What is the aim of this survey?

We want to create the largest ever benchmark on researcher workplace wellbeing and mental health in the context of sustainability of academic working conditions. Specifically, we want to assess both positive indicators such as work engagement and job satisfaction , as well as negative indicators, such as work addiction and burnout. Next to these indicators, we will survey contextual antecedents of mental health, i.e. how does variance in the departmental, institutional, and country contexts in which researchers are working relate to the mental health indicators.

Why should I participate in this study?

This study is conducted by researchers for researchers. Our explicit aim is to change the academic system from within, in a way that allows for healthy and sustainable working conditions. By providing us with information about your mental health and working conditions, we will be able to draw inferences that help us evidence and inform recommendations for policy changes. Your efforts will help us to ensure adequate representation of your institution and country, and improve the odds that we will ultimately have enough data to formulate institution- and country-specific recommendations specific to your context and circumstances.

Why should my institution support this survey?

We will provide every institution with a sufficiently high response rate with a private, institution-specific report containing aggregate results from respondents working at your institution. This will allow you to assess the needs of the researchers at your institution and make decisions about what services need to be developed in order to meet those needs based on empirical evidence rather than intuition. The institution specific results will help you to provide help where it is most needed and to identify what are likely to be the most effective measures. 

Since our survey aims to become a benchmark for workplace wellbeing and mental health in academic institutions across Europe, you will be able to compare the results from your institution to other institutions in your country and across Europe. Our survey is built by active researchers who are experts in the field of Work and Organizational Psychology. Researchers involved in creating and conducting the survey follow an objective process and are far removed from your institution. This means that there is no conflict of interest or dual role between the researchers that conduct the survey and the institutions that are assessed.

Lastly, we work non-commercially and provide institution specific results free of charge.

How can my institution support this survey?

We aim to reach as many people as possible with our survey, reaching a representative sample of respondents within every institution. To this end, we will distribute the invitation to take part in the survey both via social media as well as within institutions. If you are interested in disseminating our survey within your institution, we will ask you to send an email with the link to the survey to researchers within your institution. It would be extremely helpful if this email could be accompanied by a message of your institution’s management that emphasizes the importance of the survey and encourages participation. If you want to disseminate the survey in your institution or have additional questions regarding the survey, don’t hesitate to contact us at staircase-surveytibeu.

What is involved in participating in the study? 

The study involves filling out an online survey that will take approximately 15 minutes. The questions will include measures of mental health, such as symptoms of depression, as well as measures of wellbeing such as work satisfaction. In addition, we will ask respondents questions about their work as an academic, such as how many hours they work per week and how much of their time they spend on different tasks. Lastly, we will ask participants demographic questions such as their age, gender and discipline. See a full list of questions here. All questions are voluntary and respondents can skip questions at any point in the survey.

Respondents will have the possibility to voluntarily provide us with identifiers of their profiles on ORCID, LinkedIn,Twitter, and Mastodon at the end of the survey. This information will be stored separately from their survey responses. It allows us to link mental health and working conditions to other observables such as research performance, career paths, and sentiment on social media.

Who is behind this survey?

The study is conducted by researchers within the EU Funded COST Action CA19117 “Researcher Mental Health Observatory” - ReMO. The action focuses on wellbeing and mental health within academia, a theme of strategic importance for the European Research Area. You can find more details about ReMO on the project website. The institution responsible for coordinating this survey is TIB – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Technik und Naturwissenschaften in Hannover, Germany. The survey was built by a group of 30 active researchers from across Europe. These researchers are professionals in the areas of organizational psychology, science policy and data science and care deeply about working conditions in academia. The Survey Special Interest Group within ReMO is headed by Dr. Jana Lasser based at the Graz University of Technology and Dr. Stefan Mol, based at the University of Amsterdam.

Who is the target group of this survey?

We aim to reach researchers working predominantly in European countries. We include all researchers starting at doctoral researchers up to the faculty and leadership level that work in university and non-university research performing institutions. We do not include non-scientific staff, researchers working in industry or alumni that do not work in research anymore. We will focus our dissemination efforts on researchers residing in one of the 37 countries represented within the “Researcher Mental Health Observatory” (ReMO) COST action. See the ReMO management committee for a comprehensive list. Nevertheless, we want to be as inclusive as possible and invite countries within and outside Europe that are not represented within ReMO yet to also distribute the survey.

The ReMO COST Action on Researcher Mental Health is funded by the COST Association with support from the Horizon Europe Framework Programme of the EU under the project number CA19117.

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.