Early- and mid-career researchers fear their careers are at risk due to pandemic

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12th August 2020

Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum

Australian Academy of Sciences


A new survey looking at the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s early- and mid-career researcher (EMCR) workforce has found significant effects on their mental health and productivity.
The results have prompted a call for employers, governments and funding bodies to take action to support Australia’s future science leaders during this crucial time.

The nationally representative survey of 333 EMCRs was conducted by the Australian Academy of Science’s Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum.

The survey found increased anxiety and strains on mental health due to employment uncertainty, the need to manage competing priorities such as caring duties, changes in the workplace, and perceived loss of career prospects. It also found COVID-19 is likely to have a lasting impact on the careers and wellbeing of much of the workforce.

The report’s recommendations for government include extending JobKeeper to the university sector and other STEM employers currently ineligible.

The survey found the shift in workloads for EMCRs poses serious challenges for universities on how they evaluate staff for internal promotions, with many early-career researchers facing disrupted track records. Survey respondents reported research activities being replaced with more teaching and administrative tasks.

The survey also found female EMCRs with caring responsibilities and those who reduced their working hours were most affected by the pandemic. Read More...

Read the full report at the Australian Academy of Sciences