Drawing upon the knowledge and experiences of the global network of GYA members, we initiated the GloSYS project by conducting a novel international pilot study. This initial study was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, and provided a systematic overview of the diverse state of young scholars across the world. The study utilized a three-pronged mixed-methods approach, 1) gathering pre-existing statistical data and conducting literature and policy analyses, 2) collecting survey data, and 3) conducting one-on-one interviews with young scientists. Through this study, we 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. Our findings were published in a report, which received widespread media coverage in high-profile journals and magazines, such as Nature, Science, and Times Higher Education. GYA members presented the GloSYS report at the First Africa Young Academies Regional Conference, and to a group of human resource experts from the German national research organizations. The report was also discussed at the annual Society of Research into Higher Education meeting.

One of the most important findings of this initial study was that most of what we know about young scientists comes from research based in OECD countries. We know relatively little about the state of young scientists in the developing world. This realization pushed the GloSYS project into its current path of conducting regional studies that aim to fill this research gap. Our first regional study, GloSYS ASEAN was co-funded by the BMBF and the Thailand’s National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Office, and explored the state of young scientists in four Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.  This project was completed in late 2016 and resulted in the publication of an extensive report, which details our findings and policy recommendations. So far, the report has received some media coverage and has been presented at several meetings.

We are currently in the process of conducting the second regional GloSYS study, GloSYS Africa. This is our biggest project to date: a total of fourteen African countries are included in the study, and we are collaborating with five external (non-GYA) regional research partners in order to carry out this ambitious research endeavor. In addition to the core themes that are explored in each GloSYS study, this research will also touch on themes of particular regional relevance, including gender in academic- and research-careers and the diaspora/brain drain. The project is funded by the BMBF and has also received financial support from the Wellcome Trust; the study is set to be completed by December 2019.

The Global State of Young Scientists in Africa Project | Global Young Academy

We are also currently working on developing a funding proposal for our next regional GloSYS study, with a focus on Latin America. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Fatima Kareem, the GloSYS Researcher.