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Analysis of graduate careers shows that the disciplinary and collaborative nature of the PhD is strongly deterministic of the nature of future work (Table 3). Graduates who conducted cross-disciplinary research for their PhD seem to continue to work in this way in their future careers. Prior studies have suggested that interdisciplinary research can be detrimental for academic career progression for young scientists because it takes longer for researchers to establish themselves (Rhoten & Parker, 2004; Pfirman & Martin, 2010) but also positively correlated with continuing to work in academia after the PhD and the number of publications produced (Millar, 2013). Empirical data from this study can only comment on the immediate career opportunities for recent graduates but show that 10 out of 19 graduates have taken up academic positions. Interestingly, the majority of mono-disciplinary graduates are from the field of structural mechanics. This suggests that these researchers either see less opportunity to work with researchers from other research fields within the Programme or see less benefit from cross-disciplinary research for their future careers.

Table 3.

Career destinations of graduates (Cross-disc = multi- or interdisciplinary; Mono-disc = within single research field). Nature of current position based on post-doc publications or graduate questioning (Res man = Resource management; Str mech = Structural mechanics).

StudentPhD primary disciplineCurrent employmentNature of PhD (based on publications)Nature of current position
1. Hydrogeology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
2. Hydrogeology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
3. Hydrology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
4. Hydrology Lecturer, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
5. Hydrology Researcher, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
6. Remote sensing Post-doc researcher, International research centre Cross-disc Cross-disc 
7. Remote sensing Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Cross-disc 
8. Res man Researcher, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
9. Res man Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
10. Water quality Programme manager, International non-governmental organisation Cross-disc Cross-disc 
11. Water quality Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
12. Water quality Agriculturalist, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
13. Water quality Researcher, Governmental organisation Cross-disc Cross-disc 
14. Hydrology Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Mono-disc 
15. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
16. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
17. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
18. Str mech Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Mono-disc 
19. Aquatic microbiology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Mono-disc 
StudentPhD primary disciplineCurrent employmentNature of PhD (based on publications)Nature of current position
1. Hydrogeology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
2. Hydrogeology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
3. Hydrology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
4. Hydrology Lecturer, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
5. Hydrology Researcher, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
6. Remote sensing Post-doc researcher, International research centre Cross-disc Cross-disc 
7. Remote sensing Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Cross-disc 
8. Res man Researcher, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
9. Res man Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
10. Water quality Programme manager, International non-governmental organisation Cross-disc Cross-disc 
11. Water quality Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Cross-disc 
12. Water quality Agriculturalist, Private sector Cross-disc Cross-disc 
13. Water quality Researcher, Governmental organisation Cross-disc Cross-disc 
14. Hydrology Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Mono-disc 
15. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
16. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
17. Str mech Consultant, Private sector Mono-disc Mono-disc 
18. Str mech Post-doc researcher, University Mono-disc Mono-disc 
19. Aquatic microbiology Post-doc researcher, University Cross-disc Mono-disc 

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