Early-career researchers can shape the future of academia — R Voice

Early-career researchers can shape the future of academia

Kakoli Majumder
Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 251 admin
edited April 2021 in Everything & Anything

This piece gives me renewed hopes about the future of academia - it's so wonderful to learn that early-career researchers are increasingly getting into decision-making roles. The article explains how doctoral students and postdocs are joining advisory boards, oversight councils and conference-organizing committees. The article emphasizes how important it is for junior researchers to join leadership positions soon -they will bring to the table fresh perspectives and help bring about the changes they want to see in academia. Have you ever tried to get into decision-making roles? If yes, what was the route you took?


  • Mdumiseni Mazula
    Mdumiseni Mazula Member Posts: 63 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2021

    Well my answer is No, I never take but a decision is the most important thing crucial part of any managerial activity and it identify four roles which are based on different types of decisions, Namely, entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator and negotiator.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes and No.

    I dont think many Ph.Ds and Postdocs have the necessary networks/positional or even geographic stability to join advisory boards, oversight councils and conference-organizing committees. Most of these need a track record of publications and/or contacts. Or bosses who give them this role out of goodwill (or forcibly to reduce their own burden... 😂).

    In my case, once I had the positional stability, rose in the hierarchy a bit, created a track record, and consolidated my networks - I could create the opportunities or the opportunities started appearing...

    Sometimes, students and postdocs are not "permitted" to take part in organization/decion making/leadership roles due to organizational/local lab culture rules. Largely these roles are still seen as the haven for more established researchers. Some senior reserachers/PIs/bosses may even take issue if younglings just waltz their way into "decision-making roles". ;)

    However, many times Ph.Ds and postdocs are given tasks that entail being in an advisory board/councils/conference organization - more as free labor, without necessarily getting the credit. While this may not be fair - the upside is - depending on circumstances, individual postdocs and Ph.Ds can use these opportunities to network, find future collaborators, learn organization skills and get comfortable giving their views, etc. It is seen as an apprenticeship.

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 162 ✭✭✭✭

    PhDs should come forward in decision-making roles, I feel. This thought made me join the entrepreneurship workshop last year. I found out that I can go for playing such a role with proper help. The workshop gave me the moment of becoming the WING ambassador 2020, Kolkata, India. I hope I soon could find the path to implement my ideas. Besides aspiring for entrepreneurship, I always try to extend my help in academia whenever I get asked.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊