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Purist or pragmatist? UK doctoral scientists’ moral positions on the knowledge economy

Hancock, S; Hughes, G; Walsh, E; (2015) Purist or pragmatist? UK doctoral scientists’ moral positions on the knowledge economy. Studies in Higher Education , 42 (7) pp. 1244-1258. 10.1080/03075079.2015.1087994. Green open access

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Abstract

Doctoral scientists increasingly forge non-academic careers after completing the doctorate. Governments and industry in advanced economies welcome this trend, since it complements the ‘knowledge economy’ vision that has come to dominate higher education globally. Knowledge economy stakeholders consider doctoral scientists to constitute particularly high-value human capital; primed to contribute to economic growth via the creation and application of scientific knowledge. Little is known, however, about doctoral scientists’ awareness of, and attitudes towards, the knowledge economy. This paper reports a study of UK doctoral scientists, which reveals that they are aware of, but ideologically divided towards, the knowledge economy. The knowledge economy relates to their scientific motivations, values and aspirations in complex ways. Four moral positions emerge, ranging from ‘anti’ to ‘pro’ knowledge economy. We discuss the characteristics of each moral position, concluding with the need for doctoral scientists to adopt better informed and more flexible professional outlooks.

Type: Article
Title: Purist or pragmatist? UK doctoral scientists’ moral positions on the knowledge economy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1087994
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1087994
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Society for Research into Higher Education. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 11 November 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03075079.2015.1087994
Keywords: Doctorate, knowledge economy, science careers, postgraduates, academic identity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499328
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