Increasing awareness of researcher mental health

Recently, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the mental health of researchers. Research is an activity that aims to confront the boundaries of human knowledge: it demands excellence from all researchers, who aim to publish in peer-reviewed publications, submit grant applications, achieve tenure or defend a PhD thesis. Researchers identify with and are dedicated to their work to a very great extent. A recent report noted that researchers simultaneously demonstrate high levels of job satisfaction and high levels of stress and depression. Nevertheless, hard work does not have to lead to suffering.

The secret to making family life compatible with an academic career

EuroScientist celebrates International Women’s Day 2017 by covering a study giving food for thought on the issue of work/life balance for career scientists. Germany has traditionally looked down on mothers pursuing their career in the immediate few years after their children were born. However, a new survey by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) shows that there are several key factors influencing researchers to stay in academia. These include the ability to self-determine their working hours, a flexible workplace and the existence of a long-term professional perspective. Clearly, respondents to the survey from both genders appear to strive for a better work/life balance. But it may take another generation for old habits to die.

UK scientists’ loss of influence to be felt at home and across Europe

Brexit keeps resounding in the many aspects that its implications may have for European research. In this opinion piece, Thomas König, Austrian social scientist, who was previously scientific advisor to former ERC president Helga Nowotny, examines the consequences of the predicted fall of influence of British scientists on the future of European science. He believes the consequences of Brexit are likely to be felt, not only in UK science itself, but also at the level of pan-European research endeavours, such as ERC-backed activities. This shows that scientists are not sheltered from the vagaries of politics when policies emanating from the popular vote forces them to defend their interests.

Emmanuelle Charpentier: European research funding could do with less red tape

In the second instalment of a two-part series, Emmanuelle Charpentier, head of regulation and infection biology at the Max-Planck-Institut in Berlin, Germany, gives her opinion on the challenges in obtaining research funding in the current system in Europe. She also shares her views on how mobility can be hampered by bureaucracy. Finally, she points to the limited coherence for scientists pursuing a research career in Europe. Clearly, many efforts have yet to be made to improve the condition of scientists in Europe.

Can ethics training improve the quality of research?

Critiques are increasingly challenging the way research is being performed. Recent scandals revealing scientific fraud have made media headlines. Meanwhile, some are challenging the established ways of measuring research. It appears that research integrity is not sufficiently ingrained in the current practice of science. So much so, that it sometimes appear like an unattainable goal. To remedy this problem, some believe that part of the solution lies in making research integrity training compulsory, even though it is far from being a magic bullet.

Does mobility boost early scientific careers?

Young scientists are expected to change country and jobs every few years on average to get a chance to progress their academic career. Mobility in science stems from a long tradition. It is favoured for bringing very enriching experiences. But post docs and their scientific work do not always benefit from mobility. Here, EuroScientist looks into how being on the move every few years affects the life of researchers and looks at ways of enhancing work/life balance.

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.

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