Research Ecosystems & Postgraduate Pathways
A major component of the Futures Initiative will be the development of a research project to examine research ecosystems and postgraduate pathways. We will investigate the changing career opportunities available for PhDs as well as the impact those changes have on research within and beyond the academy. Academic research in all disciplines is affected by the career decisions that emerging scholars make. The increasing reliance on contingent labor, the appeal of industry jobs for scientists and technologists, and the growing importance of public engagement all affect the future of academic research, undergraduate teaching, and mentorship. However, the impact of adjunct labor is typically examined separately from other factors related to career choice, and most existing research elides the ways that these elements play out differently in various fields. At the Futures Initiative, we recognize that all of these factors—adjunctification, increasing emphasis on industry and “alternative academic” careers, and the growing importance of public engagement—all affect one another and cannot be fully understood in isolation. We hope that by examining these complex question in relation to one another and across disciplines, we will be able to see patterns that are not apparent when focusing on a smaller subset of the academic landscape.