Around 70 participants attended the ICoRSA Annual Researcher Career Summit 2023
ICoRSA hosted the 2nd Researcher Career Summit online, where keynote speakers presented their perspectives on researcher careers in Europe and Africa. The event featured the presentation of the results of a survey on research career progression that was conducted for the second time this year, as well as the SECURE project on sustainable careers for researcher empowerment. ICoRSA, together with partner associations such as the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers EURODOC, Marie Curie Alumni Association MCAA, and Young Academy of Europe YAE, presented the Joint statement on the Current Situation of Researchers in Iran.
The second part of the Summit was organized into two breakout room sessions, which discussed the developments of research careers in Africa and Europe. Despite the many initiatives, proposals, and policies issued over the last decade or two, little progress has been made in improving the quality of researcher careers. In fact, it could be argued that it has become more unattractive. ICoRSA’s mission is to advance the welfare of researchers, particularly in advancing their career prospects and career development paths.
Sessions and Speakers
A Manifesto for Early Career Researchers and other research careers related activities and initiatives – Monica Dietl, Initiative for Science in Europe
Monica Dietl, a speaker from the Initiative for Science in Europe, headlined the Summit’s inaugural session. Dietl captivated the audience with her in-depth analysis of various activities and initiatives related to Research Careers. Of particular interest was her discussion on A Manifesto for Early Career Researchers, which sparked insightful conversations and engaged attendees. A Manifesto for Early Career Researchers is available here. The Initiative for Science in Europe also advocates for the implementation of a European Framework for Research Careers. Dietl’s presentation is now available on our website for those who missed the session.
Precarious Careers in Research – Analysis and Policy Options – Jürgen Janger, WIFO (Austrian Institute of Economic Research)
Jürgen Janger from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research WIFO provided key insights into precarious careers in research at the Summit. Janger analyzed policy options for addressing this critical issue and offered a fresh perspective on the current state of career and job availability in the EU. As concerns surrounding the stability of research careers continue to mount, Janger’s expertise provided invaluable guidance and inspired meaningful discussions among attendees. Check out his presentation here.
Summary of ISC initiatives including research careers – Mathieu Denis, International Science Council
Mathieu Denis presented the summary of ISC Research Careers initiatives at the Summit. Denis highlighted the organization’s commitment to science-for-policy efforts, with a focus on encouraging and facilitating international research and scholarship. Additionally, ISC Research Careers seeks to communicate science that has a significant impact on global policy issues. The initiatives discussed by Denis have the potential to transform the landscape of research careers, promoting greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among scholars worldwide. His presentation is available here.
Research Careers in Africa, and the SEDA project on RSSR, responsible Research in Africa – Martiale Gaetan Zebaze Kana, Head of Science Unit, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa
Martiale Gaetan Zebaze Kana from UNESCO delivered a compelling talk on Research Careers in Africa at the Summit. Kana’s presentation also featured the SEDA project on RSSR for Responsible Research in Africa, which has garnered significant attention in the research community. Kana provided insights into the unique challenges facing researchers in Africa, and the potential for the SEDA project to transform the landscape of research careers on the continent. The presentation highlighted the importance of international collaborations in promoting sustainable research careers globally.
Sustainable Careers for Researcher Empowerment (SECURE) Project – Gordon Dalton, SECURE Project Coordinator, PLOCAN
Gordon Dalton presented the SECURE project at the Summit, shedding light on the critical issue of researcher precarity. The Sustainable Careers for Researcher Empowerment (SECURE) project aims to tackle this issue by developing coordination and support measures. The project will create, trial, implement, and mainstream a common Research Career Framework, which offers a range of options to support organizations in the recruitment, employment, training, development, progression, and mobility of researchers. The overarching goal of SECURE is to improve research careers and reduce career precarity. Attendees were impressed by the scope and ambition of the SECURE project, recognizing its potential to revolutionize the landscape of research careers worldwide. Find out more here.
Summary results of the annual ICoRSA survey on research career progression – Dragana Mitrovic, ICoRSA
Dragana Mitrovic presented the summary results of the annual ICoRSA survey on research career progression. The survey, conducted in 2023, marks the second of a series of surveys that will form part of a longitudinal study aimed at tracking the career progression of researchers over the next few years. Researchers were asked a range of questions about their professional experiences, including their contract type, job title, willingness to relocate for work, and career aspirations.
The survey findings revealed that poor salary conditions and lack of stability are the main challenges facing those pursuing a research career. Respondents expressed a desire for longer-term contracts and permanent post-doctoral positions. Researchers also voiced frustration at the expectations placed upon them, including managing people, applying for funding, and teaching, in addition to conducting research. These expectations were seen as unsustainable and a deterrent to pursuing research as a long-term career option.
The ICoRSA survey is an important step towards creating a more sustainable and supportive research environment, and the findings will undoubtedly inform future policy decisions in this area. Check some of the surveys highlights in the presentation here.
Presentation on the Joint Statement on the Current Situation of Researchers in Iran – Sebastian Dahle, Vice president of Eurodoc; Assistant professor and postdoctoral researcher at University of Ljubljana.
Sebastian Dahle discussed the Joint statement released by Eurodoc (European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers), ICoRSA (International Consortium of Research Staff Associations), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and Young Academy of Europe (YAE) on the current situation of researchers in Iran and other authoritarian contexts. The statement, which can be accessed on Zenodo, was signed by the chairs of each organization, including Oleksandr Berezko from Eurodoc, Fernanda Bajanca from MCAA, Moniek Tromp from YAE, and Gordon Dalton from ICoRSA. The statement, released on February 21st, 2023, sheds light on the challenges faced by researchers in these contexts and calls for action to support their rights and freedoms.
Discussions on the latest developments in international research careers in Africa and Europe
The Researcher Summit concluded with engaging discussions on the latest developments in international research careers in Africa and Europe. In Room A, participants delved into the current state of research careers in Africa and explored ways to enhance career prospects and development paths for researchers. Meanwhile, in Room B, attendees discussed the progress made in improving the quality of research careers in Europe and identified areas that need further attention. The conversations were enlightening and provided valuable insights for researchers and organizations interested in advancing the welfare of researchers worldwide.