NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 42

by Eva Maria Heim, Sonja Engelage, Anne B. Zimmermann, Karl Herweg, Claudia Michel, Thomas Breu
Bern, NCCR North-South 2012

Where are they now? After a decade of investment in capacity development of Southern PhD students, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South wanted to find out what had become of its alumni. The findings were surprising, and contradicted the widespread assumption that a research programme such as this perpetuates a class of elites in the South by enabling only students from higher social strata to further consolidate their favourable position in society. A survey of 83 former PhD students clearly showed that the NCCR North-South has given people in disadvantaged positions in developing countries a chance to advance their careers. Obtaining a PhD produced a career boost among alumni in the South. Most crucially, the NCCR North-South did not contribute to the phenomenon of brain drain: more than 90% of Southern alumni questioned were working in a Southern country. Moreover, the majority of alumni in the North and South continued to work in a field related to sustainable development.

Heim EM, Engelage S, Zimmermann AB, Herweg K, Michel C, Breu T. 2012. Tracking Alumni Career Paths: Third NCCR North-South Report on Effectiveness.NCCR North-South Dialogue 42. Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


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