Research careers are seldom plain sailing

Uncertain career opportunities and temporary employment deter young researchers.

Eeva Rantala A researcher’s working life is difficult. The attractiveness of a career in research must be improved and a clear career model for researchers should be created, was the shared opinion at the “Research careers in crisis” seminar, which was organised in Porthania.

“There are 1,500 doctoral candidates who graduate every year, and every research position has hundreds of applicants, although researchers get no social benefits and accumulate no pension. Everyone is aware of these problems. Now they need to be resolved," said Miia Halme, researcher from the University of Helsinki in her opening address.

The talks at the seminar dealt with the everyday realities of a research career. The panel discussed the number of doctors produced by universities in relation to employment.

A career in research is fragmented and insecure. The average length of a contract is less than a year. In some fields, there is an overproduction of doctoral graduates in relation to job opportunities, and universities have insufficient resources to establish postdoctoral tenures.

“Only one-third of researchers work for universities. After completing their doctorate, many are left with nothing. They should have, from the very beginning, a clear picture of career and employment opportunities,” said Eeva Rantala, General Manager of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers.

The seminar was organised by the Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research and the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers.

Text and photo: Niina Viitanen
Translation: Valtasana Oy

News of the month »»
News archive »»
University of Helsinki