Editorial - The Way Forward

Newsletter

It is a daunting task to write an editorial that will echo the sentiments of a diverse audience such as that of the MCAA. Even more so, if the editorial is for a special issue focused on rebuilding bridges in a post-pandemic scenario. In the final stages of any crisis, global thinkers, policymakers, and researchers usually come up with opinion pieces that suggest a way forward. Numerous articles popped up in the beginning of March 2021 that almost signalled that the pandemic was over. Some articles even described how businesses and workplaces should look ahead to a postpandemic world. Yet, in a few months, the situation collapsed again with a lethal second wave in Asia and South America.

The pandemic has not been a homogeneous experience throughout the world. The disparity is evident even with critical issues such as vaccine distribution. Researchers, too, weren't immune to the effects the crisis had at various levels. As a community we battled a multitude of problems such as cancelled contracts, delayed appointments, career breaks, media scrutiny, and, in some cases, even threats. Producing a special issue that focuses on rebuilding bridges after this crisis is therefore a challenge, especially for a community like the MCAA that has a global presence.

It is indeed difficult to look ahead in the midst of a crisis. However, approximately 20 months have passed since the first lockdowns and shutdowns started across the world. The considerable passage of time has allowed new stories to develop. Stories about how researchers managed to steer their projects, how they overcame numerous hurdles, what are their experiences that can inform future policymaking. When the lead guest-editor of this special issue, Oleksandra Ivashchenko, pitched the idea to the editorial team, it was immediately accepted as the central theme of the special issue.

This special issue is by no means a generalisation of the experiences of the research community, but I am sure that in every story shared by our incredible members there are some aspects and experiences that will resonate with a larger audience. This article turned out to be more of a disclaimer than a traditional editorial, but this is inadvertently one of the pressures of curating a newsletter that represents a wide spectrum of members. Here is the final disclaimer mixed with a bit of hope: this special issue does not offer a playbook to a post pandemic world, and I doubt there can ever be one. However, we need to set up an environment in which the research workforce can thrive and the stories in this special issue may contribute towards developing the very blueprint needed to create such an environment.

Sugosh R.Prabhu
Assistant Guest Editor
MCAA Editorial Team
sugoshprabhu@gmail.com

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