Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hard Labor.

Graduate students are a miserable bunch. They are overworked, underpaid and often poorly treated. The European Union has now enacted a "career charter" that encourages proper treatment of graduate students. In Europe, students often work without any contractual agreements between themselves and their advisor. As a result, such students are often at the mercy of their research mentor. The charter specifies that young scientists are to treated as professionals. What a concept...

The EU will introduce the policy on March 11th, with high hopes that the 25 member body will adopt it.
There exists widespread skepticism that the charter will do little to improve working conditions for young scientists in Europe. Still, it's a big step forward.

Graduate students perform a majority of the cutting edge research that is eventually vital to our nation's economy. Considering the important role young scientists play in shaping scientific advancement, why doesn't this country do more to protect them? I say if it's good enough for the EU, it's most certainly good enough for us.

To read about the EU career charter read
here. Note: This will only work if you have a subscription to Nature magazine. So much for open access, sheesh!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea!! We need to follow suit with the EU. It's ridiculous how we treat our leaders of tomorrow. Individuals in the workforce are protected by corporate policies, the same should hold true with graduate students.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

The question is, how long will it take before this country does anything even remotely similar to the EU?

11:41 PM  
Anonymous little john said...

Why does the government have to do this? Why cannot the altruistic professors and universities take care of these young people. Oh, because they really don't care about graduate students. They are the professor's indentured servants. The blame is with the institutions, not government or society.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

I actually agree, little john. Unfortunately, such institutions have demonstrated time and again that they simply cannot police themselves. The government steps up for corporate regulation, why can't they do the same with academic intitutions?

2:32 PM  

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