Tertiary Education Action Group Aotearoa (TEAGA) launched a campaign to increase funding for postdoctoral opportunities earlier this month, along with the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) and the New Zealand International Students’ Association (NZISA).
In a letter to Associate Minister for Research, Science, and Innovation Dr Ayesha Verrall, the three groups called for a number of actions, including making the one-off Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Science Whitinga Fellowship a permanent contestable fund, providing two funding rounds per year, funding 60 fellowships per year and widening eligibility to include those on post-study work visas or those who have qualified for residency.
“The tertiary sector has faced some significant fiscal challenges in the past year, which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in opportunities for those nearing the end of their doctoral studies,” the letter reads. “In the past year, Universities have been lowering staff numbers and initiating recruitment freezes, including the cessation of casual and fixed-term contracts which early career academics rely on to survive. This has effectively reduced an already fiercely competitive career path to a nigh-on impossibility for our recent doctoral graduates.”
The groups argue that increasing funding and implementing the changes they’ve recommended would provide more opportunities for those finishing their doctoral studies, while also allowing universities to remain “internationally competitive” through investment in the area.
TEAGA, along with the NZUSA and the NZISA, will be continuing with their campaign this year. To read their letter to the Minister and learn more about the campaign, head to the TEAGA – Tertiary Education Action Group Aotearoa Facebook page.