My career has continually been on an upward trajectory, despite having been only offered six-month to one-year contracts (though by the same research centre) for nearly 10 years now. I have successfully won and led projects and contribute to others’. This is a testament to everyone in my centre and our ability and doggedness in constantly applying for grants. As an applied discipline, there is significant impact in terms of policy influence as well as having high social engagement, having been invited to contribute to media (in print, radio & television), government inquiries and hearings, and present at public forums. The precarity of surviving on grant money alone, however, can be quite stressful, not just to those who rely on that income to support their salaries, but also to the directors and managers who want to keep everyone employed, especially those who show promise. This in some ways bring the centre staff closer together, partly because most of us are in the same boat but also that we work well together; on the flip side there is a significant lack of understanding from the rest of the faculty who only see that we have this constant stream of grant success and that we’re ‘lucky’ that we get to work on research all the time while complaining that their disciplines (which are not that dissimilar to ours) don’t ever get funding support so they don’t get to work on research. There is a severe case of misunderstanding of what research-only staff do, especially in this era where many universities are highly focused on lifting their international rankings, rankings that are solely contributed by research functions, which in turn bring in domestic and international students.

 

 

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