Research and teaching contracts in Catalan universities

Spanish media has often noted the various challenges that universities should overcome in order to improve their position in international quality rankings, including: the lack of public-private financing to do more and better research; stabilizing the brightest researchers; improving the coordination and cooperation with the private sector and the evolving needs of students, which do not always coincide, and reducing an excessively bureaucratic system. A critical but often ignored issue -because it’s very politically contested- is the need to reform the teaching/research labor structures in our universities, which generally consits of lecturers primarily dedicaded (and overloaded) with teaching -who are public servants-, lecturers with temporal teaching contracts and who don’t have the same rights as the previous category, researchers funded temporarily by external sources who occasionally teach, and PhD candidates. As for the first three groups, universities should seriously think of developing a more uniform and competitive employment system with similar labour rights for all, and where we all require to show a balance between teaching and research duties. Then all of us could be regularly evaluated by external scientific committees, which would encourage us to renovate our training and research abilities. This is critical if we are to adapt to a changing and dynamic global society, and to strengthen the public legitimacy of our employing institutions.

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