Academic researchers in STEM (and other fields) must divide their time and attention between research and teaching. Some academics, particularly women, work part-time employment, but must do so within the context of a system designed for full-time work.
In a study published in 2012, O’Brien and Hapgood adapted common ecological models to learn more about how these varied work-schedules affect the duration of the start-up phase of research. The authors found that the start-up time for scientists devoting 100% of their time to research was not much shorter than dividing their time evenly between research and teaching, but working full-time (50% research). But, part-time work divided between research and teaching (25% research) increases start-up time by nearly 5 years. The authors also propose strategies that may help institutions and individuals better support women’s careers in STEM fields.