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Project: States of Precarity

Project team: Rachael Squire (RHUL), Johanne Bruun (Birmingham), Anna Jackman (Reading), Rachel Colls (Durham), Peter Forman (Northumbria), Harriet Hawkins (RHUL), in collaboration with The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (RGS-IBG).

Aims of the study: States of Precarity is a research project that will explore the varied effects of precarity in UK university academic Geography. Working in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (RGS-IBG), the project seeks to better understand the immediate and long term effects of precarity on staff, research postgraduates, and those who have chosen to leave academia; to provide a snapshot of the far-reaching implications of workplace precarity on the discipline; to inform the development of best practice guidelines for UK Geography Departments.

Why have I been invited to take part and what do I have to do if I take part in the study? Working in collaboration with the RGS-IBG, all geographers currently or previously employed and/or undertaking doctoral study in UK universities are invited to take part in this survey. Participants will be able to self-select one pathway most suitable for their experience (from: PhD candidate; Fixed term contract, teaching only/focused; Fixed term contract, research only; Fixed term contract, research and teaching; Permanent contract, teaching only/teaching focused; Permanent contract, research only; Permanent contract, research and teaching; Not currently employed in academia). Taking part involves participants completing an online survey asking you about your background, and experiences and/or views on fixed term and precarious employment. The survey should take 15-20 minutes to complete.

Timescale: This online survey will be open to complete from Monday 24 July to Monday 20 December 2023.

Consent: In order to participate in the online survey, the researchers will seek your informed consent. This will involve you reading this participant information sheet and completing the consent questions below.

How will my personal data be managed and used? The data captured in this survey will be anonymous unless you opt to leave your name and email in the final question in order to express an interest in participating in further project research activities. If you provide your name and email this information will be shared between the members of the research team named above and any associated research assistants at the organisations named. The project will adhere to all relevant UK data laws. In its collection, storage and dissemination of data, the project will follow the UK General Data Protection Regulation's (GDPR) principles of lawfulness, fairness and transparency (accessible here). The project will adhere to the requirements of the UK Data Protection Act (2018) (accessible here). Your personal data will be obtained lawfully, will be obtained only as is appropriate (i.e. not excessive) for the project, will be used for the stated purpose, will be processed in accordance with the above laws, and will be captured, stored and communicated in a way that protects it against unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss or destruction. The dataset from the study (i.e. data from all participants) will be preserved and made available in anonymised form, so that other researchers can consult and re-use it. Anonymous excerpts from responses may be quoted or paraphrased in project materials (e.g. reports, journal articles, blog posts, web pages).

What happens if I decide to withdraw? No survey data will be submitted until you click 'submit' at the end of the survey. As we will be collecting anonymous data via an online survey (or if you opt to provide your name and email in order to express an interest in participating in further project activities, this will be pseudonymised and link coded), there will not be an opportunity to withdraw your input once you have clicked 'submit' to enter your responses.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part? Participants will be asked about potentially sensitive issues such as fixed term contracts and precarious employment. Responding to the survey is voluntary.

What are the possible benefits of taking part? We are interested in learning about your views on and experiences of fixed term contracts and precarious employment, with the aim of better understanding the immediate and long term effects of workplace precarity on staff and research postgraduates. Your contribution greatly aids our understanding.

Who do I contact if I have any questions or concerns about this research?If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

Only the project team (see above) will have access to this account.



After you have read the participant information form, we need to confirm your informed consent to participate in the research. Please read the below and click to indicate your response to each statement:


This part of the survey uses a table of questions, 

I have read and understood the Participant Information Sheet
I have been given the opportunity (via email) to ask questions about the research study
I agree to take part in the research study. Taking part will include participation in this online survey
I understand that this survey collects anonymous responses. If I choose to share any personal details (i.e. name and email address in order to express an interest in participating in further project research activities), I understand that these will not be shared with people outside the research team
I understand that my anonymous survey responses may be quoted or paraphrased in project publications, reports, web pages, and other research outputs - but that anything quoted will be anonymised (i.e. no personal or identifying information will be included)
I understand that the data collected in this study will be preserved and made available in anonymised form, so that it can be consulted and re-used by others
I understand that taking part in this research is voluntary
I understand that once I have entered my responses (by clicking 'submit' at the end of the survey) I will not be able to withdraw my responses