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Heart Lung Circ ; 29(11): 1588-1595, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-728566


BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Investment in research solutions has been demonstrated to yield health and a 9.8-fold return economic benefit. The sector, however, is severely challenged with success rates of traditional peer-reviewed funding in decline. Here, we aimed to understand the perceived challenges faced by the cardiovascular workforce in Australia prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We used an online survey distributed across Australian cardiovascular societies/councils, universities and research institutes over a period of 6 months during 2019, with 548 completed responses. Inclusion criteria included being an Australian resident or an Australian citizen who lived overseas, and a current or past student or employee in the field of cardiovascular research. RESULTS: The mean age of respondents was 42±13 years, 47% were male, 85% had a full-time position, and 40% were a group leader or laboratory head. Twenty-three per cent (23%) had permanent employment, and 82% of full-time workers regularly worked >40 hours/week. Sixty-eight per cent (68%) said they had previously considered leaving the cardiovascular research sector. If their position could not be funded in the next few years, a staggering 91% of respondents would leave the sector. Compared to PhD- and age-matched men, women were less likely to be a laboratory head and to feel they had a long-term career path as a cardiovascular researcher, while more women were unsure about future employment and had considered leaving the sector (all p<0.05). Greater job security (76%) and government and philanthropic investment in cardiovascular research (72%) were highlighted by responders as the main changes to current practices that would encourage them to stay. CONCLUSION: Strategic solutions, such as diversification of career pathways and funding sources, and moving from a competitive to a collaborative culture, need to be a priority to decrease reliance on government funding and allow cardiovascular researchers to thrive.

Biomedical Research , Cardiovascular Diseases , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Financial Management , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Research Personnel , Research Support as Topic , Workforce , Adult , Australia , Betacoronavirus , Biomedical Research/economics , Biomedical Research/organization & administration , Biomedical Research/trends , COVID-19 , Employment/economics , Employment/psychology , Female , Financial Management/methods , Financial Management/organization & administration , Financial Management/statistics & numerical data , Financing, Government , Humans , Male , Organizational Culture , Pandemics , Planning Techniques , Research Personnel/economics , Research Personnel/psychology , Research Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Research Support as Topic/organization & administration , Research Support as Topic/trends , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Workforce/statistics & numerical data