Consolidation in the voice of researchers in Europe to defend working conditions

For the first time, active science researchers to have a unified voice representing them on an EU and international level. Indeed, the two major umbrella researcher representative associations in Europe have just signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), announced on 19th June 2014. It enables both organisations to act together to represent the interests of researchers at European level. Previously, independent efforts of the two associations to represent the interest of researchers were limited and lacked coordination in defending the interests of the entire research community.

Greek scientists part of a larger problem; economic crisis and Greek reality

Youth unemployment has been characterised a historic event by the global community. In developed countries around the world, young people experience the effects: extreme limited working opportunities, inability to economically sustain themselves, poor working conditions, low wages, internal and external migration, and mental health issues. Greece is experiencing this phenomenon since the onset of the economic crisis in the country in 2007. This article illustrates key findings from European agencies, government authority reports, and local NGO surveys.

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.

Italian scientists protest against budget cuts, crocodile tears included

In the successful Italian comedy, Smetto quando voglio (I can quit whenever I want), a group of young and talented scholars with no career perspective turns into a successful drug-dealing mob. The story is imaginary—a surreal rendition of Breaking Bad—but it is also the portrait of Italian academia. There, the shortage of funds, baronies, and scant meritocracy hamper the careers of many endowed scientists. This fiction is not that far from reality. Now, as an attempt to change their working conditions, Italian researchers are planning a protest movement in October, to take a stand against budget cuts and political apathy. There is no doubt that such movement is justified, but there is also a need for academics to run their universities better.

Family Friendly Research to boost Science Careers of Women

The balance between professional and personal life plays a key role for successful careers of European researchers, especially for women scientists. As far as employment and reconciliation of work and life are concerned, female employment rates remain low especially in Southern Europe and East Europe and in general even more for women with low education. Antidiscrimination laws have been adopted, but gender gaps are still large. Lack of child care services and care facilities for the elderly combined with rigid work arrangements make it hard to reconcile work and family life.

Are the disruptions of uberisation a bane or boon for science?

For every characteristic of uberisation, there is a parallel in the world of research. This raises the question of whether research was “uberised” before Uber even existed? In this article EuroScientist explores which aspects in research have been most impacted by technology, and the challenges ahead to leverage uberisation for the good of science and scientists.

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.

Special issue on Research Activism – Print Edition

As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.