Research precariat pain 

A new OECD report comprehensively  presents the problemit’s not as strong on solutions

What people endure: “The continuous struggle to enter the academic research career, in an environment of heightened competition, leads to a regime of long hours, severe dependence on senior researchers, lack of visibility and recognition, stress caused by job insecurity and job dissatisfaction, constraints on academic freedom (which was the original rationale for the tenure system in the United States), and deterioration of physical and mental wellbeing.”

Know your enemy: “The development of a cadre of specialist support services and management structures will likely mean these groups have an increasing voice relative to the academic research core, with the potential result of decreasing the capacity of researchers, especially early career researchers, to bargain for better working conditions.”

Maybe change sides: “On the other hand, doctorate holders are occupying some of these professional positions, which are a source of alternative employment to research within the realm of academia.”

Or run a big risk: “Researchers are accessing an indefinite contract later in life. They often face multiple ‘super-human’ requirements, and vague evaluation criteria to access an indefinite contract. If they do not make it in academia, they may find it rather late to move to other careers.”

There is a solution: “Additional funds going into the research system should not be concentrated on doctoral education and short-term postdoctoral positions – as is currently the case in many countries – but instead be spread across all career stages.”

But don’t hold your breath: “The precarity of research careers is not a new problem and numerous policy initiatives have been developed by countries to address it. However, even if individual policies are sound, they are not always well integrated with other policy initiatives and implementation is often problematic.”