On December 7th, WASP arranged its second Virtual Job Fair where leading companies from different industry segments engaged in discussions about their research and career opportunities in Sweden with WASP PhD Students.
The main topic of the event was “Life in Sweden after the PhD”. It was highlighted from different perspectives through talks and a panel discussion. A recurring theme in the talks was the need to overcome the academy-industry gap, both real and perceived.
Prof Joakim Nivre, Uppsala University, spoke on the topic You and Your Career and meant that students don’t have to choose either an academic or a corporate career. However exchange between the two sectors remains relatively low today as there has been a mutual lack of appreciation for qualifications in both sectors. PhDs might previously have been deemed overqualified for industry in Sweden, and corporate experience has not been as regarded in evaluations for academic positions. This is something that WASP partners can contribute to change.
Knowledge transition and mutual understanding of the academic and industrial environments are crucial elements in the WASP Research Arenas (WARAs). Johanna Björklund, project manager WARA Media & Language and Jesper Tordenlid, project manager WARA Public Safety presented their respective WARA and talked about what values participation can give. As a PhD student you gain understanding of industrial needs and get to see your research in a real-world setting. Participating as a company support the overall innovation capacity of the company and gives an excellent network for future recruitment.
The panel discussion focused on personal experiences of choosing career paths in academia and industry. The panel consisted of WASP alumni, WASP assistant professors and Swedish industry. One panelist was PhD Anastasiia Varava, now at SEB. She initially had a strong will to stay in academia and to contribute to science. Work life experience then led her to see that there are a lot of unsolved problems in industry, and that academic problem-solving skills are needed there. Thus, her long-term career ambition is bridging the industry-academy gap.
Over 50 meetings between WASP PhD students and industry representatives took place during the afternoon, and they proved to be very appreciated. The short format of 15 minutes for each meeting gave everyone the opportunity to gain several new contacts.
WASP will onwards consider the opinions collected from the event evaluation as we plan for future events to support continuous relation building between academia and industry.
Published: January 19th, 2022