Science & Education

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 2427–2441 | Cite as

Eco-Driven Chemical Research in the Boundary Between Academia and Industry

PhD Students’ Views on Science and Society
  • Jesper Sjöström


This paper examines and discusses the views on science and society held among PhD students working in two different industrially and environmentally driven research programmes in the broad area of green chemistry. It is based on thirteen in-depth interviews. The analysis shows three main ways of handling the situation as “post-academic” PhD student: (1) the student sees the PhD work mainly as a job and does not reflect about his/her research or the research funding, (2) the student is satisfied with the post-academic situation, accepts the established innovation policy discourse and is sceptical to traditional academic research, and (3) the student sees collaborative research programmes as a way to get funding, which can be used for secretly done basic research. Most PhD students either emphasise usefulness—in line with the dominating research policy discourse—or they adopt the positivistic view of science as objective and independent of the surrounding society. However, there are only a few signs of “double problematisation”, that is a critical view where both disciplinary-oriented and industry-dependent research are problematised.


Critical Thinking Academic Freedom Financial Type Ecological Modernisation Industry Collaboration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Valuable comments from the anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. Furthermore, Mikael Klintman and Mats Benner at the Research Policy Institute, Lund University and Lena Hansson at Kristianstad University are acknowledged for valuable comments on previous drafts of the manuscript. Financial support from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Sciences, Environment and Society, Faculty of Education and SocietyMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden

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