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EDI
Keep the mood and creativity high – how to cope with harsh scientific work environments

During the last years, the phrase “Work-Life balance” has stimulated a discussion on how to find balance between increasing productivity of individuals and the personal needs to remain content and healthy. Progress in this matter has been seen across a wide range of economic branches by, bringing career and family goals closer together due to more flexible work models. Employments and careers in academia, however, have not kept up with these developments. Even mentioning a “life” beside the academic work is often frowned upon in a world driven by “publish or perish”.
Scientists are increasingly exposed to different forms of stress such as precarious employment, time constrains, financial pressure or mental overload. Because of these drawbacks, many persons leave academia. PhD and MSc students worldwide report high rates of depression and anxiety that are six times higher than those in the general public (Evans et al. 2018). Levecque et al. (2017) reported that one in two PhD students experiences psychological distress and found that work and organizational contexts serve as significant predictors. The loss of expertise on the one hand, and the loss of creativity and innovative power on the other hand, severely damages today’s academic world.
This interactive short course seeks to explore and share strategies on how to improve the working environment in academia and find ways to manage and improve personal wellbeing, creativity and innovative power in the competitive scientific world.
A series of invited speakers from sociology and engaged within this topic will give keynote presentations, followed by an open discussion. This will be stimulated by some key questions such as: How to cope with harsh scientific work environments? How do we change towards a more creative and open work environment in a healthy way? What do we need to keep our creativity flowing? What role do leadership qualities play in reaching this aim? How can the creativity in research groups be kept alive?
We welcome participants from all EGU disciplines, career stages, and countries interested in this topic. We seek for a lively discussion to enable exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas among the participating scientists to shed light on our own role within the academic “hamster wheel” and how we can actively change this system.
Evans TM, et al (2018) Nat Biotechnol 36:282
Levecque K, et al (2017) Res Policy 46:868–879

Convener: Jörg SchneckerECSECS | Co-conveners: Sebastian DoetterlECSECS, Michael Kaiser, Carsten W. Mueller, Cordula Vogel