Reform PhD training


These days, there’s barely a world leader who doesn’t talk up science. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the star turn at the annual Indian Science Congress, held this month in Nagpur, where he exhorted the nation’s researchers to do the science needed to make India self-reliant. At last October’s landmark Communist Party congress, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping set out his vision of how science and innovation could drive growth. And last August, US President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which unlocks US$13.2 billion for semiconductor research and workforce development, in a bid to maintain the country’s technological primacy.

In each case, the message to researchers is crystal clear: leaders see science as essential to national prosperity, well-being and, of course, competitiveness. So, is research fit for the challenge of advancing, refining or critiquing these goals? Not exactly. And it won’t be until there is fundamental reform to the gateway to a research career: PhD training.

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