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Professional research in higher education

By Asomi College of Sciences

Professional research has never been easy, and becoming a researcher is difficult, especially in the post (and during) Covid-19 crisis. Therefore, this article will concentrate on researchers’ position in 2021 and therefore on the overall situation. The severe requirements aside, it is a job that includes and supports minorities and helps improve society as a whole.

A lot of academics might feel themselves dispersed after the Covid-19 crisis. For many researchers, this period has been full of pressure, insecurities, and overloads of work. Moreover, women researchers are the ones who have been hit the hardest because of taking care of the family while working, including children studying from home. Besides, one of the biggest shifts saw an increase in working hours, leaving less time for research.  Researchers cannot work in person and feel like their career is on hold because of that. Besides, research has seen many significant developments, but its negative side is that it causes the excellence in research to be a quite narrow definition. This is one of the reasons for which this job was difficult also before the world pandemics. This kind of pressure often leads to burnouts, and thus university and college administrators and department chairs should adjust their expectations. ACS ASOMI College of Sciences puts a lot of attention on research by engaging researchers in a wide range of interesting projects and awarding research properly.

Researching is a stimulating and interesting work; even if the path to make it seem long and complex, the key to a successful research team is inclusion. Research projects are often built up by excellent scientific teams, and these teams include scientists and researchers with a range of skills varying from social to scientific ones. Time and resources might not be reassuring factors when it comes to becoming a researcher. For instance, after a bachelor’s and a master’s, one is expected to pursue a doctoral degree, have several publications and be academically active. This path takes a lot of effort, and financial investment is usually bigger than cases in which only a Bachelor’s is pursued. Moreover, these difficulties may increase, especially when it comes to researchers who are part of minorities. Women researchers might not be considered so competent as men, and LGBTQA+ or non-native graduates may endure discrimination. The research teams have to be (and usually are) inclusive, open-minded people. Therefore, these projects – including ASOMI College of Sciences research projects – are especially studied for including underrepresented researchers and students.

There are, although, some fundamental points to consider when becoming a professional researcher. As mentioned before, researchers usually have to have both a bachelor’s and master’s and most probably a PhD, whether working independently or supervised by a research team leader. Moreover, they have to gain experience in smaller research and collaboration projects that can be pursued during the university career or outside. They have to have publications in several journals and/or scientific books, so they are supposed to have good writing and communication skills. Although their main tasks include experiment planning, monitoring and conducting, research report and paper writing, and fieldwork, many researchers also teach in universities; thus, teaching experience and skills are a plus. If they gain experience, they might as well become supervisors of junior research members of students. Moreover, they have to demonstrate their thesis, analyze data, and stay updated on their field developments. One might think that this is a lot for one person to do, but the most important thing is to stay committed to one’s subject area – the most important requisite of all. Researchers often improve important camps such as health, STEM, or social sciences. They are often engaged in themes regarding societal issues, and they often are committed to improving the world with their research. Researcher life is not easy, especially now that Coronavirus pandemics has hit the world. Nevertheless, it is a challenging job that, when done well, brings a lot of joy and satisfaction. Highchairs in universities and colleges should reward research properly to have more happy and good-working researchers.

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