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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.136

From frustration to hope - 'emotional rollercoaster' of young scientists


  • Paweł Tomasz WITANOWSKI

Primary authors


Graduates of doctoral studies face hard choice regarding their future. They can begin building a career outside university or try to stay in academia, which usually means necessity to apply on postdoctoral researcher position to many universities and research institutes. Low number of open positions virtually precludes applying only to home university or within one country. That is often seen as being in a situation of forced mobility, which in turn leads to decreased sense of stability - not only in economic sense, but also connected with social relations and academic freedom. On the other hand it can be presented and perceived as a chance to gain experience, professional development or improving one’s social status. Such complex situation, entangled with the pressures of neoliberal academia, is a source of various emotions, often coexisting. From satisfaction, through fear, to frustration and ever prevailing hope (for gaining a position, getting grant, having paper accepted or for more stability outside academia) these emotions are not only descriptions but also important part of decision making process. Some of these decisions might not be entirely rational or concurrent with common understanding of 'best outcome', since they take root in an emotional status that individual seeks to accomplish or avoid in their future. In my presentation I would like to present these emotional aspects of situation of young scientists, on the basis of a multi-sited research I have carried out accompanying, observing and talking with PhD students and graduates in Cracow, London, Stockholm and Zurich.