UK minister calls on unis to support young academics

The precariat there has powerful friends

A UK higher education union report by Nick Megoran and Olivia Mason warns 67 per cent of researchers are on fixed term contracts, as are 39 per cent of teaching-only staff. “This situation is not an accident of employment and recruitment cycles, but has become a business model on which universities depend,” they write.

Which  alarms Chris Skidmore, minister for universities and science.

“We need to really respect early career researchers … I call on all universities to reconsider very carefully the sustainability and opportunities of early career research system because these individuals doing their doctorates, doing research at an early stage of their career will be the future researchers, the future scientists who we need,” he told the House of Commons, Monday (via Twitter).

Dominic Cummings, policy advisor to PM Boris Johnson, is similarly supportive, warning postdocs are exploited by “successful scientists.” “People in their twenties now have very little power or money in the research ecosystem. Further, they have to operate in an appalling time-wasting-grant-writing bureaucracy,” (CMM December 20).