Tag Archives: Career

The “Lost Generation” of European Scientists: How can we make the system more sustainable?

The "Lost Generation" refers to the growing cohort of senior post-doctoral researchers and other scientists who, after completing short-term contracts and temporary positions, find themselves excluded from research careers due to the lack of opportunities for permanent research positions. This cohort must contend with a ‘game’ whose rules no longer apply in today’s overcrowded and hyper-competitive research environment. Often, the difficulty in obtaining a full-time research position is further exacerbated by geographical, social, and familial constraints, and a lack of transferable skills that would enable a career switch. The loss of these highly trained individuals to our research institutions and to industry creates instability and represents an inefficient use of human talent and financial resources. Although the problem is not new, it is a critical issue and more needs to be done to address the needs of this cohort. Our goal is to launch a discussion with all relevant stakeholders toward actionable ideas to these systemic problems. Read more [...]

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. Read more [...]

Nightmare on Academia Street: an English horror story coming to a campus near you

Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling. These are the findings of a recent report by the UK Intergenerational Foundation. In this opinion piece, the author of the report warns of the possible financial implications of postgraduate student loans for the future financial health of students and their career prospects. This phenomenon, particularly acute in the UK, could soon reach other countries in Europe, should they be tempted to follow suit. Read more [...]

Radical funding overhaul needed to empower researchers

Funding research effectively is a demanding exercise. Young scientists gathered in Bratislava in July 2016 published a wish list for a definite overhaul of the funding system. The key to the change is to empower researchers. The proposals will be annexed to the conclusions of the EU Competitiveness Council of research and innovation ministers and tabled for adoption at the Competitiveness Council on 29 November 2016 in Brussels. Read more [...]

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. Read more [...]

Why do self-made women rely on mentors?

The title of this article may sound like a self-help book. Yet, mentoring takes place spontaneously as part of the scientific process. Indeed, the concept of mentoring is as old as science itself as mentoring plays a very important role in the hierarchic scientific system. There, scientists are recommended by reputation. Yet evaluation procedures designed to be neutral are sometimes still overshadowed by the influence of the so-called “old boys' networks”. So what needs to happen? 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 [...]

For the sake of Italian science and culture

Italian scientific research and university systems are in a dramatic position. The poisonous fruit of the recently approved university reform—referred to as the Gelmini law— assisted by the actions of successive governments, are reaching their goal: downsizing the university system and introducing a political control, never attempted before, on basic research. Now a vast movement of researchers across Europe is organising a series of initiatives during the autumn with the aim of bringing research and innovation to the public attention and at the centre of governments’ action. Read more [...]