Aarhus University Seal

NorDoc PhD Summit: From PhD to job market

Today, two out of three PhD graduates find employment outside the universities. This places new demands on the PhD students as they now have to think much more about alternative career paths. The transition from a PhD degree programme to the job market is therefore the theme this August when Health hosts a Scandinavian PhD general meeting. And there are still places available.

How do my job opportunities look with a PhD degree? How do I bring my academic skills into play outside the university? These are some of the questions PhD students ask themselves, because a PhD degree does not necessarily lead to a research career at the university – and this is in fact more often the exception rather than the rule.

When the Graduate School at Health hosts the Scandinavian PhD general meeting NorDoc PhD Summit 2019 this summer, the focal point will therefore be the less subject-specific skills that PhD students bring with them when looking for a job. According to e.g. the pharmaceutical industry, this is something that many PhD students should learn.

“It’s essential that the PhD students realise that they won’t be employed on the basis of precisely the particularly topic that their PhD deals with or the specific knowledge that they have acquired within a very narrow field. What we look at instead is the more general box of tools they bring with them. This comprises various areas of knowledge, experiences and technical skills that enable them to work in many different fields. Understanding what they have to offer in this toolbox and how to communicate it is the key to landing a job in the industry,” says Henning Hellesøe Dall, Director, CMC Development, R&D, Novo Nordisk A/S.

Communicate your competences

This view is shared by Professor, Department Chair Lars Østergaard, who is also Head Consultant at Aarhus University Hospital. He emphasises that although academic quality is a central factor, employers also look at other competences when hiring a PhD graduate.

"It's clear that as a PhD student you learn how to do research, but it's not enough to be an expert in a single area. Knowledge needs to be applicable in practice and that demands other competences than being able to calculate a p-value. It’s therefore important to be able to communicate your competences and, for example, to tailor your CV to the career path that you hope to follow,” says Lars Østergaard from the Department of Clinical Medicine.

Until 23 June, it is possible to secure a place for this year's NorDoc PhD Summit which will be held in Aarhus between 29-30 August 2019. The programme includes many speakers from the healthcare sector, business and industry and academia, including:

  • Bodil Øster, Senior Medical Genomics Scientist, Qiagen
  • Mandana Ghisari, Pediatric Research Scientist, Arla
  • Eske Willerslev, DNA researcher, Director, Centre of Excellence, Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen
  • Morten Sodemann, Clinical Professor, University of Southern Denmark.

All of the faculty's PhD students, postdocs and supervisors are invited to participate.
Register for the event or read more about the NorDoc PhD Summit

Watch Eske Willerslev talk about the NorDoc Summit 2019 on Health’s LinkedIn page.

The NorDoc collaboration in brief:

  • NorDoc is a network of nineteen health science research programmes from the Nordic countries.
  • The network was founded in 2016 and its main activity is the annual NorDoc PhD Summit, where PhD students, postdocs and supervisors from all the partner universities are invited to a two-day meeting to exchange ideas and experiences.
  • The NorDoc PhD Summit 2019 is the third of its kind and will be held in Aarhus between 29-30 August, 2019.