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Attitudes of PhD Holders towards the Business Sector in Hung

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Éva Pálinkó

on 20 November 2016

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Transcript of Attitudes of PhD Holders towards the Business Sector in Hung

Attitudes of PhD Holders towards the Business Sector in Hungary
'Findings of an Academic Career-path Research Project - Regarding PhD Holders' Attitudes towards the Business Sector in Hungary'
Short description of the R&D system and the actual science policy aims
Theoretical background and methodology
Main findings
Stereotypes about business sector
Career types: SSH and STEM researchers

Conceptual framework and methodology
Theoretical background
Conclusions &
Former Soviet type of science organizations were replaced with a new structure based on the EU countries’ standards and the previous national system (PhD have been introduced in 1993)
R&D structure has been changing continuously in the past 25 years - resulted in unpredictability for scholars (e.g. in grants, funding, promotion)
After the transition effective elements of the R&D structure appeared, but their operation wasn't harmonized enough for years (e.g. R&D function had dispersed in three ministries)
The National Research Development and Innovation Office (in 2016) may centralize the dispersed deputy
Beliefs and attitudes forming stereotypes
Sample: Young postdoctoral researchers in biology, 13 interviews, 2 focus groups, 2007
Labor market behavior forming career types
Sample: STEM (biology, chemistry physics, medicine) and SSH (sociology, political science, history, literature, linguistics) PhD holders, 30 interviews, max. age 40 years, 2012.

Science policy organizations
Science Policy aims
Policy making processes, science and research policy documents and aims were overly diversified because of the continuous organizational changes in the past 25 years

Since 2011 the importance of the reinforcement of the research community with young scientist has become recognized and is still a policy goal (Report to the Hungarian National Assembly on the Activities of the HAS and on the General Situation of Hungarian Science, 2013, National Science-development and Innovation Strategy 2013-2020.)

R&D background organizations and strategic documents are focusing mostly on STEM research as the key of economic growth

In the actual national and EU science policy documents regarding Hungary there are clear aims:
One of the most dominant, recognizable goals is to
accelerate the collaboration between the academic and business sector (
Csite et al 2013)
Research institutions
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) still is the most respectful platform of sciences in Hungary with various research groups in all scientific fields. Governmental research units are nearly equal to HAS institutions. The number of the state-run research units, after a long stagnation in 2012, decreased drastically in connection with the reorganization of the HAS institutions

The number of the higher educational research units has continuously been shrinking in the last decade

By 2012 in Hungary the corporate sector operates the greatest number of research units (KSH 2014)
After the democratic transformation the number of researcher positions decreased drastically, mostly in the industry. Around 1996 the correction began and is still ongoing.
The trend of the last decade is that the traditionally relatively high number of academic, governmental and higher educational researchers is stagnating and the number of the researchers in the business sector is growing.
In 2006 the number of full time equivalent business enterprise researchers exceeded both the number of academic and higher education researchers (KSH 2014)..
The institution of tenure is common in Hungary, but the promotion had been incalculable for years after the transition, and still limited for young scholars. 2012: compulsory retirement for senior scholars above 70 years.

There is a linear relationship between seniority and pay in the public servant salary system for academic positions in Hungary. Performance differences just have appeared sporadically at the governmental and higher education institutions.

Academic researchers

are paid below the average of the researchers of the business sector in Hungary.

are paid far below the average of the international wage (e.g. EU15) .
Some features of the academic sector
The study focuses on the
organizational dimension
of the academic career (Glaser, J., Laudel G., 2015)

The organizational career – path research maps the scholars’
beliefs, attitudes, intentions
towards the business sector and their
on the labor market (Fishbein Ajzen 1975).
Research design
Findings based mostly on qualitative partly on quantitative data

Explorations not measures
relevant results on attitudes according to career types

Suitable for developing directions and hypotheses for further systematic researches
Basic phase
Career Path Research among Young PhD holders in Biology 11 semi-structured interviews, 2 narrative life story interviews, 2 focus groups and a survey (N=102) , 2007.
Second phase
Career Path Research of Scholars with STEM (biology, chemistry physics, medicine) and SSH (sociology, political science, history, literature, linguistics) PhD, 30 semi-structured interviews, max. age 40 years, 2012.
Third phase
Career Path Monitor among research group leaders and members funded by the Lendület (Momentum) Programme (assorted STEM and SSH fields, max. age 45 years); online survey (N=190), 2014.
Structural frames

The R&D system and the science policy goals in Hungary
Young biologists had a negative stereotype about the jobs in the business sector:
‘not requiring any creativity’
This may root on the traditional
intellectual role interpretation (mission)
according to the common values in the higher education
(Palló 2009)
Three substantial dimensions
• Tasks -
Creativity, and meaningfulness
• Working environment -
Motivating, with inspiring colleagues and satisfying infrastructure
• Salary -
Be able to live on without problems
Values researchers are searching for
Ambition: Keep these at a consistently high level

often: according to the public salary system - their wage reference is international (EU15)
sporadically: by institutional circumstances
SSH careers
STEM careers
'Multidirectional career'

Career stories draw out project-oriented careers
based on a fix academic position
moving across the boundaries of different sectors, organizations and even topics
'Linear career'
(Arthur and Rousseau 1996, Baruch 2004)
(Baruch 2004)
Researchers refuse business sector positions because the previously mentioned stereotypes and the limited possibilities to publish.

Have no complementary part time jobs or other projects at all

Strategy against the inconsistency:
apply for
research grants in their field of science, or
post-doctoral or tenure status abroad
There are huge differences between SSH and STEM researchers career path strategies and attitudes towards the business sector

Further research:
To what extent are the negative stereotypes able to influence the level of brain drain in STEM? Could the business sector offer a remedy for this problem?

What are the effects of the multidirectional and the linear careers on scientific productivity and the knowledge transfer processes between academic and business sector?

What is the role of tertiary education in ‘career imprinting’ (Higgins 2005) and the common values among scholars?

Systematic measures of the attitudes in particular types of business-academy collaboration is needed.
STEM scientists prefer foreign academic positions to business and enterprises researcher jobs in Hungary
... of the academic researchers towards different positions (e.g. business sector jobs) were tested finally in special labor market situations
Questionnaires among Momentum group leaders and members, N=190
Career typology
... based on previous and actual labor market
revealed by the semi structured career-path interviews

Focus on the organizational dimension
In the second phase of the research, among SSH and STEM researchers
Beliefs, attitudes and intentions...
... towards the academic and business sector were directly examined through the narratives of the interviewees' career stories
In the very first phase of the research among PhD holders in Biology
Researchers with PhD degree are underrepresented in the business enterprise sector
Their ratio in the government sector is very high in an international comparison (EUROSTAT 2009)
Doctorate Holders Working as Researchers by Sector of Performance (% of Total Doctorate Holders Employed as Researchers)
Funded under the IMPACT – EV FP7 collaborative grant agreement (nº613202), and NKFI Hivatal K 116163
Pálinkó Éva, MTA KIK TTO, Hungary
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