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Lack of strategic funding and long-term job security threaten to have profound effects on cardiovascular researcher retention in Australia
Methods: We used an online survey distributed across Australian cardiovascular societies/councils, universities and research institutes over a period of 6 months during 2019, with 548 completed responses. Inclusion criteria included being an Australian resident or an Australian citizen who lived overseas, and a current or past student or employee in the field of cardiovascular research.
Results: The mean age of respondents was 42±13 years, 47% were male, 85% had a full-time position, and 40% were a group leader or laboratory head. Twenty-three per cent (23%) had permanent employment, and 82% of full-time workers regularly worked >40 hours/week. Sixty-eight per cent (68%) said they had previously considered leaving the cardiovascular research sector. If their position could not be funded in the next few years, a staggering 91% of respondents would leave the sector. Compared to PhD- and age-matched men, women were less likely to be a laboratory head and to feel they had a long-term career path as a cardiovascular researcher, while more women were unsure about future employment and had considered leaving the sector (all p<0.05). Greater job security (76%) and government and philanthropic investment in cardiovascular research (72%) were highlighted by responders as the main changes to current practices that would encourage them to stay.
Conclusion: Strategic solutions, such as diversification of career pathways and funding sources, and moving from a competitive to a collaborative culture, need to be a priority to decrease reliance on government funding and allow cardiovascular researchers to thrive.
Publication titleHeart Lung and Circulation
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2020 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ)