precarity paper 2021

ISE paper on

precarity of academic careers

The ISE Researchers’ Careers Task Force has been conducting a long reflection on the organisation of academic research in Europe, with a focus on the systemic structural changes that will be necessary for Europe to remain an attractive place to do science, and a competitive economic and scientific powerhouse.

We consider that precarity of academic careers is one of the most pressing issues of the research system. Funding mechanisms, research assessment methods, and research grant evaluations are inefficient, time-consuming, and might induce bad practices that can lead to research career disruption for promising scientists.

Researchers spend increasingly long periods before obtaining a stable position: this has an impact not only on their work-life balance, but on the general attractiveness of academic careers. The situation is aggravated by the fact that policies concerning research careers are fragmented.

It’s time to identify policies and procedures to improve management of research careers in the public sector, while increasing both the quality of research output and the well-being of researchers.

Our short report is aimed at member states research ministries, research councils, funders, and EU science policy decision makers. It focuses on the main causes for precarity and on policies that would reduce it and strengthen the quality of the European Research Area.


ISE is also organising a cycle of webinars to push the conversation with relevant stakeholders. Check the details here.

The paper is endorsed by organisations external to ISE