Should PhDs accept to have a mere student status?

Some of the rights and benefits of being considered as an employee could soon be swept from under the feet of many Dutch PhDs. A new proposal by Dutch Labour Party Minister Jet Bussemaker has reignited a long term debate on the subject. The move, backed by universities, is considered by researchers’ organisations as depriving PhDs of many rights and benefits. This shows that for every step forward in helping the working conditions of scientists —among others, through the introduction, ten years ago, of the European Charter for Researchers— it is only too easy to slide backwards, according to an opinion piece by Eurodoc president, John Peacock. Read more [...]

Does the European Researchers Charter deserve its birthday cake?

As it nears its tenth anniversary, the European Charter for Researcher has failed to be fully implemented across Europe. This disappointing state of affairs shows that there are still many ways in which the status of researchers in Europe can be improved. Yet, future improvements hinge on such documents having more binding power in the future. Read more [...]

Special Issue February: Trust

There is no better time to revisit trust issues than during a lingering recession. In such period, trust is put to the most stringent test. And those with the decision making power in the publishing industry, the wider economy, politics and policy have yet to improve their relationship to those they are trying to impress, should they finally be awarded the share of the trust they are courting. Read more [...]

Mistrust towards policy-makers, not misplaced

This opinion piece by Ann Cahill, president of the International Press Association Brussels, critiques the public’s ability to hold decision-makers to account via media. The assessment is that the system has broken down, the old world has disappeared giving rise to a deep and unbridgeable divide between the professionals and the citizens, with vested interests manipulating a political class fed on buzz-words, the latest fad, or their own greed for power or wealth. Read more [...]

Ortwin Renn: Managing people’s risk perception to build trust

Successfully gaining trust in complex situations where prospects are uncertain may require calling upon risk analysis to help to put things in perspective. In this interview, risk assessment guru Ortwin Renn from the University of Stuttgart discusses facts and facets of coping with uncertain outcomes and how effective risk communication strategies can help restore public trust in many areas of life. Read more [...]

Science dilemma: between public trust and social relevance

The positive perception of the public towards science is dictated by its altruistic pursuit of the common good—unlike politics and economics. However, to demonstrate its societal utility, science must point to compliance with expectations from economy and politics. Mastering the interplay between science, politics and economics is a delicate balancing act. And it is one of the major challenges in the way science portrays itself to the public. Particularly in the context where science has increasingly tied this self-representation to economic performance and made its complex processes appear trivial to garner public acceptance. Read more [...]

Trust in science and scientists is not eroding in Europe

Trust is one of those things that happen between people and between people and institutions that only gets noticed when it is in danger of being eroded. So what is the state of trust in science and scientists across Europe? There is little evidence of erosion of trust in science. One might even argue that the public’s relation to science and scientists is entering a new phase: no longer one of trust, but one of public confidence. Read more [...]

Work-life Balance

Welcome to our special issue of EuroScientist on work-life balance. This is a very timely issue as everybody start making plans for the year ahead. We have a unique selection of articles to share with EuroScientist readers the kind of extremes of work pressure that scientists can be subjected to. In another section of this special issue, we explore the kind of solutions that have yet to be implemented to make life easier for scientists. And finally, we provide you with a reflection on how scientists’ private life is portrayed in films. Read more [...]

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