Careful contingency plans that preventively identify risks can help research projects run smoothly. This can help reduce stress and the impact of disruption for researchers with limited time contracts. During the pandemic, access to laboratories and research facilities was restricted, fieldwork was canceled, and domestic and international travel was reduced. The ramifications for those who were halfway through data collection and analysis were profound and great effort will be required to reschedule or replace lost opportunities. For example, crossing open seasonal polar gateways to access study regions cannot be instantly reestablished simply because the lockdown has ended. Various factors are at play as we restart our science and not all scientists have been affected in the same way. Therefore, interventions are needed to level the playing field for the current early career cohort so that we can maintain the breadth of their expertise and diversity.
Small changes could offer huge improvements to the stability, resilience and recovery of the project. Priority spaces could be reserved during field trips for early-career researchers who may have missed out on opportunities in the field due to unforeseen circumstances. Such programs could even transcend institutes and borders, for example DueSouth5 The network disseminates information on other fieldwork opportunities in the Southern Ocean, enabling the development of practical skills or restructured primary research. The standard shift from desktops to laptops would give students and post-docs the adaptability needed to easily move from institute work to remote or flexible work. In the event of widespread disruption, clear communication from funding agencies and research institutes would help bring stability and reassurance to researchers. Additionally, a financial safety net to tailor projects or support international researchers who fall between state support systems could help allay the concerns of those with precarious funding associated with short-term contracts. .
Pandemics, personal health, life changes and parental leave can all interrupt work life in unexpected ways. While learned from the experiences of the pandemic, in less turbulent times, these measures would also provide a systematic catch-all that would prevent individuals from falling through the cracks created when inflexible project deadlines and adversity. clash.