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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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162. Get More Done with LabScrum w/ Dr. Lisa May

It’s 8PM on a Wednesday night, and you’re sitting in a quiet lab all alone. It’s your turn to present during lab meeting on Friday, and that familiar sense of panic starts to set in.

What HAVE you been doing with your time? You flip back through the lab notebook and remember how you spent the first week waiting on reagents. The second week is a blur, and the third week, every dish in the incubator got contaminated for reasons no one will admit.

Now you have a day to try to come up with something… anything… to show for yourself.

Of course, it didn’t have to be this way, and with some techniques from the tech industry, you’ll never have to fret over a ‘missing month’ again.

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Snider Lab at UNC

029. Tenure Tracker: Choose a Mentor, Not a Lab w/ Natasha Snider, PhD (R)

Choosing a lab for your graduate or postdoc research is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Most people read papers and abstracts to find the coolest science.  Or they favor the big labs with lots of people and solid funding.

But those features can distract you from the real secret of scientific success.

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