Need for care also in the world of research

2018/01/02 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

One of the concepts that have gained strength this year is the one that is barely heard in the field of research: care. And everything seems to indicate that we should listen more and especially practice more. It is significant that a research on the mental health of doctoral students is one of the most read scientific articles of this year.The results of the research are very worrying: one in three people who are doing the doctorate runs the risk of suffering a psychiatric disease.

The research has been led by researchers from the University of Ghent and published in the journal Research Policy. There have been 3659 doctoral students who have measured 12 mental health indicators: constantly under pressure, decay and depressed, concerns about losing sleep, inability to overcome difficulties, not enjoying everyday activities, loss of self-confidence, problems of concentration, inability to make decisions...

Analyzing the responses of volunteers, half of them have at least two symptoms, four out of ten have three symptoms and one third at least four. It follows that doctoral students have a high risk of developing a psychiatric illness, especially depression. This risk is twice that of the population with a high educational level.

The study also mentioned the main factors that affect it. The most important thing is the inability to reconcile family and work life, with the need for results, supervision of superiors and the difficulty of employment insertion.

The problem is not limited to Belgium.Other studies previously conducted in other countries have yielded similar results, and we have received similar testimonies in Ekinean interviews from Elhuyar magazine. In fact, young researchers are the protagonists of this section, and many point out that they have to devote a lot of time to research, that they feel a lot of pressure, that they are made very hard to receive bad results, that they are very worried about being always in provisional conditions and not having security for the future...

So it is striking that so many people think that research work is attractive to young people. This is at least the report that reflects the opinion of the Basque population on science and technology. Also, people have said that it is enriching for oneself. And although they really value research work well, they recognize that society has little recognition and is underpaid economically.

It seems that people realize that the situation is not fair. Let us therefore take care of the young researchers, who are in need and who we also need.

Published in the newspaper Berria.

Gai honi buruzko eduki gehiago

Elhuyarrek garatutako teknologia