I’ve been attending Alife XV all week in extremely hot and sweaty Cancun, Mexico. Yesterday I gave a talk on my paper with Nic Geard and Ian Wood titled Job Insecurity in Academic Research Employment: An Agent-Based Model.
I really enjoyed giving the talk — I spent a great deal of time beforehand thinking about how to introduce the work in proper context, and in the end I felt it worked reasonably well. I had some great questions which raised important points that we’ll be taking into account in the next iteration of the model. I’ve had a number of colleagues share their enthusiasm about the topic since the talk, so I’m really pleased and hopeful this work will keep advancing.
Thinking about the feedback I received, I think the most important next step is to develop the competitive funding aspects of the model in more detail:
- Instead of an optimistic world with research funding that scales with population, have a pot of funding which grows at a slower rate, leading to a gradually more selective competitive process
- Test possible implementations of more varied grants — larger/smaller grants which can produce more postdocs, grants of a longer duration, etc.
- Possibly too ambitious for the near future, but implementing a system of teaching quality/student funding which also requires time allocation from the agents would be an interesting direction to take this