Professionalisation of Research: Organisational Hybridisation and Professional Trajectories and Identities

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Luisa VELOSO, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
Carlos Manuel GONCALVES, Faculdade de Letras - Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Noemia LOPES, Escola Superior de Saúde Egas Moniz, Portugal
The present paper develops an approach on the professionalisation of research in Portugal in different organisational contexts: research laboratories and companies. In the first ones, it discusses the increasingly precarious working conditions and career instability, translated into a gradual deterioration of the research career which co-exists with the growing difficulty of accessing a stable professional situation in the labour markets and, hence, having expectations for career advancement. Inside companies, particularly in the domain of Research and Development (R&D) activities, the analysis focus on highly qualified professionals with non precarious situations, whose activities demands the development of research procedures, albeit with different configurations of the first ones, as the last ones are oriented to the application of new or renewed knowledge to technological solutions (applied research). Both organizational contexts share two characteristics: i) research activities are developed within  science and technology projects (S&T), developed in temporary work teams; ii) research activities, with different configurations, is a common parameter, promoting a reflection on the professionalisation of research. Understanding these professionalisation trends, requires an analysis of: the professional careers and their objective settings, external and internal to the organisational context; work content; and professional identities. The analysis is part of a research on science and innovation networks in which it was adopted an ethnographic approach in two companies in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the energy sector in and two research laboratories in the fields of biology and chemistry. Seven S&T projects were studied, including interviews, documentary analysis and direct observation.