You've read the 'DIY' series --now take the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of the contract researcher! The following sources of information are by no means comprehensive, but provide a starting point for seeking out those elusive 'hard' facts about life on a short-term contract.
I just can't get enough, or 'how many contracts?!'
Data on job security and the mobility of contract research staff (CRS) are scarce, but take a look at the results of a SHEFC-funded survey  of the experiences of 700 CRS at the University of Edinburgh. The University's CRS Information page  shows how Edinburgh is responding to some of the issues raised by the survey.
Perceptions and realities
Some useful data and commentary  on the career orientations and aspirations of CRS in Scotland, conducted by the Institute of Employment Research at the University of Warwick. Final report due in December 2000. A good reality check.
Please sir, may I have some more?
The on-going review  of the HEFCE's research funding policy is the subject of a THES article (24 March 2000, p. 6) highlighting the continued dominance of the Russell Group of universities in securing public money to conduct research.
Thank you. You're Wellcome.
Trust the folk at Wellcome to steal a march on the Research Councils and undertake their own comprehensive surveys  of Ph.D. students, past and present. Essential reading for anyone seriously contemplating a career in science.
Who are these pesky contract researchers, anyway?
A thoroughly up-to-date survey  by the HEFCE of the age profiles of contract researchers, in the context of the national workforce and the academic workforce, at the subject level, and against their department's research rating. Also includes data on the supervisory load on CRS, and how this varied by research rating and subject. Not as dry as it sounds!
Women scientists? Really?
Check out the June Next Wave forum , then catch up with a recent online debate on Women in Science, Engineering and Technology , courtesy of Hansard. Read keynote addresses on education, career, culture and policy, responses from real CRS, and the resultant zippy recommendations and action agenda. The Set4Women  Web site contains career-related information and links of interest to CRS.
Shipshape and Bristol fashion
Chill out with other CRS dudes at the funky University of Bristol Web site  for contract researchers. Everything but the kitchen sink is there. Other universities take note!
And coming soon ...
A Study of the Career-related Needs of CRS--a survey of CRS at four universities in the West Midlands, conducted by the Centre for Academic Practice at the University of Warwick. Due to report via the UCoSDA  Web site in December 2000.