Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Research Funding and Subsequent Outcomes of Underrepresented Doctoral Students in STEM Fields

Benjamin Cerf, NWFSRDC, US Census

01/27/2017
12:30-1:30 PM PT
120 Communications

Foreign born students comprise a large share of doctoral candidates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and those who remain in the US labor market upon graduation play an important role in promoting economic growth and development in the US. Relative quality of foreign and domestic job offers, as well as the availability of H1B visas, play an important role in a person’s decision to stay in the US; however, another understudied factor may be the availability and type of federally funded research opportunities available to graduate students during their training. In addition to providing financial support and hands-on training, federal research awards help integrate students into networks of scientists. We use unique new data to examine how access to federal research funding, along with the composition of federally funded research teams, is related to the future economic outcomes of native born and foreign born STEM doctoral recipients.


Benjamin Cerf is an economist in the Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau and is also the Administrator of the Northwest Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the University of Washington. His research uses linked administrative and survey data and other big data techniques to investigate experiences of marginalized populations. In particular, Ben’s work focuses on participation in anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the demographics and labor market experiences of LGBT individuals; and the training and labor market experiences of women and foreign born students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Ben earned his PhD in economics from Simon Fraser University in 2013. He also holds an MA in economics, as well as BAs in Philosophy and Classics, all from the University of Montana.