COVID impacts survey report
Throughout 2020-21 we have been proud of chemistry's role in the global, multidisciplinary efforts to control and eradicate Covid-19, and of those chemical scientists who have continued to make their varied contributions to keeping us healthy and safe.
While some in our community have been out in laboratories, schools, offices, universities and elsewhere, others have continued to work while staying safely at home. What has united these groups is that most have had to change the way they work, study, and live, whilst coping with an array of other challenges presented by the pandemic.
In November 2020, during the second national lockdown, the Royal Society of Chemistry surveyed our UK-based members to understand the impact of Covid-19 on their work, education, and the future of the chemical sciences. Over 1,600 responded, and their responses paint a picture of the areas that chemical scientists are most concerned about as they face a second year of the impacts of a global pandemic.
Widespread adaptation to a changed environment: In a challenging year, RSC members have worked hard to continue and adapt the way they do their jobs and to continue their learning in more difficult circumstances.
Greater concern among academics: Academics are consistently more pessimistic about the impacts of Covid-19 than their counterparts in industry and other sectors. Academics typically report having experienced worse impacts so far than people in industry, and generally predict worse impacts of Covid-19 on their work, lives and the chemical sciences.
Personal job insecurity: There is significant concern about job loss, and those who expect to be seeking a new job in the coming year are very likely to expect the pandemic to have a negative impact on their ability to find one.
Negative impacts of lab access restrictions: Restricted access to laboratories is having a negative impact on both research and education, and many in our community anticipate potential long-term impacts on the quality of scientific research and skills and career development for early career scientists.
New graduate job prospects: Undergraduates and postgraduates (particularly those completing their studies in the next year) are very likely to expect Covid-19 to have a negative impact on their ability to find future employment, with many reporting that they have not been able to access suitable practical simulations effectively as a result of teaching moving online. Undergraduates in particular are concerned about developing the skills needed for future employment.
Developing international relationships: Our community is concerned that Covid-19 may have a negative long-term impact on international scientific relationships, particularly when it comes to developing new relationships.