On 16 April th ;European non-profit researchers’ association Euroscience launched a survey exploring the working conditions and career development of young researchers. The aim: to fill in gaps in comparable data across European countries to better identify the career needs of young researchers and help improve their situations. So far, about 1900 Masters’ students, Ph.D. candidates, postdocs, and industry employees have taken part.
Yesterday, on the last day of the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin, Pauline Mattsson of the Karolinksa Institutet in Stockholm in Sweden, David Feltz of Euroscience in Strasbourg, France, and Niki Vermeulen of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, presented some preliminary data from the survey.
Here are some of the main results that are emerging:
- 43% of the respondents had between 1 and 4 years of research experience. 35% had between 5 and 8 years, and 16% between 9 and 14 years.
- 40% were in a partnership without children, 21% had a partner and children, 35% were
single without children, and 1% were single parents.
- 55% were receiving a grant or scholarship and 41% a salary.
- Only 7% of the respondents had ever heard of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, which define their rights and responsibilities as researchers as well as the responsibilities of their employers.
- 41% said they had experienced unfair treatment, such as not receiving
enough support from their supervisor, doing all the research and yet not being given first authorship on a paper, and being asked to conduct unpaid work.
- 63% perceived barriers to a research career, highlighting issues such as funding, availability of positions, family, mobility, and publications.
- 80% hoped to be working in a university or research institute in a year; the percentage dropped to 40% when the time horizon was extended to 5 years. Five per cent saw themselves in industry in 1 year’s time, rising to 14% in 5 years; 2% anticipated working in a government, European institution, or private non-research environment in 1 year, versus 5% in 5 years. Eight
per cent had no idea what they would be doing in one year’s time, rising to 28% 5 years down the line.
The survey is still on, and you can take part by clicking here on the Euroscience Web site.