3 minutes

By Miguel Vicente Mariño, University of Valladolid.

Email address: miguel.vicente@uva.es
Postal Address: Plaza de la Universidad, 1. 40005 Segovia (España)

Working conditions in academia are an object of study that should be taken into account when assessing mental health in academic institutions. The definition of an academic career offering certainty to those who choose this path of professional development is necessary for the consolidation of a scientific and technological system capable of responding to contemporary challenges: if the environment in which research groups develop their daily work does not meet the minimum criteria for occupational health, and if financial compensation does not guarantee a stable employment situation, the chances of achieving useful results in an increasingly competitive environment, such as the Global Academy , are considerably reduced.

The Spanish scientific system is built on university structures as the main pillar, with a predominance of public entities over private entities. Therefore, the production of scientific knowledge and innovation is in the hands of teams who combine these tasks with their teaching roles. Investment in science in Spain is lower than the average for European countries in its closest environment, setting budgetary improvement as a usual political promise, so far unfulfilled. The analysis of working conditions in Spanish universities is presented here as an interesting resource to identify some of the characteristics that define the current situation, as well as an agenda with the challenges that will determine the future in the short, medium and long term.

This communication will expose the basic characteristics of the academic career in Spain, explaining the different routes open to teaching and research staff, and identifying their shortcomings and weaknesses from a comparative prism with the rest of European countries. The precariousness in the growing sectors of university teaching staff, coupled with the aging of the teaching and research staff exacerbated by the freezing of public job vacancies in the years following the global financial crisis of 2008, means that a formed by young researchers cannot find means for their professional and personal development in the classrooms or the Spanish laboratories.

Institutional analysis of the regulatory framework and work with official statistical data sources will allow us to identify threats and weaknesses, all associated with occupational risks of a psychosocial nature, and with unavoidable socio-economic terrain. The difficulty of the Spanish Academy in attracting foreign talents and, to a lesser extent, in retaining the talents trained in its own institutions, is valid proof of the need to improve the working conditions where scientific knowledge is produced and broadcast in this country.