FECYT participates in the conference ‘Career alternatives for researchers"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Conference “Career alternatives for researchers” took place on April 5th in Valencia. The aim of the meeting was to present to participants the different career paths that a scientific training and expertise can offer –from the lab to science policy, science dissemination or entrepreneurial activities. Among the around 150 attendees there were PhD students from different disciplines, post-doc researchers, university lecturers and science policy-makers. 

The conference had 5 different sessions and counted on the participation of many different experts and professionals that brought their own vision and experience. In the first session the main topic were the transferrable skills that researchers acquire while working at the lab. All experts agreed that these skills are of essence to improve inter-sectoral mobility of researchers. During the session, it was discussed how these skills must be better acknowledged in the researchers’ careers and how the institutions must offer adequate training so that researchers are fully developed and become more competitive and versatile.

The second session was devoted to project management and science policy and had different talks from experts that explained their career path and their current positions. It is worth mentioning that all the speakers mentioned multidisciplinary knowledge as a key element for their careers.

The third session was about research in the industry and the collaborations between both the public and the private sector. The speakers were researchers that had decided to start new businesses, managers and experts from national and international companies. Intra-entrepreneurship, proactivity and a diverse training were addressed as some of the capacities that are essential in the business world. They also highlighted the need to break cultural walls and prejudices to improve the collaboration between universities and companies, and the knowledge transfer and service to society. 

It was precisely the relations between science and society that were discussed in the fourth session, with a special focus on science communication and dissemination. It was agreed that a diversity of projects is needed in order to reach out society and for society to actively participate in science: from activities in museums to TV programs, concerts, exhibitions, blogs, science popular books, etc. Speakers stated that it is through science dissemination that a more educated society is achieved. They also highlighted, however, how difficult it is to professionalize the sector or to duly acknowledge these activities in the researchers’ assessment. 

Finally, there was a debate among most of the speakers and the public where issues such as multidiciplinarity and the extraordinary training of PhDs—especially when it comes to transferrable skills and how these help to move between sectors– were discussed again. 

The high number of attendees and the intense participation of the public show how important this kind of sessions are for early stage researchers. 

The session was organized by Sociedad de Científicos Retornados a España, the Fundación Ramón Areces and FECYT with the support of Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and Red de universidades valencianas para el fomento de la investigación el desarrollo y la investigación.


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