The Free University of Brussels (VUB) is to join with the universities of Antwerp and Ghent to carry out a study into the pressure placed on scientists by the coronavirus (Covid-19) and the effect on their research.
University researchers typically have to carry out original research of their own while collaborating on the work of others, and at the same time providing education to undergraduates and others.
Now comes the additional pressure of the measures taken to combat the spread of the virus, such as distance teaching and online examinations, and the decision of the VUB to investigate the well-being of the research community.
“And of course the day-to-day academic responsibilities go on: meetings, planning, publishing, fundraising,” a university spokesperson told Belga.
“Above all, the crisis has in many cases taken away something that is essential for education and research – peace and quiet for concentration and consideration.”
Some Belgian scientists – for example Professor Marc Van Ranst, Prof Steven Van Gucht and Prof Emmanuel André– have become household names because of the coronavirus epidemic. But at the same time, the universities point out, a great many others have been working hard behind the scenes.
The university is inviting academic staff at all levels – senior academic staff, postdoctoral and predoctoral researchers, educational and voluntary staff and emeriti – to complete a survey posted online in Dutch, French and English.