Should academic science reconsider the definition of success, asks Yvonne Couch.
I am fortunate to be starting a three-year, charity-funded fellowship in neuroimmunology at the University of Oxford, UK. My first postdoctoral position was in Denmark and was for only a year. From there, I moved to Oxford to an 18-month contract and took over from a colleague who had left prematurely.
A good piece reflecting on how the pursuit of publication in a high impact journal and the very insecure existence grant-to-grant has warped academia into something that is no longer an especially attractive career path.
I can’t help but feel that for early-career academics like me, some skills — beyond the acquisition of money — are currently not being acknowledged or supported, such as the ability to juggle teaching, grant applications, writing papers and the work of actually doing research. This is not to mention the activities that are now required for many grants, such as public engagement and outreach, or indeed those that are not even acknowledged but are assumed to be part of the job description, such as reviewing papers and grants and organizing conferences. These requirements are all there to judge one thing: our capacity to succeed in academia.