A PhD... and after?

Clarisse Faria-Fortecoëf

(Pour consulter cet article en français, cliquez ici)

A dossier of Découvrir, a magazine of the Acfas - a non-profit organization which aims at promoting research and innovation and scientific culture in Quebec and the Francophone world - published in September, 2015.

Launched in a digital format in 2011, Découvrir is a space for researchers wanting to share reflections on the research status or wishing to present their work outcomes in an accessible language. It is also intended for all of those who wish to exchange with researchers or to communicate their thoughts around knowledge challenges.

The latest publication is a special issue devoted to the after PhD.

You will find among others, the testimony of researchers on their doctoral experience around three questions:
  1. What were your expectations before or at the beginning of the PhD?
  2. What are your conclusions today?
  3. Which advice would you give to students who are considering a PhD or who start their career?
Thus, Aude Motulsky, Public Health PhD of the University of Montreal and postdoc at the University of McGill, said about her expectations that "The result, THE thesis is a very little thing compared to what one had in mind. But the process is more important than the outcome...".

For Jean Frédéric Ménard, PhD student at the Faculty of Law, University College London, it is important to develop links with other PhD students and more experienced researchers, organizing or attending scientific events.

Jean-François Lessard, Philosophy Professor at the Cégep André-Laurendeau and lecturer in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal, advises students who come to see him and are not sure of their motivation to make a Ph.D., to take their time to carefully think about that.

According to Marise Ouellet, PhD in Linguistics with specialization in phonetics and Permanent Secretary to Studies and Research commissions of Laval University, one undertakes a PhD by personal interest and this requires passion and perseverance.
The relevance and interest of the research topic are fundamental elements of this process but not an end in itself. It is also, and perhaps more, a springboard of personal and professional realization and development.

Marc Daniel, economic journalist, considers the French context with his paper Docteurs en science cherchent entreprises : le cas de la France (Science PhDs seek companies…), whose original version was published in spring 2014 in the CNRS le journal No. 276.
If the occupational integration of PhDs in the private sector is not obvious in France, things seem to change and "more and more companies hire doctors, especially SMEs, and we publish very good offers", as specifies Vincent Mignotte, ABG's Director. This latter also adds that "a young researcher who made basic research legitimately wonders what he can bring to a company. Acquired methods and skills, technical and human, are the researcher's asset, far more than his thesis". Among posted ads, one can observe at ABG, the emergence of consulting, expertise, or technology watch jobs.

Furthermore, Découvrir magazine invites you to submit your thoughts and experiences on its website by answering the following question :

Comment se préparer à œuvrer aussi hors de l'université ? (How also to be ready to work outside the university?)

Extracts will be published in the October issue.