There needs to be a change in how PhDs are assessed to promote a more positive culture for early career researchers.
Wellcome review of PhD training in biomedical research
Our review reveals high levels of satisfaction with biomedical PhD training overall, but significant levels of worry and uncertainty among students.
We're looking at how we can improve our PhD programmes in science to support a more positive research culture.
- facts and figures on UK biomedical PhD training – from how support for students can be improved, to how success is assessed
Who this is for
- PhD students, supervisors and programme directors
- research funders
- anyone interested in UK biomedical PhD training
- There have been positive system-wide changes in PhD training over the past 20 years, with programme-based funding and four-year programmes now widely adopted.
- Students supported through programme-based cohorts appear well-placed to continue a career in research, with higher retention rates than the national average for biomedical PhD graduates.
- However, there are consistent concerns around PhD training, including:
- pressure to deliver high-impact journal publications
- pressure to finish on time
- a lack of support – especially around career progression
- numerous self-reported incidences of poor mental health.
- PhD training could be improved to support a more positive research culture. We want to redesign our PhD programmes so they combine scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment for students.
- Podcast: listen to Anne-Marie Coriat talk about changing PhD culture
- More about Wellcome's work on research culture
Help us reimagine research
This article is part of our campaign to build a better research culture – one that is creative, inclusive and honest. Tell us what matters.
The new PhD programmes in science that we’re funding combine scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment for trainees.
The emphasis on excellence in the research system is stifling diverse thinking and positive behaviours. As a community we can rethink our approach to research culture.