Boost the Careers of Early-Stage Researchers
Rapport, 2020

Boosting the careers of early-stage researchers at leading research-intensive universities of S&T occurs along highly competitive and selective mechanisms. Nurturing talent for careers in science is a primary concern and interest of the institutions (institutional perspective). In chapter two, we present five tools to boost the scientific careers of early-stage researchers within universities, i.e. research-based education, research master programmes, doctoral schools, guidance to postdoctoral researchers and tenure track. Most early-stage researchers move to careers outside universities (both research and nonresearch careers). That is why we address intersectoral mobility in chapter three and present dual career paths, business start-up support and permeability programmes as tools to boost the careers of researchers who will contribute to business and industry, public services, notfor-profit organisations and society at large (societal perspective). We also address recruitment of talent from outside academia (back) into our institutions.
Transmission of transversal skills to early-stage researchers is essential to increase their employability and to make them attractive on the labour market (individual perspective). Since universities cannot predict which early-stage researcher will have what kind of career, both generic scientific skills and skills to increase employability are to be strengthened in parallel as described in chapter four.
In chapter five, we introduce metrics as a well-established and indispensable tool in the recruitment, performance assessment and career development of early-stage researchers. We thereby differentiate between common HR metrics and next-generation metrics. The tricky question, of course, is how to safeguard the career perspectives of early-stage researchers while taking into account the reality of the wide-spread usage of some conventional and
controversial metrics, such as publication in high impact journals.
In chapter six, we address guidance and support measures for early-stage researchers. Universities need to offer career development tools, equal opportunities and family-friendly environment and infrastructure and support staff.
While the chapters two to six contain our descriptions of the issues and present our findings on the tools, the final chapter seven contains concrete (hands-on) recommendations to department heads, HR professionals, university leaders and policy-makers and funders.


doctoral shools

generic skills

career suport

Human resources



Lorraine Bailey

University College Dublin

Vered Behar

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

David Bohmert


Cecilia Järbur

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Forskarstöd, bibliometri och rankning

Doris Klee

RWTH Aachen University









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