Top researchers call for universities and funders to sign up to new set of principles to stamp out harassment
While this story is from the UK, the topics are of global relevance. But really this is about people not being a**holes. How do we create a world in which people will be kind? The current climate of yelling at everyone who disagrees with you or being rude through social media isn’t helping. Not rewarding bad behaviour is key. We have witnessed several cases where organisations avoided taking on a bully and holding them to account because it was easier to try to work around it (especially if they are viewed as a high performer). It needs courageous leadership to ensure it doesn’t happen.
The seven principles, set out in a letter published online by Times Higher Education, include requiring institutions and funders to publish annual statistics on complaints about bullying, harassment and discrimination, and the adoption of sector-wide standards on sanctions that funders can apply when individuals or organisations fall short.
The signatories to the letter, in a personal capacity, include Jackie Hunter, the former chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Sir Robert Lechler, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences; and Ruth McKernan, the former chief executive of Innovate UK.
In the letter, they say that recently “a number of specific incidents, reports and surveys have shown that bullying and harassment are widespread in the research and innovation culture of the UK”.
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