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Survey shows massive support for ‘20% time’ plan

Academics have overwhelmingly called for one-fifth of their working hours to be protected for career development and independent research in a survey by the University and College Union.

The union questioned more than 3,400 research-active staff about proposed changes to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, an agreement between all the UK’s main funders and employers designed to improve employment and working conditions for researchers.

Proposals put forward earlier this year by the expert panel charged with reviewing the agreement include allowing junior scholars to spend 20 per cent of their time on their own projects and personal development. Of those surveyed, 84 per cent agreed with the suggestion, with just 6 per cent disagreeing.

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