Drawing upon the knowledge and experiences of the global network of GYA members, the GYA conducted a novel international pilot study to collect evidence of barriers and facilitators to the early research careers of scientists and scholars around the world. A report was generated through a literature review, followed by an online survey (n=650), and subsequent individual semi-structured interviews (n=45). The study identified global trends affecting the early careers of young scientists and scholars, including issues pertaining to support structures and mentorship, training, work-life balance, and gender disparities. The literature review exposed the lack of comparable data across different regions. The GloSYS pilot study provided an important systematic overview of the diverse state of young scholars across the world.
The report received widespread media coverage in high-profile journals and magazines, such as Nature, Science, and Times Higher Education online. Interest in the report also led to invitations to share the findings at international and national meetings. GYA members presented the GloSYS report to both young scientists and members of senior academies at the First Africa Young Academies Regional Conference, and to a group of human resource experts from the German national research organizations (Arbeitskreis Karrieremanagement in den außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen). The report was also discussed at the annual Society of Research into Higher Education meeting.
The central findings and recommendations of the GloSYS study have already influenced science policy at the national and international level. In Thailand, for instance, the findings motivated the launch of a new mentoring program for recently graduated academics from overseas. In Africa, the GloSYS report motivated the development of the Africa Science Leadership Program (ASLP, see below). Presentation of the GloSYS results and recommendations by GYA members at GRC (Global Research Council) regional meetings influenced the “Shaping the Future” GRC policy statement, adopted in 2014.
GloSYS Regional Studies
Results from the GloSYS precursor study show that the current knowledge on the state of young scientists is incomplete and geographically biased with knowledge primarily produced in Europe and North America. Thus building on the precursor study, the GloSYS working group has started regional GloSYS studies, including a ‘GloSYS ASEAN’ and a ‘GloSYS Africa’ regional study. The simultaneous work on two GloSYS regional studies provides synergies, e.g. the development of a framework for the regional studies. These regional studies intend to provide internationally comparable data on the state of young scientists in these understudied regions, while remaining open to specific interests of regional partners and potential donors.
During 2015, the GloSYS ASEAN project is gathering data from young scholars in four countries across Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) and will produce a report. The GloSYS Africa regional study has received core-funding and is starting in late 2015.
The study, authored by Catherine Beaudry (Canada) and Irene Friesenhahn (Germany), explores 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 the precursor study and the recommendations from the GYA based on these findings can serve as a basis to improve the state of young researchers throughout the world.
Humboldt-Kosmos Magazine reports about the State of Young Scientists in their January 2016 issue and quotes the findings of the GloSys Study.