Cohort study takes a closer look at research careers

What paths do the careers of researchers take once they have requested SNSF funding? A longterm study seeks to shed light on this question.

The SNSF invests more than 200 million francs per year in the promotion of outstanding young researchers. SNSF funding allows them to independently pursue their research interests for several years.

More needs-based funding

But what do these researchers do once their SNSF grant has ended? Do men and women tend to have different career paths? How does SNSF funding affect their career progression? "The study should help us to obtain more precise answers to these questions," says Marcel Kullin, head of the Careers division of the SNSF. "Based on this information, we will be able to further finetune our career funding schemes to the needs of researchers."

Annual survey of all applicants

The Career Tracker cohorts (or SNSF-CTC) will start in October 2018 with a ten-year timeline. During this period, they will keep track of the career paths of postdocs who submit applications for the funding schemes Ambizione, Eccellenza, Early Postdoc.Mobility, PostdocMoblity or PRIMA. The study will be conducted by a project team based at the University of Bern. Each year it will carry out an online survey among all new and former applicants. "This will allow us to compare the careers of postdocs who were awarded funding with those of postdocs whose applications were rejected by the SNSF," says Marcel Kullin.

Wide-ranging careers

But the SNSF funding schemes do not only support careers in academia. Many grantees who are able to carry out their own project or embark on a fellowship thanks to SNSF career funding are later employed as highly qualified professionals by private businesses, or in the public administration or the education sector. The study will provide important insights into a wide range of different career paths.

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