Hop, some time for french politics (don't flee yet, this might be interesting).
Over the recent years in France, there is a global trend to privatize a LOT of previously public-owned services. Transportation, energy production... and public research funded by the state is no exception.
Some academics wrote a statement about this. They are planning a team application to one of the french "research quality assessment group" http://rogueesr.fr/hceres-en/
Neg about academia work condition
I fully support their action. As a young PhD student, working in french academia is a bleak perspective. Competition is insanely strong, salaries are quite shitty when compared to engineers, analysts, or people with a technical background and about the same years of study.
Psychological hazards in research, which are already quite huge, would certainly increase when removing material and intellectual liberty for researchers.
All recent reforms are destroying what is making academia unique, engaging, rewarding and fun. I think that researching knowledge for a society is a wonderful job. Teaching, when voluntary, is a genuine gift. It empowers people, helping them to reassert their situation, giving them tools and strengths to face the future.
What is happening in research (and other public sectors) is a colonization. All are colonized by a foul mindset: looking for material value, immediate profit and systematic exploitation.
Well guess what: trying to quantify how valuable is a knowledge, how much money an idea may give... it simply does not work, and I think it is wrong to think this.
Favouring ideas that are economically rewarding will simply enslave research to economy, preventing to look for new perspectives.
If I were a scholar on economical history and philosophy, I would say that it's just capitalism trying to devour another field. That after reaping everything it could from our diseases, our culture, our food, our emotions, it goes for our knowledge and spirit.
But I am none of those. I am just a poor PhD student raging against this state of affair, and hoping that things will change.
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