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.
The position of doctoral candidates in Europe has rarely been more difficult than it is today; this is especially true for scientists working in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). he past five years have seen many huge changes that have affected the context in which doctoral training is taking place. The first is the inclusion of doctoral training in the Bologna process as a third education cycle. The second is the announcement that the European Commission is aiming to train at least one million more researchers by 2020. The last, but perhaps, the most difficult aspect, is the financial crisis of the past few years; the worst to strike Europe in past 50 years.
When employers were asked about the type of skills they thought researchers would have only about a quarter of respondents said they thought researchers would have high levels of commercial awareness. This compared to closer to 100% who thought researchers had a high level of skill in data analysis (phew!). So why should this matter? Well, because employers in many sectors of industry value commercial awareness.
Bright and early on 3 January 2011, 140 physics lecturers, students and other staff at Utrecht University in the Netherlands made their way from the physics department to the offices of the university administration. The purpose of the demonstration was to submit a petition objecting to proposed cutbacks, and to the removal of department head Casper Erkelens after he refused to sign a document agreeing to the reforms.
Doctoral Training Centres, or DTCs, are a new trend in UK doctoral training and are an alternative option to the traditional PhDs. Simon Hutchinson investigates.
Do you love science but are unhappy with the culture in academia?
As a PhD student, postdoc or lab leader (PI), do you feel like your mental health may be suffering because of problems in the system?
Do you think your lab could be managed more efficiently?
Many PhD students are willing to turn towards the broad field of sustainable development and renewable energies.
Science is probably the last bastion of true freethinking but is being swallowed by this make-money-get-profit world. Science and scientists are becoming more and more detached from the pure curiosity and they are embracing this notion that an idea must first be sold in order to be explored.
In a scientific world where there are too many candidates for the scarce positions and funds, recruitment became extremely demanding. With the needed ambition to publish more impactful stories, scientists often choose not to publish smaller projects. But is that really important? And, if so, can we foresee some solutions? These are some the questions we discuss in the present article.
The wind energy industry is at a crossroads. With 40 to 80 GW of wind capacity reaching the end of its designed operational life in the next decade according to WindEurope, lifetime extension is a top priority and data will play a big role in accomplishing Read more […]
Political populism, with its accompanying “fake news” and pseudoscience, leaves scientists distraught. But maybe scientific research itself needs a reboot. Research can no longer win public funding on the mere promise of a possible contribution to society. Read more […]
Recently, I have involved the Homo scientificus europaeus project in both a national and local initiative, first in Spain and then in Barcelona. My apologies for writing in the first person. This was not on the agenda. Two weeks ago, I realized that the Read more […]