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European Web Sites to Watch: the Association Bernard Gregory


What Is It?

The Association Bernard Gregory (ABG) was founded in 1980 to help recently qualified Ph.D.s find employment in nonacademic institutions and to promote the value of training through research among commercial enterprises. It is named after the particle physicist Bernard Gregory, former director-general of both CERN and the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who set up the working group on career opportunities for young scientists which became ABG just before his death in 1977.

What does it do?

ABG has a number of practical initiatives aimed at helping Ph.D.s present their training to employers as effectively as possible. The most relevant of these for Next Wave readers are:

Correspondents are a network of people, often in careers services in universities and research organisations, who are available as your local contact with ABG. They aim to add value to ABG's services, by talking through your career and job-hunting options. It is essential that you contact an ABG correspondent if you wish to join its CV database. The network is most extensive in France, but there are also correspondents in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. ABG hopes to extend its network to other countries in the future.

Doctoriales are 5-day seminars for Ph.D. researchers run on a regional basis throughout France. Each program allows Ph.D.s to practice working in a team whilst learning about the skills required in industry and how to market themselves to commercial employers. Visits to local companies are also included.

The New Chapter of the Thesis is ABG's most recent project, in collaboration with a number of doctoral schools. The idea is to encourage Ph.D. students to prepare themselves for life post-Ph.D., in particular by helping them to review the skills and professional know-how they have developed while carrying out research. Each student who participates in the project works with a mentor who helps them to reflect on issues such as placing their research in a wider context and the competencies they have developed in the course of their project. The chapter itself is relatively short—no more than five pages.

What does the website have to offer me?

The International Guide, available in both French and English, is a survey conducted by ABG. For each country of the European Union and outside of Europe, it gathers information relevant for job-hunting Ph.D.s. This includes sources of information on the job market, a listing of the major public sector and national research organizations, researchers’ testimonies, and advice about applying for jobs in the private sector. The information provided is quite basic, but if you're keen to find work in another country with which you're relatively unfamiliar, it is a great starting point.

Abg-jobs provides a number of ways for job seekers to access offers of employment. First of all, there is a database of available posts, accessible as separate lists for jobs in the commercial sector and jobs in academia, either in France or the rest of the world. It's not surprising that the majority of positions offered are in France or in French-speaking parts of the world, but ABG is busy expanding its network, and you can expect the number of offers from other countries to grow.