Examination of Witnesses (Questions 32-39)|
WEDNESDAY 3 JULY 2002
32. Thank you very much indeed. You have seen
how the questioning goes. It is very nice to see you here. Welcome,
Clare, we have known each other for a long time. I see you have
had 54 contracts in 20 years, is that right?
(Dr Goodess) Yes, although I do now have
an indefinite contract.
33. Is that a British record, do you know?
(Dr Goodess) No, unfortunately not. I think the AUT
certainly knows of worse.
Chairman: Let us start off with Des.
34. Did you all expect the kind of life as a
research gypsy on short term contracts when you embarked on your
(Dr Rugg) I think when I first started I was interested
in doing research, just being a research scientist. At that time
I thought that I would continue to be funded on short term contracts.
As I realised that I was becoming more successful at doing research
my ambitions grew and I decided that I really wanted to pursue
a career in academic research. I did a PhD at that time and since
then it has become more difficult to maintain my research funding,
although I think I have been reasonably successful in terms of
22 years on short-term funding. To answer the question, I was
aware at the beginning, I thought that if I worked hard and I
produced the goods then I would be successful and I feel that
has not happened.
35. You are a senior lecturer now, is that a
(Dr Rugg) No. I have got about 14 months left. I have
people working on short-term contracts on grants that I have attracted.
I am no longer in a position to actually apply for funding to
continue their positions so not only will I be out of a job in
14 months' time but so will they.
36. It would seem superfluous to ask whether
you have been happy with that aspect of your career. I know from
personal experience it is extremely stressful. I take it you have
a family, do you?
(Dr Rugg) I do, yes.
37. Do all of you have family responsibilities?
(Dr Goodess) No, I do not.
38. Clearly it must make life very difficult
arranging your family life, mortgages, whatever, if not impossible?
(Mr Patton) It is not impossible. Ten years ago it
was extremely difficult. I have applied recently for a new mortgage
this year and I have found it much easier to obtain. However the
feelings of security and the confidence I have about maintaining
the ability to repay it have not changed over the last ten years.
39. What do you blame for the mill you have
been put through?
(Dr Goodess) The universities being poor managers
both of money and of people. The research money which comes into
universities is actually a large pool. My small unit is bringing
in three quarters of a million pounds a year, the school is bringing
in five million a year. If that money is pooled it could support
a good team of researchers rather than having individuals tied
to individual contracts. I think there is a poor management issue
at that level within the universities.