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Lack of strategic funding and long-term job security threaten to have profound effects on cardiovascular researcher retention in Australia

Climie, RE, Wu, JHY, Calkin, AC, Chapman, N ORCID: 0000-0001-6317-5594, Inglis, SC, Mirabito Colafella, KM, Picone, DS ORCID: 0000-0002-4760-1634, Tan, JTM, Thomas, E, Viola, HM, Wise, SG, Murphy, AJ, Nelson, MR ORCID: 0000-0001-9941-7161, Nicholls, SJ, Hool, LC, Doyle, K, Figtree, GA and Marques, FZ 2020 , 'Lack of strategic funding and long-term job security threaten to have profound effects on cardiovascular researcher retention in Australia' , Heart Lung and Circulation , pp. 1-8 , doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2020.07.010.

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Abstract

Background: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Investment in research solutions has been demonstrated to yield health and a 9.8-fold return economic benefit. The sector, however, is severely challenged with success rates of traditional peer-reviewed funding in decline. Here, we aimed to understand the perceived challenges faced by the cardiovascular workforce in Australia prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Climie, RE and Wu, JHY and Calkin, AC and Chapman, N and Inglis, SC and Mirabito Colafella, KM and Picone, DS and Tan, JTM and Thomas, E and Viola, HM and Wise, SG and Murphy, AJ and Nelson, MR and Nicholls, SJ and Hool, LC and Doyle, K and Figtree, GA and Marques, FZ
Keywords: cardiovascular, funding, tender equity, workforce
Journal or Publication Title: Heart Lung and Circulation
Publisher: Elsevier Australia
ISSN: 1443-9506
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.hlc.2020.07.010
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ)

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