March 3 – U.S. and Foreign STEM PhD’s: Jobs and Workforce (Mis)Matches – CCIS Seminar

CCIS Winter Seminar Series
U.S. and Foreign STEM PhD’s:
Job Preferences, Job Availability and Workforce (Mis)Matches


Please join Michael Roach & discussant Kim Barrett, Dean of Graduate Studies at UCSD for this illuminating seminar on immigration and the state of the STEM PhD workforce.Debates regarding immigration reform have highlighted the widening imbalance between the public and private sector STEM PhD workforce. Some argue that the growing number of STEM PhD’s has made it increasingly difficult for graduates to find desirable jobs, forcing them to pursue temporary postdoctoral positions or employment in the private sector in lieu of more preferred faculty careers.On the other hand, there is a rising chorus from both policy makers and firms over the need for a larger STEM PhD workforce in the private sector, with some looking toward immigration reform as an immediate means to satisfy the growing demand for highly skilled workers through the hiring of foreign-born doctorates.Despite the importance of STEM PhD’s to all sectors of the U.S. economy, there is surprisingly little empirical evidence on the drivers of STEM PhDs’ initial career choices. This talk will present new findings from micro panel survey data on the role of career preferences, ability, and labor market conditions in shaping the career choices of recent STEM PhD graduates. These data not only document the potential (mis)match between PhDs’ preferred careers and their actual career outcomes, but they also provide insights into which individuals may be more responsive to policies encouraging private sector employment.

michael_roachMichael Roach is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His research investigates the research activities and career choices of science and engineering PhD’s, with a particular emphasis on the role of graduate students and faculty in the commercialization of university research and academic entrepreneurship. He also examines the impact of university research on firm innovation and firm patenting strategies.


kim_barretKim Barrett joined the faculty of UCSD School of Medicine in 1985, and rose to her current rank of Professor of Medicine in 1996. Her research interests center on the normal and abnormal biology of the intestinal epithelium and their relevance to a variety of digestive diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases, infectious diarrheal diseases, and peptic ulcer disease. She has received a number of honors for her research, including the Bowditch and Davenport Lectureships of the American Physiological Society, and being awarded the degree of Doctor of Medical Science, honoris causa, by Queens University Belfast. She is also the author or editor of several books and monographs and almost two hundred peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reviews. In 2006, she was appointed as Dean of Graduate Studies at UCSD.

*Please feel free to bring a lunch.

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