Cactus Foundation Mental Health Survey

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Participating organizations

Partnering to create a healthier and more nurturing research culture

IndiaBioscience has partnered with Cactus Foundation to understand what brings researchers joy and what causes them immense stress in their work life, and what research-associated institutions can do to improve the research culture globally. As part of the partnership, IndiaBioscience will receive aggregate results from their respondents, but will not have access to individual responses or any personal information of participants.

Joy and Stress Triggers

A global survey on mental health among researchers

What's working and what isn't about the existing research culture? How can we create a more nurturing environment for researchers to thrive? Take the survey to tell us what you think!


Did you know?

There are 7.8 million
researchers in a world
of 7.7 billion

3 of 4 faculty positions
have no job security

1 in 8 grant applications
gets accepted

Researchers are 6 times
likely to experience
anxiety and depression

Your voice can make all the difference.
Participate in the first ever large-scale global
survey of researchers to help us initiate change.

Your voice can make all the difference

Why this survey is important

survey quote

Having worked closely with more than half a million researchers over 17+ years, we deeply understand the challenges they face in their personal and professional lives. We believe that this survey will bring the cause of mental health in academia into a global focus and push universities and research institutions worldwide to work towards addressing this problem and creating a more positive research culture.

Why This Survey Is Important

Clarinda Cerejo

VP, Content & Community, Editage; Editor-in-Chief, Editage Insights;
Cactus Communications

Why you should participate

If you are a university / research group
  • Make a visible commitment to the wellbeing of researchers
  • Contribute to a global discussion that can improve the research environment
  • Get early, customized access to survey findings and trends
If you are a researcher
  • Actively contribute real-value inputs for improving your work environment
  • Gain productive insights on managing the highs and lows at work

Participating organizations

We are inviting universities, research institutions, and organizations to support
this cause and be distribution partners for this survey

  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations
  • Participating organizations

5000+ researchers have already shared their views

Here are some of their comments from the survey

Policies need to be put in place for postdoc working conditions, e.g. regulation of teaching and supervision obligations... I'm still just a postdoc on a fixed-term contract, but I'm supervising staff/students and running 3 projects to the same level as my tenured colleagues. So... the university gets my grant overhead money, and don't have to pay me a penny or offer me anything permanent.
Be aware of the stresses that the graduate students are under, and don't assume that because they're doing a good job of handling the work they have, that they are automatically able to take up additional projects.
I think the organizations in academia are already doing their best. The problem is the overall academic culture: how progress is evaluated at a global scale and the little government funding available.
The culture needs to change. The expectation that everyone needs to be constantly working, no matter what is incredibly damaging. Publications need to not be the only metric of success.
Value impact, not impact factor. Realise that pressure and exploitation don't lead to the best science. Value people holistically and not just as data producers. Abolish the old boys club.
Hold supervisors accountable for their PhD students' welfare. Put in place mentor training that takes into account issues of being a foreign national, and the toxic culture in academia. Give awards to profs/students that advocate and create change around mental health.

Join the conversation. Spread the word!

The people behind this initiative

Core Team

This project is being driven by individuals who are passionate about researcher success and giving
researchers a voice to make academia better.

Clarinda Cerejo
VP, Content & Community, Editage; Editor-in-Chief, Editage Insights, Cactus Communications
Mriganka Awati
Academic Research Specialist, Editage Insights, Cactus Communications
Andrea Hayward
Senior Editor, Global Community Engagement, Editage Insights, Cactus Communications

Advisors & Collaborators (14)

We have collaborated with active researchers and mental health advocates to make this survey more powerful.

Dr. Efrain (Efra) E. Rivera-Serrano
Scientist, science communicator, founder of #UniqueScientists on Twitter, PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina State University
Dr. Furaha Asani
Mental health advocate, researcher, teacher, creative writer, PhD in Infection and Immunity
Dr. Caven Mcloughlin
Fulbright Scholar, academic trainer, journal editor, Professor Emeritus, Kent State University
Rianna Walcott
Writer, activist, musician, and London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP)-funded research scholar, King's College, London
Dr. Lorie Owens
Developmental Editor of The Ohio State University's Theory into Practice journal, Muskingum University graduate studies lecturer
Dr. Samara Linton
Doctor, Writer, Editor of The Colour of Madness, BBC Production Trainee 2019-20
Dr. Elliot C. Brown
Neuroscientist, scientific advisor, mental health advocate, Senior Research Fellow, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Prasha Sarwate Dutra
Founder, Podcaster, Keynote Speaker, Diversity & Inclusion Advocate, Engineer, STEMinist
Dr. Nadia Idri
Researcher, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bejaia, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Studies in Language Culture and Society, EMICOB Research Team Chair
in the LESMS Lab
Dr. Fanuel Muindi
Founder of STEM Advocacy Institute (SAi), Assistant Director
of Graduate Programs
at Harvard University
Victor Ugo
Medical Doctor, Founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, Senior Campaign Officer at United for Global Mental Health
Dr. Mary McMillan
Lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University of New England, Armidale - BSc (Hons), PhD, Grad Cert Tertiary Education
Dr. Emily Moye
PhD in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, post-doctoral fellowship at Auburn University, mental health advocate
Joyce Wangari
Doctor of Psychology, PsyD, Clinical Psychology Candidate

Stories about mental health in academia

When I first got diagnosed with anxiety and mild depression, I felt ashamed of it. What did I possibly have to be depressed about? I have amazing friends and family, a PhD in a great institute in a great lab, which I enjoy. I love science, so why am I anxious about it all the time.
Dr. Erica Hawkinspostdoctoral scientist

Unveiling the secrets of an anxious scientist

Read story

How I took care of my mental health during my PhD

Read story

I am telling this story not to discourage anyone from doing a PhD, but to point out how important it is to take care of your mental health. While I have come a long way from the anxious student... I admit that doing a PhD is still not always easy.
Charlott RepschlagerPhD student, King's College London

When I was diagnosed with depression less than a year into my PhD studies, I was terrified. My mind was racing with questions: What would people think? Would people avoid working with me? Would I be able to complete my PhD after all?
Heidi GardnerResearch Fellow, University of Aberdeen

If academic life is so difficult, why do I do it?

Read story

Cactus Foundation is an initiative by Cactus Communications aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and it aims to help researchers grow and create global impact through their research.

It was established to build a more just, equal, and inclusive society by providing grants, business support, education, and other initiatives to the global research community as well as to aspiring next-generation researchers.

Our aim is to contribute to improvements in the quality of life and the greater prosperity of human society. Our commitment to society compels us to create meaningful change that is not only based on appearances but on enabling real impact to solve society's problems.