions in researcher education and careers?
  2. What theories and concepts of temporality and change are underlying the ways we conceive of transitions in researcher education and careers, and how do they influence on the ways research is being undertaken?
  3. What may be institutional, educational, and pedagogical implications of such narratives and understandings of transition that we unearth together during the meeting? What new futures for researcher education and careers emerge in the horizon?

The writing retreat at the end of the meeting provides participants the opportunity to develop their book chapter ideas.

Workshop descriptions

Workshop 1: Transitions in the PhD

The PhD and doctoral education are in a state of transition. The national and societal interest in the PhD has increased, the funding landscape is changing, and we see an increase in externally funded PhD scholarships not only from the industry (in STEM areas) but also from municipalities, teacher training colleges, primary and upper secondary schools, libraries, museums, NGOs, unions, the police, and digital software developers (in HASS areas). Such changes put different various pressures on the doctoral curriculum. Doctoral researchers are trained for academia and more traditional researcher careers, while also being urged to consider professional careers outside academia early on in their PhD. Further, the increased focus on locally motivated problem solving from external funding bodies sometimes challenges the criticality and integrity in the research, confuses the supervision process, and blurs the research ownership and researcher agency. These transitions in the PhD have implications for the individual doctoral researcher’s identity formation and learning trajectory, supervision approaches and pedagogy, organization of the PhD and Graduate School leadership, and the PhD dissertation as a genre.

Workshop facilitators: Søren S.E. Bengtsen, Kelsey Inouye, and Lynn McAlpine

Workshop 2: Transitions in post-PhD careers

As traditional academic career tracks are becoming scarcer everywhere, the diversity in PhD holders’ careers has dramatically increased, especially for recent graduates. Not only do many more PhD holders leave academia to work in a great variety of sectors and positions, but also careers within academia are changing and diversifying. With regards to the transition of PhD graduates to non-academic careers, the underlying challenges may vary across national contexts, but especially across disciplinary fields and employment sectors. Therefore, the preparation of doctoral students for various careers needs to be addressed from an individual, institutional, and national perspective. During the workshop, we will discuss the literature on this topic to identify implications for research and pedagogy.

Workshop facilitators: Inge van der Weijden, Isabelle Skakni, and Anna Sala Bubare

Workshop 3: Academic mid-career transitions and supervision

In academia, the mid-career stage often involves increased responsibilities in PhD supervision and research leadership. It may also involve becoming the supervisor of post docs and superior to academic employees. For instance, PhD supervision has gained attention in research, showing how intrinsically embedded many of the practices are in the activities of research communities, and implying the complexity and interconnectedness of growing and developing as an academic.

Mid-career academics may also feel the pressure of securing funding to develop and maintain a team or researchers. There are often expectations to take on administrative duties at the faculty level and an institutional level. Building and maintaining both national and international networks is a necessity for staying on top of current developments in one’s field. At the same time, mid-career academics find it unceasingly difficult to find the time to focus on research in the same way, as they may have been able to do during earlier career stages. Tensions often arise from the pressures, which mid-career academics juggle in various ways. Yet, the insecurity of fixed-term contracts and pressure to land funding for one’s research may have transferred into the security of a permanent or tenured position. This workshop focuses on academic careers especially at the stage of transitions from junior positions into more established positions. It explores the tensions and the consolidation that appear in this transitioning period and their implications in the light of the extant literature in the field, and further attempts to summarize the knowledge in the field and identify a research agenda for bridging knowledge gaps.

Workshop facilitators: Kirsi Pyhältö and Erika Löfström