The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy

On the importance of studying abroad among postdocs – an analysis of postdoc fellowships in Denmark

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of longer stays abroad for postdoctoral fellows funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research within the natural sciences. The analysis compares career paths and research performance for post-docs with and without a stay abroad. We look at the sectoral mobility (whether the postdoc remained in the university sector after the grant), career advancement and a number of aspects related to research performance such as productivity, citation impact, journal impact, international cooperation and international cooperation. The analysis includes postdoctoral scholarships financed by the DFF in Natural Sciences in the period 2001-2009, where we examine outcomes 6-8 years after the stay abroad. The sample includes two types of postdocs, individually funded postdoc fellowships (individual postdocs) and postdoctoral grants that are embedded in larger project grants (embedded postdocs). Overall, we find that both postdocs with and without prolonged stay abroad have fairly high research performance during and after the grant from the DFF. However, the results provide little indication that postdocs with extended stays abroad outperform postdocs with short or no stay abroad. This is also the case for
international collaboration, where we find that postdocs with longer stays abroad actually have a lower share of articles with international collaboration than for postdocs with short or no stay abroad. Productivity, measured either in terms of counts or fractional articles, is highest among postdocs with a prolonged stay abroad, while the average citation impact is highest for postdocs with little or no stay abroad. When it is
based on doctoral age instead of grant receipt, there is little difference among the two postdoc groups in the share that achieves tenure as associate professor or professor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Paris
Number of pages9
Publication year2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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