The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on researchers and research - Wave 2

Covid 19, Wave 2 results

Following on from the 'impact of Covid-19 on researchers and research activities' survey of May/June 2020 -  'Wave 1',  a 'Wave 2' survey funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), was conducted in February/March 2021 by Vitae, for respondents who granted permission to be re-contacted.

The findings from Wave 2 reveal the continued impact on researchers and their research, mental health challenges and concerns amongst most researchers about their future careers. 

Respondents were mainly researchers in UK universities and research institutes and the key findings from them include:

  • Almost half had returned to pre-Covid working hours 
  • Over 80% agreed that Covid-19 restrictions had forced them to change the way they go about their research
  • Overall, they reported less in-person contact with research group members and this has had the biggest impact on their ability to undertake planned research
  • Increased levels of writing, peer-review activities, and teaching reported and less home based research
  • Overall, more than half reported poor levels of wellbeing and mental health, with 11% of researchers having experienced bullying and harassment
  • An increased agreement from 33% in Wave 1 to 45% in Wave 2, that funders have provided clear support, however more postgraduate researchers disagreed (51%).
The report highlights the impact on postgraduate researchers (PGRs), research staff, mid-career and senior researchers as well as researchers with caring responsibilities. Whilst many researchers perceive a negative impact on career prospects long term, some have encountered unexpected opportunities and others predict some positive impacts.

Uses of data - next steps

Read: The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on researchers and their research report

Read: News item from UKRI commenting on launch of Wave 2 results