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Lack of strategic funding and long-term job security threaten to have profound effects on cardiovascular researcher retention in Australia


Climie, RE and Wu, JHY and Calkin, AC and Chapman, N and Inglis, SC and Mirabito Colafella, KM and Picone, DS and Tan, JTM and Thomas, E and Viola, HM and Wise, SG and Murphy, AJ and Nelson, MR and Nicholls, SJ and Hool, LC and Doyle, K and Figtree, GA and Marques, FZ, on behalf of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Lack of strategic funding and long-term job security threaten to have profound effects on cardiovascular researcher retention in Australia, Heart Lung and Circulation, 29, (11) pp. 1588-1595. ISSN 1443-9506 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.hlc.2020.07.010


Background: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Investment in research solutions has been demonstrated to yield health and a 9.8-fold return economic benefit. The sector, however, is severely challenged with success rates of traditional peer-reviewed funding in decline. Here, we aimed to understand the perceived challenges faced by the cardiovascular workforce in Australia prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We used an online survey distributed across Australian cardiovascular societies/councils, universities and research institutes over a period of 6 months during 2019, with 548 completed responses. Inclusion criteria included being an Australian resident or an Australian citizen who lived overseas, and a current or past student or employee in the field of cardiovascular research.

Results: The mean age of respondents was 4213 years, 47% were male, 85% had a full-time position, and 40% were a group leader or laboratory head. Twenty-three per cent (23%) had permanent employment, and 82% of full-time workers regularly worked >40 hours/week. Sixty-eight per cent (68%) said they had previously considered leaving the cardiovascular research sector. If their position could not be funded in the next few years, a staggering 91% of respondents would leave the sector. Compared to PhD- and age-matched men, women were less likely to be a laboratory head and to feel they had a long-term career path as a cardiovascular researcher, while more women were unsure about future employment and had considered leaving the sector (all p<0.05). Greater job security (76%) and government and philanthropic investment in cardiovascular research (72%) were highlighted by responders as the main changes to current practices that would encourage them to stay.

Conclusion: Strategic solutions, such as diversification of career pathways and funding sources, and moving from a competitive to a collaborative culture, need to be a priority to decrease reliance on government funding and allow cardiovascular researchers to thrive.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cardiovascular, funding, tender equity, workforce
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Climie, RE (Dr Rachel Climie)
UTAS Author:Chapman, N (Dr Niamh Chapman)
UTAS Author:Picone, DS (Dr Dean Picone)
UTAS Author:Nelson, MR (Professor Mark Nelson)
ID Code:140982
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-09-17
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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