Survey of NSERC grad students

So, I was recently contacted to fill out a survey by NSERC because I had just finished receiving one of their post graduate scholarships. This scholarship is known generally as an NSERC (for the natural sciences). If I was in the social sciences, I could have applied for a SSERC, which is the equivalent. Both are great scholarships to receive, as they carry a pretty good value and are somewhat prestigious (debatable).

Anyway, the survey was NSERC attempting to collect some data on the graduate students. Asking questions like how did the scholarship improve my experience and did I publish. But, the really interesting part of this (and why I’m even writing this post) is that at the end of the survey, you were able to see a summary of the results from people who have completed the survey (which has worked out to be almost 12000 based on the numbers I’m seeing).

So, of course, I was thinking of all of you (well and some of my friends on campus) and saved the results as a pdf. You can find them here.

The results are kind of messy, because they asked, as an open ended question:

What are your ultimate career aspirations? Please provide a job title and the sector of employment.

And, of course, people would answer the same job, with a variety of versions of the title (including mis-spelling it). So there are answers like “academic job” and “professor” and “academic faculty” and so on. Then, as this is Canada and we have to official languages, there are answers in french. πŸ˜› However, the one thing that happened when I saved it to a pdf, is it didn’t save all those responses. Every question was trimmed to one page. 😦 Although, while it’s 63 pages long, I wasn’t asked most of the questions (so I’m guessing there’s huge variance – depending on where you are (finished or still in progress) when asked).

Also, because of the number of responses they have, they must be compiling responses going back close to 10 years! This is based on a count of about 1600 scholarships (Masters, PhD, Post-Doc) in 2012. And 12000 / 1600 is about 7.5 – but likely not everyone responds.

So, what are some interesting results? I’m not to sure, because I haven’t had a lot of time to actually give spend enough time looking at it all that closely. There’s also results like the following – and good luck knowing what they were actually asking. And what the responses were.



There’s this one, which is kind of interesting, as to where people think they’ll work when they finish.

Where do you want to work?

Where do you want to work?

I’m pretty sure I was asked about when I thought I’d finish – but I can’t find anything in the results about that. And I’m not sure if it was actually collecting information on how long, or just how close to finishing.

Anyway, take a look through the results if you feel like it. Let me know if you notice something interesting. πŸ™‚


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