The Academy Thermometer

The mental health of academics has been the subject of growing attention in recent years. This is not surprising, as it is under pressure. The Young Academy aims to gain a deeper understanding of this phenomenon and has used its ‘Academy Thermometer’ survey to do so.

The Young Academy invited all Dutch academics to take the ‘Academy Thermometer’ survey between December 2023 and April 2024. The survey consisted of a validated questionnaire that will allow The Young Academy to analyse what is going well and what could be improved. What is needed to make Dutch academia a better - or even better - workplace?

The survey investigated work satisfaction, psychological complaints (depression, anxiety, stress), motivation, perceived work/publication pressure, perceived social safety and perceived support (in the university department and at home). This information will provide valuable insights into the mental wellbeing of academics and into aspects of working in academia that have a positive or negative impact on mental health. The results will be compared with data from other large-scale population surveys in the Netherlands.

More than 2900 academics took the survey

A total of more than 2900 academics participated. Of these, 2200 completed the questionnaire. The report on the survey results is expected in the second half of 2024. The results have been anonymised and cannot be traced back to a specific university, for example.

Method and results

The Academy Thermometer is a quantitative survey making use of a questionnaire. Anyone working in academia, whether in teaching or research, could take the Academy Thermometer survey. The questionnaire took about 15 minutes to complete. The questions concerned work satisfaction and working conditions, work pressure, social safety and possible mental health complaints. Questions also addressed the impact of such factors as academic position and whether or not the individual had care responsibilities.


A list of Questions & Answers (Q&A) was drafted for this project in which the researchers anticipated questions about the survey, including how it differs from other studies addressing the mental wellbeing of academics.


Project group

The Young Academy members and alumni involved in this project are: Joeri Tijdink, Marie-José van Tol, Jim Portegies, Else Starkenburg and Daniel Oberski.





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