Flying the nest: how the home department shapes researchers’ career paths

Hanna Hottenrott, Cornelia Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


This paper studies the importance of the socialization environment – nest – for the career destinations of early career researchers. In a sample of research groups in the fields of science and engineering at universities in Germany, we identify research orientation, output, funding as well as openness to industry and commercialization as relevant components. Nests that attract more public funding and are led by professors with high research performance are more likely to produce researchers who take jobs in public research, while links to industry predict jobs in the private sector. In a more nuanced analysis that differentiates between types of industry employment, we find that larger firms also recruit from groups with higher scientific performance, while small and medium-sized firms recruit from nests with a higher patent productivity. A focus on experimental development instead is associated with academic start-ups, and an applied focus with employment in consulting. Recommendations for research training are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1109
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number6
Early online date5 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • academic careers
  • research funding
  • research groups
  • researcher mobility
  • science-industry technology transfer


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