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Friday, June 26, 2015

Queen Mary University of London considers making PhD students employees

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"Importance of doctoral candidates in research makes it likely that many institutions will make the change, says principal." summarizes Holly Else.


A research-intensive university is having preliminary discussions about changing the status of its PhD students.
Photo: Professor Simon Gaskell

Simon Gaskell, principal of Queen Mary University of London, said that the institution is considering whether PhD students might be counted as employees in the future.

He said that it was “extremely likely” that some universities may make changes of this type in the next decade or so.

But academics have raised concerns about the idea, which they say could “prolong the agony” for early career researchers who may still struggle to find future academic positions.

At the majority of universities in the UK, PhD candidates are treated as students, but in some institutions, usually those that are not research intensive, individuals may be taken on as research assistants and work towards a PhD. However, PhD candidates are considered employees in many other European countries.

Professor Gaskell said that at Queen Mary almost half the research outputs submitted to the research excellence framework in the areas of medicine and dentistry had PhD students as first authors.

Source: Times Higher Education