‘Less progress’ for research in 2020 – survey

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Two thirds of academic researchers globally suffered ‘setbacks’ in terms of collaboration last year.

That is the conclusion of a survey by Google Cloud, which explored cloud adoption and deployment within the academic sector during the pandemic.

The study surveyed 1,591 academic researchers globally (including North America, South America, Europe and APAC), looking at how the pandemic has impacted research capabilities.

Key findings include the following: 

  • Globally, 67 per cent of researchers reported making less progress in 2020 due to collaboration setbacks;
  • 95 per cent of respondents said the pandemic accelerated their need for cloud-based tools, including communication tools;
  • 96 per cent of those surveyed reported an increased use of tools such as cloud, data and analytics, digital productivity tools, or Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning; and
  • More than 93 per cent of researchers across all work environments agree that COVID-19 has deepened the current and future needs for cloud computing in their organisations.

Survey data also revealed some differences among institutions and regions. For example, researchers employed by private laboratories were more likely than those in other types of research facilities to report an increased use of cloud. Regionally, organisations in Colombia, the U.S., and Australia were the most likely to increase their investment in cloud solutions.

Steven Butschi, head of education at Google Cloud, said: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all industries over the last year and a half, and research institutions were no exception. In fact, making advancements in medicine and science became an even more urgent priority. Many private sector and government agencies around the globe turned to the cloud to help their remote employee base stay connected and collaborate with cloud tools like chat, video, large file sharing, live document editing, and more. But some scientific research still requires face-to-face collaboration in a lab environment.

‘This is why we wanted to dig deeper to understand how Covid may have impacted the progress researchers have been making in various critical fields, including medical research, geophysics, climate science, chemistry, computer engineering and more.’


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