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This brief explores some of the drivers of precarity that are inherently built-in to our current contestable research funding model; although not by design. Herein, it is also highlighted why funding research and indeed researchers, 100% from contestable sources, does not reflect the reality of what academic researchers do with their time. In reality, researchers need to use a % of their time to do research-related (research-support) tasks, career-building tasks as well as research community contributions that are not explicitly described within the research projects that actually supply 100% of their salary. The system also fails to recognise that research is a continuum of knowledge-building rather than a series of individual research projects. With no element of stable funding base in the current system, the ability of researchers to carry out knowledge-building is compromised and there is therefore knowledge-loss. Precarity of our research workforce also drives skill-loss and is subsequently wasting money and resources. The proposal of a base grant model goes some way to recognise the reality of how research is actually carried out and therefore support a more efficient, flexible system, putting people and their talent first.
Precarity in academia is tied to the contestable funding model.docx