December 4, 2022

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I have a PhD in Neuroscience.  I can still look for a permanent job.

I have a PhD in Neuroscience. I can still look for a permanent job.

  • Engfield Burke

    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oslo

I don’t know anyone doing the research because they find the business case attractive. On the other hand, I know many who do this despite the circumstances. But is this how we want the search to be? asks the debate.

The working conditions that young researchers have to live with create a struggle to endure over time.

discussion
This is the topic of discussion. Opinions expressed in the text are at the author’s expense.

I am 30 years old and have been in business for about six years. I work as a brain researcher and have a PhD in Neuroscience. I can still look for a permanent job.

I live relatively well with this. I’ve always known that if I’m going to devote my life to research, it’s in spite of timeliness, high work pressures, and fierce competition. Not to forget an below average salary and plenty of free overtime.

There is only one reason why I do this and that is the craving to learn more about how the brain works.

No money, no research, no job

The controversy surrounding Norwegian research appears to be an elite struggle. Honorable professors against senior politicians.

It is important and right that top researchers take this fight seriously. but when evening pod Describing it as a battle between two elites, they forget the bulk of those involved: temporary fellows, postdocs, and scholars.

Not only do we rely on Research Council grants to cover our research, we need them to cover our positions. No money, no research, no job.

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This year I spent a month of my working time submitting an application to the Research Council. This should give me, with a bit of luck, the opportunity to travel to a partner in Australia.

I had to learn new technologies and build networks, and then establish my research activity in Norway. With cuts to the Research Council’s appropriations, what seemed quite unlikely has become nearly impossible.

Next year, according to signs, there will be no chance at all. By the next opportunity, my current position will be long gone.

devastating blow

So when politicians make big cuts in Norwegian basic research funding, it’s no small setback for an elite already swimming in money. It is a drop in a cup that has been clean for a long time. It is a further reduction in predictability and security almost non-existent in the daily work of young researchers. And it’s a potentially fatal blow to many of these people.

I don’t know anyone doing the research because they find the business case attractive. On the other hand, I know many who do this despite the circumstances. But is this how we want the search to be?

High replacement and extreme working pressure

Is this what we want for those who will generate knowledge we can trust?

Such research costs not only money, but time and predictability. Instead, research communities are characterized by high turnover and intense work pressure, which in many cases directly hampers research.

If there is something good out of this, I hope it sheds light on the already significant challenges for today’s research environments. As for the working conditions that young researchers have to live with, they create a struggle that few will tolerate over time. There just won’t be much Dejected – Depressed and sick leave, but it makes skilled people quit in droves.

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If the government wants solid knowledge and solid basic research, it should soon look at how to make this situation better instead of worse.