Change needed for Spain to compete internationally

Science is an activity that needs to be planned with a long-term perspective. It is the only successful way of doing science. The system in Spain has to be changed to be able to contract the best people in each field. It might also help if prestigious calls like the ERC grant calls could account for the fact that countries are being faced with economic hardship and therefore give their scientists a chance to compete on a more level playing field.

Spain: The Goverment needs to show the world it believes in science

In the last years Spanish budget in R&D has suffered strong reductions. Only in 2012 the reduction of public budget devoted to R&D was of 25% with respect to the previous year. Moreover, looking in some detail the figures one sees that the reduction in the sort of public funding to which Universities and Research Institutes may accede have decreased by 45% since 2009. We need to show the world that we believe in science

Academics hired, but not appointed: a new Greek tragedy in the making

In 2008, after 5 years abroad as a postdoc, I decided to return home. I left the offer of a new three-year contract behind in order to return to an insecure Greek research environment. I felt I should offer something back to the Greek university system which I felt I owed a lot to. Now, two years after being elected as an assistant professor and still waiting to be appointed, I have started considering other options such as emigration, out of respect to myself both personally as well as professionally.

Spain: Uninformed wishful thinking as R&D policy shunts public research support

“Reason for your visit?” – the immigration officer asks sharply. “I’m looking for a job. I’m coming for some interviews”. “But you used to live here…” he points out, looking carefully at an expired visa. “For more than a decade” I answer. He looks at the front page of my worn-out passport. “Spain…things are not good over there, are they?” I nod. “Good luck,” he says, letting us go through.

Conjure your own career opportunities

It was a dark and stormy night. Annette was bored with Angry Birds and was dreaming of a way she could expand her horizons, advance her skills and learn more about a particular subject. She was especially interested in working with a certain genius in her field and wondered to herself if there was a fellowship or grant available for which she could apply to aid her in attaining her goal. She did some online research, but lo, there was no grant to be found.

Scientists can’t network and other myths

Recently, a newly minted science doctorate asked me for some help finding a job. He had applied for hundreds of advertised openings, both postdoc and non-academic positions, but to no avail. So I asked him about his networking strategy. “What networking strategy?” he replied, clueless to what I was referring. I spent the next hour emphasising the importance of networking in finding hidden job opportunities and communicating your value to decision-makers. I outlined for him a customised networking plan which would enable him to meet and interact with professionals who have the power to hire him for the jobs he so desperately wanted. When our meeting concluded, I asked for feedback on the career consulting session – “Did you find our discussion helpful?” I inquired, thinking I was up for a major pat on the back. “No,” he said instantly. “You didn’t tell me where I can apply for a job or places where there are more advertisements for jobs.”

Vikings get ahead in science

Be brave and aggressive, be prepared and be a good merchant. These so called “Viking Laws” are, in a nutshell, the advice of Zsolt Kajocsos, Deputy Director of KFKI, for young researchers who want to be successful in science. In the ESOF session on “Structured doctoral training and postdoctoral mobility” different approaches to university management of high quality academic education, research and innovation in Europe were discussed. Young researchers were encouraged to be strong and learn how to sell themselves and their research despite how their university manages doctoral training.