Academic Rejection, Mental Health, and COVID 2020-21: Short Term Research Study

Research Study: Call for Participants

Dr. Simon H. Walker

Historical Suicidologist

Hi there and welcome to the call out page for my short term research study into the correlation between academic rejection and mental health decline during the COVID pandemic within the UK.

I need your help – so if you are willing to take part fill out the survey by clicking on the image below or following the following link:

The Study :

Lockdown has been hard and continues to be hard on all of us. For many this has resulted in significantly reduced job prospects, increased declines for applications, loss of positions, and significant increase of competing applications. the bar for excellence has never been higher and while ECR academics are increasingly more experienced and qualified at this stage of their career as compared to their mentors and idols profiles when they first secured academic positions, it is being harder and harder to find research and academic positions.

Lets be clear. Academia has never been easy and rejection is part and parcel of the process. However, with funding being cut, pressures increasing on academic departments to provide more teaching and research for less resources, and funding bodies having their available budgets significantly curtailed – it is a very difficult time to be an academic career, particularly one who stepping into the work of academic research and teaching.

This independent research study seeks to ascertain if the anecdotal evidence of increasing declines bears academic scrutiny while focusing upon the mental health of those with experience of application decline and funding disappointment over the last five years.


In the months of April and May 2021 two separate forms of research collection will be carried out. The first is a call for participants to take part in semi-structured interview focused upon their experience of application and rejection. These interviews will be carried out online and recorded with permission.

Secondly in May a survey will be distributed and asked to be shared and completed which will focus upon application, rejection, and mental health. The closing submission date on this survey will be the beginning of June 2021.


As will all research focused upon sensitive data, support will be offered to all participants with referrals to support services and additional information on helpful organisations where needed. All participants have the right to anonymity and the right to withdraw their data following the research collection. Participants will also be offered the opportunity to a pseudonym to protect their identity. All data will protected under GDPR. Participants are encouraged to contact the researcher for more information.


Upon completion of the research collection, the data will be analysed and evaluated through SPSS to provide quantitative and qualitative data surrounding the links between rejection and declines in mental health. This data will be shared with all universities in the United Kingdom through a written report, and the findings will be presented within a Peer Reviewed Article to be published in 2021/2022.

Is this for you? If you are any of the following then yes and we really need to hear from you.

  • Early Career Researcher
  • Impacted by any of These Issues

The Process:

To sign up for the study please click on the contact button and provide your email address, name, highlight briefly your suitability and state your willingness to be involved in the interviews and / or survey.

  • Left Academia because of Lack of Prospects
  • PhD Student

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