A survey has warned that researchers are too stressed. It’s up to universities to improve their working environment
Academic research is an exciting, creative and varied endeavour, yet there is growing evidence that our culture has developed unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress. As the UK increases research and development spending – all the more important after Brexit – we will see much-needed growth in the number and significance of researchers. Yet it’s clear that we also need to make changes to their working conditions.
This is underscored by a new survey from research funder Wellcome, which says that 78% of researchers think that high levels of competition are creating unkind working conditions, while 57% warn of a long-hours culture. The findings resonate with my own experience: I have seen this stress during my academic career and through my conversations as a university leader. They also mirror the results of our own recent internal survey on research culture.
This is why I believe that universities must unite to create a research culture that is truly supportive and will sustain our talented research community as they address the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century.