This is the conclusion of an online survey among 300 researchers in May by the National Association of Biochemists (ANBIOQ).
Almost all respondents (94.6 percent) defend that scientific employment is not valued in Portugal and 70 percent said they feel in a very precarious situation in terms of work, a feeling reported even by those who have a work contract, which does not guarantee social rights, stability or prospects for the future, according to the testimonies accompanying the results.
“In terms of quality of life, 53.5 percent of respondents consider they are in a significantly more unfavourable situation than most publicly funded jobs. When considering the duration and stability of work situations, this number rises to 70 percent. Contrary to expectations, respondents with an employment contract show still high values (44.8 percent and 63.8 percent), revealing that the employment contract is a step forward, but not the only one to provide living and working conditions for Portuguese researchers ”, reads the ANBIOQ press release.
Respondents also reveal that they feel “disinterest and a lack of support” in the country, so that “84.7 percent of respondents do not see or do not know if they will carry out research in Portugal in the long term” and “of the minority that can see a future in Portugal (only 14.4 percent), a large percentage (69.8 percent) have a work contract”.
Formal aspects of funding competitions are one of the demotivating factors, with respondents pointing to transparency and funding management as problems.
The survey asked questions about the level of education, type of employment relationship, source of funding for the scientific project, previous employment abroad, long-term work prospects in Portugal and whether remuneration is adequate for their qualifications and functions.
According to data released, about 90 percent of respondents have a master’s or doctorate degree, more than half are paid through a scholarship and just over a third have a work contract.