Positive vision

September 24, 2004

I have a great deal of sympathy and empathy with the difficulties described in the Soapbox on contract researchers (August 6). I was on fixed-term research contracts for the first eight years of my career.

But the bleak picture can be improved. I am one of 14 members of research staff on open contracts in my department. It took many years of hard work but our experience suggests that it is possible to implement better conditions for research staff if a department has the will and vision, even in the current economic climate.

Graeme Douglas
Birmingham University

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