Higher Education Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 273–296 | Cite as

Well-Being of Early-Career Researchers: Insights from a Swedish Survey

  • Carine SignoretEmail author
  • Elaine Ng
  • Stéphanie Da Silva
  • Ayco Tack
  • Ulrikke Voss
  • Helga H. Lidö
  • Cédric Patthey
  • Madelene Ericsson
  • Jenny Hadrévi
  • Chanchal Balachandran
Original Article


Several studies have documented the importance of optimal work situation and the general well-being of early-career researchers (ECRs) for enhancing the academic performance of universities. Yet, most studies focused on specific categories of ECRs, or on specific academic disciplines as well as on specific outcomes. With this study, we recognize the need for a broader sample encompassing different categories of ECRs across academic disciplines. In a national survey of Swedish universities, the National Junior Faculty of Sweden (NJF) collected data from ECRs in order to study the influence of work situation and well-being on perceived scientific environment. We observed that work situation and well-being are interdependent and jointly influence each other in shaping the conditions for ideal scientific environment. Importantly, we employ structural equation model (SEM) analysis to account for the endogenous relationship between work situation and personal well-being in predicting perceived scientific environment. Results from SEM indicate that support from the university, work time management, job clarity, contract length and quality of life satisfaction were related to the perceived possibility of conducting the best science. Our research also highlighted individual differences across demographic factors and contract length in the perceived work situation and the possibility of conducting the best science.


early-career researchers survey academia well-being work situation Sweden 



The authors are thankful for help from the members of NJF (GU, LiU, LU, UmU, UU, KI) for preparing the survey and sending the link to the web survey at each local future/junior faculty, as well as for useful discussions in order to prepare the survey and discuss the interpretation of the results (GU, LiU, LU, UmU, UU, KI and ÖU). We would also like to thank the participation of the respondents to the web survey.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carine Signoret
    • 1
    • 10
    Email author
  • Elaine Ng
    • 1
    • 10
  • Stéphanie Da Silva
    • 2
    • 10
  • Ayco Tack
    • 3
  • Ulrikke Voss
    • 4
    • 11
  • Helga H. Lidö
    • 5
    • 12
  • Cédric Patthey
    • 6
    • 13
  • Madelene Ericsson
    • 7
    • 13
  • Jenny Hadrévi
    • 8
    • 13
  • Chanchal Balachandran
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Linnaeus Centre HEAD, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Department of Behavioural Sciences and LearningLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Surgery, Faculty of Health SciencesLinköping University, County Council of ÖstergötlandLinköpingSweden
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant SciencesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Experimental Medical Sciences, Future FacultyLund UniversityLundSweden
  5. 5.Addiction Biology Unit, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Institute of Neuroscience and PhysiologyThe Sahlgrenska Academy at University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  6. 6.Umeå Center for Molecular MedicineUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  7. 7.Department of Medical Biosciences, Physiological ChemistryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  8. 8.Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicines, Occupational and Environmental MedicineUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  9. 9.Department of Management and Engineering (IEI), The Institute for Analytical SociologyLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  10. 10.Junior Faculty LinköpingLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  11. 11.Future Faculty LundLund UniversityLundSweden
  12. 12.Future Faculty GothenburgSahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg UniversityGothenburgSweden
  13. 13.Future Faculty UmeåUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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