Prof Nazneen Rahman, who was head of genetics and epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), was given leave of absence last November after a letter signed by 45 current and former employees accused her of “recurrent bullying and harassment”. The complainants claimed the ICR had failed to take appropriate action for years despite “multitudes of oral and written complaints” against Rahman at both the institute and the Marsden.
This is not an isolated case and concern has been growing about bullying in the world of academia. Earlier this month, the scientific journal Nature reported that the Max Planck Society, a prestigious research body in Germany, was investigating fresh allegations of bullying and sexual harassment. PhD students are thought to be particularly vulnerable because they depend on their supervisors for publications and references.
This can create a dangerous power imbalance. Share your experiences We want to hear from academic staff about the problem of bullying. Have you faced it? How good was your institution at responding to it? Do universities need to do more to tackle the problem?
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