11 May 2020
A new report titled “Impact of the Pandemic on Australia’s Research Workforce”, compiled by sector lead organisations with the Chief Scientist – has painted a troubling extended outlook for the research community.
“As the report confirms, the Australian medical research workforce will be severely impacted for an extended period of time,” said Dr Peter Thomas, AAMRI Director of Policy & Operations, and a contributing author on the piece.
Dr Thomas said AAMRI has been seeing a drop off in revenue streams at medical research institutes over the past few months, and if past downturns are any guide it could take many years for these to bounce back to pre-coronavirus levels.
Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM, President of AAMRI, said we need to ensure strong support for the research sector so that we can deal with this and future pandemics.
“The report outlines a harsh truth, that it’s not just about this pandemic and the effects right now, it’s about how our future research capacity is at risk”, said Professor Carapetis.
“The research sector needs continual support not just because of critical COVID-19 research, but all the other vital medical research projects that are developing new treatments and therapies that we can’t afford to delay.”
The report’s authors are especially concerned that women, early career researchers and recent graduates will disproportionately experience negative impacts.
“We can’t afford to let support drop away at this most crucial time, if this happens, we could lose a generation of medical researchers and it would take years, if not longer to regain that capacity.”
The report was produced by the Rapid Response Information Forum, a group of 35 research sector lead organisations. The forum is chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, and its operations are led by the Australian Academy of Science.
Read the report: https://www.science.org.au/covid19/research-workforce