Many early-career researchers have both skills and education to succeed in academia. However, not all of them are lucky enough to land into their dream positions. So, how long can they wait? How do they earn money during this period of waiting? This is where Amélie Bigorgne, a French immunologist, comes in, with her idea of COOPETIC-Recherche. It is an employment platform beyond academia.
Motivation behind COOPETIC-Recherche
Amélie Bigorgne always wanted to secure a job at the French National Institute of Health and Medicine (INSERM). But she could not get through in the very first attempt. That was the time she realized the difficulties that early-career scientists face in securing a position in academia. It is this same realization that pushed Bigorgne to launch COOPETIC Recherche. It is a platform where scientists like her can collaborate and help each other towards similar professional goals.
Bigorgne met Anita Protopappas, who was then launching a platform for freelance information and media professionals. This platform, known as COOPETIC, helped academics sell their services to clients. When they both collaborated, they decided to launch a platform that gives researchers more benefits compared to those outside the cooperative. This became the main objective of COOPETIC-Recherche.
A Source of Employment
Many researchers struggle with finding employment within academia. Recognizing this struggle, COOPETIC-Recherche is a coalition designed for researchers. According to COOPETIC-Recherche, their goal is to “bring together researchers, engineers, and laboratory technician contractors exercising their profession, developing their own skills and expertise and initiating new and innovative research projects in various fields such as biology, computer science, social science, and ecology.”
Membership in COOPETIC-Recherche is better than the freelance work which scientists are bound to do. According to Bigorgne, COOPETIC-Recherche allows scientists to have a professional status close to “salaried entrepreneurs.” It is an excellent platform for researchers seeking an employment status outside academia. Through this platform, members receive a legal status, contractor employee status if permitted, frameworks to develop skills, individual or collective support, and management of account as well as a strong relationship with the administration.
Besides these, finding employment in COOPETIC-Recherche is also easier because they already have pre-defined roles (i.e. consulting, building project and research, realization of a research project, preparation and distribution of results, etc.).
Benefits of COOPETIC-Recherche
There are some benefits in joining the cooperative. They are as follows:
- Simplifies scientific employment: COOPETIC-Recherche liaisons between academic research and businesses in order to bring together skills and expertise needed by businesses
- Mutualizes the fields of researchers who are creating their own projects together with the collaboration on research projects
- Provides security and independence to contractors: It gives the researchers a specific status to support the development of their activities
- Facilitates innovation because it emphasizes skills that are adapted for both private and public research
In addition to these, researchers can reclaim their skills and expertise in science. These skills are put to good use within and outside the academe. Entrepreneurial skills develop while fostering creativity.
This is an employment platform beyond academia. Some researchers may want to avail alternative careers that PhD graduates should explore, that go beyond the academic platform. There are other initiatives in the field of research that are similar to COOPETIC-Recherche. These initiatives aim to provide scientists, especially early-career scientists, with opportunities to grow professionally and to gain experience and credentials. One of these is INSERM, mentioned previously, which was founded in 1964. It focuses entirely on human health and is responsible for the scientific, strategic, and operational research by collaboration. The key role of INSERM is to coordinate its scientific teams. They also have the ability to conduct translational research. A position at INSERM will allow researchers to gain feedback from their work. It also helps researchers realize there is a broader strategy related to organizational research. A scientific area can also be pursued to match the organization’s strategic priorities.
Another example is the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program. It is administered by AusIndustry, which is a division that is under the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science in Australia. The CRC program aims to encourage high-quality research to find solutions to problems identified by the industry through outcome-focused research. The CRC is composed of two funding streams: one of them being CRCs, that exist to support long-term and medium-term collaborative research led by the industry. The other funding source is the CRC Projects (CRC-P) that support collaborations led by industries but only for short-term.
Clearly, initiatives such as those mentioned can help early-career researchers gain a foothold in the academic community. COOPETIC-Recherche is a plausible stepping stone that increases exposure, skills, and academic expertise. Therefore, more funding and attention should be provided to encourage such initiatives.
For a successful PhD, make sure your manuscript is flawless. Would you like to join any such platform to explore your research skills and expertise after your PhD? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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