Tag Archives: Career

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 [...]
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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 [...]
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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 [...]
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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 [...]
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Streamlining immigration procedures for scientists

Just about every research institution wants to be international and attract researchers from overseas. If foreign researchers are coming to a country it shows that its research system is healthy, and is doing work worth participating in. International mobility, whether to attend conferences or for research visits, is considered important to smooth the exchange of information, and is essential to doing good science. But while there is much universities and research institutions can do to encourage international mobility, some things outside their control can work to prevent it. Immigration policy is one example. Read more [...]
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French scientists get on their bikes for research

French research is in trouble. A protest movement has arisen from the ranks of research centres and universities to protest against what French scientists consider a progressive assault on research funding, jobs and autonomy by successive French administrations. Research activists from Montpellier have devised a very French response to this problem: marching out on the street—albeit this time with a twist. From the 27th September 2014, the grassroots movement Sciences en Marche, will see researchers march on Paris. They are planning to arrive in the French capital on 18th October, having bicycled in stages from labs all over France. Read more [...]
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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. Read more [...]
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U-MultiRank ambitious, but lacking critical mass to face up to other university rankings

Back in 2012, the UK’s universities minister David Willets warned that the European Commission’s project to develop a new approach to global university rankings, U-MultiRank, risked being dismissed as a self-serving exercise. It could be viewed as “an attempt by the Commission to fix a set of rankings in which European universities do better than they appear to do in the conventional rankings”, he told a House of Lord’s European Union Committee enquiry on the modernisation of higher education. Two years on, now that the first ranking is live and we can see which institutions have – and more importantly have not -- chosen to join the bold experiment, it would seem that the minister’s warning was remarkably prescient. Read more [...]
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University rankings: not that simple

Dear Editor, I was fascinated to read Janna Degener’s interesting piece on university rankings. Rankings are an endlessly interesting subject. It is important to understand why they exist. At a superficial level, they are designed to sell copies of magazines that publish them, or advertising in these publications, or are a commercial undertaking in some other way. More fundamentally, they owe their existence to competition and market forces. World rankings illustrate this point. Read more [...]
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Controversial and powerful: university rankings under scrutinity

There are a number of worldwide university rankings, which are often used as a guide for future education and career progression. These include, among others, the ranking of The Times Higher Education (THE), the QS World University Rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) , also known as the Shanghai Ranking, and the very recently launched U-Multirank, funded by the EU. While some few universities from Western Europe and North America still dominate most of these rankings, there is a trend for the emergence of young universities from newly-industrialised countries such as China and India. Read more [...]
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Germany: the career challenges of a single academic track

A recent petition seeking government support to establish more permanent jobs and to limit the number of short term contracts in science and technology positions in Germany has already gathered over 10,000 signatures. It was initiated on 7th March 2014 by a German scientist called Sebastian Raupach, who wrote a letter addressed to the vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, and to the country’s federal minister for education and research, Johanna Wanke. This petition reflects the growing unrest among scientists regarding the limited career path in Germany. Read more [...]
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