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Eurogates

The Netherlands: brain drain

4 April 2006, 00:59

Half of all young researchers want to go abroad once they’ve finished their PhD or postgraduate studies. They see it as a necessary step because of the lack of career opportunities in the Netherlands.

Half of all young researchers want to go abroad once they’ve finished their PhD or postgraduate studies. They see it as a necessary step because of the lack of career opportunities in the Netherlands.

This was the conclusion of a study conducted on behalf of two Dutch bodies representing PhD and other postgraduate students (Promovendi Netwerk Nederland, PNN, and the Landelijke Postdoc Platform, LPP).

PhD students consider their options at Dutch universities to be rather bleak. They hope that universities in other countries will offer them better prospects. Three out of ten PhD students and one in ten postgraduate students said that they definitely wanted to go abroad.

Almost half (46%) of young academics would consider a position at a foreign university if career opportunities or a permanent post at a Dutch university were to prove unforthcoming. A clear majority of researchers thought they were suitable for an international career.

According to Derek Jan Fikkers, President of PNN, the biggest obstacle for academics in the Netherlands is the lack of career advancement opportunities at universities. “Dutch universities are greying enormously, so there’s barely any room for young researchers.” He also believes that experience abroad can be valuable, but is worried that young academics might never return to the Netherlands, and so we would lose talent.

This is a shame, especially because most young academics said they would like to stay on at a Dutch university after they complete their research. Six out of ten PhD students and eight out of ten postgraduates would prefer to take up a post at a university. They enjoy the research freedom, the intellectual challenge and the degree of independence they offer.Read more about doing Phd studies in the Netherlands and see the list of PhD programmes in Eurogates' database.

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