Clare Viney suggests lessons from how Covid-19 has affected researchers
In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, a taskforce was set up to mitigate the short-term effects of Covid-19 on universities and consider longer-term solutions to systemic challenges. The University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce, to which I contributed, acknowledged a risk that early career researchers would bear the brunt of the potential higher education financial crisis.
Some universities furloughed staff and made redundancies while others reduced the time that academics were expected to devote to research. Thankfully, fears of international students staying away did not materialise and universities and staff were able to flip teaching, keep important facilities open, and put in place researcher support on campus and online. The ‘no-cost’ extension from UKRI initially for final year PGRs and actions by institutions and other ‘no-detriment’ style policies were vital for supporting early career researchers, although many of these have now been rescinded.