Education: The PhD Factory.

It is not unusual nowadays to encounter published papers from esteemed journals like Science or Nature, wondering about the current situation of Science PhD. Among all of those, “The PhD Factory” published by Nature in 2011 is particularly relevant and accurate in performing a comparison among systems throughout the whole world, like USA, Japan, Germany, Singapore and others.

We discover that often the desire for a larger population of highly educated scientist comes from political reasoning, aiming to a faster economic growth boosted by technological innovation. Unfortunately, it is more rarely found that governments act to create favorable conditions for such a supply of new PhD holders to enter the economic tissue and face the shrinking of academic positions.

Singapore: “I see a PhD not just as the mastery of a discipline, but also training of the mind,” says Ng. “If they later practise what they have mastered — excellent — otherwise, they can take their skill sets into a new domain and add value to it.”

USA: “It’s a waste of resources,” says Stephan. “We’re spending a lot of money training these students and then they go out and get jobs that they’re not well matched for.” [...] Some universities are now experimenting with PhD programmes that better prepare graduate students for careers outside academia.

Author of the article: Nature
Commented by: Daniele Conti


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