As universities increasingly emphasize multidisciplinary research and teaching, would-be faculty members must demonstrate their ability to cross disciplinary boundaries. But they must make sure that they don’t lose academic depth when they gain new breadth.
Intellectual property and technology transfer play important roles in today’s science. A scientist’s career can change dramatically through patents, which can spawn companies or funds for research. Moreover, some scientists create exciting careers by moving from the bench to a technology transfer office in academics, government, or industry.
Ask a cross-section of scientists how they got into cancer research, and you'll hear about a dizzying variety of routes from fields as diverse as biology, pharmacology, mathematics, and medicine. And with certain attributes — an inquiring mind, self-discipline, and a dash of ambition — it seems that there's no limit to what can be achieved.
The UK and Ireland are both reaching for the benefits of a knowledge economy. The UK leads Europe’s biotechnology scene, and Ireland’s rapid economic trajectory through the 1990s has radically altered the research landscape thanks to large injections of cash. International companies’ search for research talent has intensified. Many have set up operations in the UK and Ireland where they tap into expertise from world-class universities, as well as opening their arms to researchers moving on from the competitive academic sector.
Early and sustained interventions which strongly feature mentoring are essential in helping Native American and Latino students navigate an unfamiliar academic system that is dominated by majority culture and practices. Throughout students’ educational progression and well into their initial strides upon donning the doctoral gown, they depend upon a clearly marked career map, research training opportunities, professional skills development, peer networks, and role models. These factors can mean the difference between successfully reaching their goals and taking missteps ending in an impassable career detour.
To many on the outside, life as a tenured faculty member conjures up images of dreamy afternoons spent theorizing at one's desk, interspersed with occasional trips to the lab to hold up test tubes to the light. Of course, anyone who's been to grad school for more than a week knows there's more to scientific endeavor than that. In fact, a faculty member's requisite skill set is quite extensive.
Tremendous strides have been made in eradicating infectious disease scourges such as smallpox and polio that once killed and crippled millions; still, about 15 million deaths—or about one third of all deaths annually—result from infectious diseases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, nearly half involve children under the age of 5 years, predominantly in poorer countries. The ongoing hefty death toll, the pharmaceutical industry’s increasing interest in the research and development of vaccines, and plentiful funding from multiple sources all combine to provide a range of opportunities for postdocs and graduate students in vaccine research. The field is high growth and, perhaps more important, the fruits of this work promise to have a real impact on the health of the world’s population.
About 20 years ago Alice, a virologist, was up for a position as university president. She was one of three possible candidates. But during her interview things started to go a bit sour when the committee persistently asked her what she would be willing to give up should she be given the job.
Publish or perish is the scientist's maxim—with good reason. Career advancement hinges on publications. But data generation requires dollars. And as the time it takes for investigators to become financially independent grows, the old adage may also motivate early-career researchers to capitalize on their youth.