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075. When Research Sucks (R)

It’s inevitable.  At some point in your research career, you’re going to get that sinking feeling.

Your experiments will all fail, your PI will get on your case about finishing that paper, and your graduation date will drift maddeningly out of reach.

So what can you do when your research starts to drag you down?

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166. Want to Improve Research Careers? Scientists Have 5,434 Suggestions.

The CACTUS Global Mental Health Survey asked valuable questions about stress, performance, and career goals for scientists.

The data revealed plenty of room for improvement, as researchers struggle with harassment, work-life balance, and limited pay.

But the study’s authors also asked more open-ended questions:

Do you have any suggestions for organizations within academia or other related stakeholders on what they can do to ensure a great work environment for researchers?

The received 5,434 ideas from the 13,000 survey respondents.

This week, we’re joined once again by Andrea Hayward, Senior Associate for Global Community Engagement at Cactus Communications.

We unpack the themes she uncovered from those responses, and identify the many ways in which Academia can foster a more supportive research environment.

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165: A Survey Asked Researchers About Their Mental Health. Here’s What They Said.

Most academics are overwhelmed, even the ones who are successful in terms of being productive researchers, busy teachers and efficient administrators. But, they seem like the norm and everyone who struggles is not, and this needs to be disrupted and changed.

Research fellow/post-doctoral researcher, Africa.

I’m worried about sexism in academia in general and this might make me want to leave after finishing my PhD, even though my current work environment is good.

PhD scholar, Europe

It’s not about free time, it’s a lack of free energy. Who can do hobbies when you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally drained?

Lecturer, North America

Would it surprise you to hear that researchers and scientists around the globe are stressed out? Long hours, competitive labs, and unpredictable funding are just a few of the factors that contribute poor mental health among academics.

Graduate students tend to suffer the most, as they don’t receive the same support as those more advanced in their careers.

This week on the show, we delve into data collected by the Cactus Foundation from their 2020 Mental Health Survey Report.

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159. Cultivating Resilience w/ Adina Glickman

Imagine a tennis ball dropped on cement – it immediately bounces back to your hand.

Now imagine dropping that same ball on a sandy beach.

The bounce of a tennis ball on pavement is a form of resilience, but it’s important to note that resilience is not just an inherent property of the ball.

Context matters just as much.

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145. Ten Tips from Hindsight: A PhD’s guide to a PhD

How many times have you said “I wish I had known!” or “Why didn’t they teach us this in school?”

If you’re a graduate student, you’ve probably said it a lot.

For some reason, from the moment you write your first application to the moment you get your hood and mortarboard, you’ll be re-learning what thousands of students have learned before you.

You’ll be treading a well-worn path, but for some reason, you won’t get a map.

Why don’t successful graduates take the time to help their successors along? Well, partly because they immediately get busy on the next stage of their career.

And partly because they may feel they’ve barely escaped the gauntlet of graduate school intact. “What advice could I give?” they muse. “I almost didn’t make it myself!”

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