The quiet crisis of PhDs and COVID-19

Our study surveyed 1076 doctoral and research master’s candidates on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on their living and financial situation, and impact to their candidature. The findings provide a stark warning for the future of our developing research community.

  • 75% of research students in our study expect to experience financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 30% already have, or expect to be forced to, change their living situation as a result of the crisis.
  • 38% expect to have to suspend studies. Many forced to abandon studies to seek unemployment welfare payments as a means to survive.

The full analysis can be found here, Protecting Our Future Researchers.

The study was completely student-led and the report was student-written. The report was discussed thoroughly this week at the University Executive Research Education Committee and has been formally submitted to the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR). The ACGR are now discussing the findings with Universities Australia.
The findings clearly show that we are at risk of losing a great many of our HDRs to unemployment welfare lines.  A situation that would not only result in a major disruption to the research community at our University but would likely have long term implications as many people may not return to study.  In these difficult times we should be protecting our future researchers who not only are already assisting in many research projects currently focused on fighting Covid and rebuilding our society and economy, but who represent our future of innovation and knowledge development in research. 

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