Time to Re-Think the Divide Between Academic and Support Staff

Written by: Marta Teperek, Maria Cruz, Danny Kingsley
Published on: Apr 18, 2022
Category:

woman writing on a glass board in the office
Photo credit: NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe Stock

Professionals at research organizations are typically split into two categories: ‘academic staff’ and ‘support staff’. As professionals working in research environments in the Netherlands and Australia, we have straddled the dividing lines between these conventional divisions.

We’ve also met many other professionals who have operated across this divide. And we all have worked as ‘conventional’ academics.

In recent years, we have seen ‘support’ jobs become more important at research organizations, including roles such as data stewards, research software engineers, scientific community managers and programme managers. We have seen how a diversity of roles and contributions drives progress and success in research and innovation.

We have come to see the sharp distinction between ‘academics’ and ‘support staff’ as a barrier to effective research because it discourages a culture of collaboration and appreciation of a diversity of roles and contributions.

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