Study on the state of young scientists in all continents launched by the Global Young Academy (GYA)

Tue, January 21, 2014

Career satisfaction for scientists and scholars requires more than state-of-the-art research equipment and full access to information and resources. This is just one of the findings of the Global Young Academy (GYA) in their study “The Global State of Young Scientists” (GloSYS). The report analyses enigmas in the career trajectories of today’s generation of young scientists, such as the dissatisfaction in the cohort of German early career scholars. Although enjoying access to information and resources, German respondents appear to be amongst the most discontented compared even to their peers in the developing world. They feel the pressure of job insecurity and the lack of career prospects more strongly than anywhere else. With GloSYS the GYA identifies such current phenomena in science and also offers new perceptions of key emerging themes and future challenges. The principal investigator and GYA member Catherine Beaudry from Canada explains: “We have adopted an inclusive approach focusing on all world regions and selecting countries with different development stages. Our unique internationally comparative perspective enabled us to reflect the authentic voice and experiences of young researchers, scholars and scientists worldwide.”

In today’s knowledge-based society with a rapidly growing global science system, the GYA addressed the highly topical question: What is the state of young researchers across the world? The GYA’s GloSYS project is the first study taking into account not only the established science systems in Europe and America, but also comparing the status-quo with new and original findings on developing nations and world regions that have received little previous research attention. “Developing countries increasingly shape science and contribute to the global advancement of knowledge,” says the GYA Co-Chair Rees Kassen (Canada). “However, emerging and developing countries are still a heterogeneous group. Their science and innovation systems show a wide-ranging diversity and there is still a lack of research,” adds GYA Co-Chair Sameh Soror (Egypt). The GloSYS report is a first step towards filling this gap. Against the backdrop of a changing global research system, GloSYS provides an encompassing picture of young scholars’ status and career challenges on a global scale.

The study, authored by Catherine Beaudry (Canada) and Irene Friesenhahn (Germany), explored the concerns and opportunities for career development of young researchers. The project team collected 650 survey responses and 45 interviews with participants from all five world regions. The central findings of a precursor project and the resulting recommendations from GloSYS can serve as a basis to improve the state of young researchers throughout the world. Supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), the GloSYS study provides a framework, against which future progress can be monitored and lays the foundation for further work on the state of young scholars. The report was presented at the official launch on 21 January 2014 at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The GYA also gratefully acknowledges that in addition to the GloSYS project the BMBF lends core funding to the GYA for an initial period of three years as of January 2014. The BMBF funding ensures operation of the GYA office in Berlin, which plays a central role in coordinating the global activities of GYA members. Support for international organizations like the GYA raises the profile of science in both developed and developing countries, and places Germany at the center of a global young academy movement.

The Global Young Academy, founded in 2010, is the voice of young scientists around the world.   Members are chosen for their demonstrated excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to service. Currently there are 155 members and 63 alumni from 61 countries. The academy is hosted at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) in cooperation with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and receives seed funding from the Volkswagen Foundation as well as project support from the IAP: the Global Network of Science Academies, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Robert Bosch Foundation.

For more information on the GYA:
Rees Kassen, GYA Co-Chair (Canada);, tel: +1 613 562-5800 6978
Sameh Soror, GYA Co-Chair (Egypt);, tel: +20 1 020450512

Heidi Wedel, GYA Managing Director (Germany);, tel: +49 30 20370 631