How does the personality of the scientist affect their
leadership in research? Here I reflect on how important teamwork in research is
(in both academia and industry), but also outline why bad leadership deters so
many young researchers from continuing in research, particularly within
academia. Academic research is somewhat predictable, it employs academics based
on their career progression and it acknowledges that an academic can continue
to build their careers and bring new opportunities to their institutions.
Industry now has become either the place for recent graduates or those fed up
with academic research. I once found myself in a room of fed up post-docs now
employed by the same employer. In a way, I felt that my own linear experience
through the academic lifestyle and specific interests where no place for this
role in industry.
Explaining our PhD research is as essential as conducting the research in the first place. And it’s already difficult to explain the research to other scientists in the field, but to present it to a non-science audience, in 3 minutes, now that’s the actual challenge!
It’s training us to make fast and quick impact points. But, training us for what exactly? It’s like pitching a business idea to a panel who will interview hundreds in a day. The real question is how to be unique and credible in 3 minutes. What’s the real message that we are trying to say about science?
Every story needs a beginning, but I am not sure where my story begins. I guess we can trace it back to my early days when I was diagnosed with a case of attention deficit disorder, after showing interest in several toys during a psychological assessment. A toy was given to me every five minutes and apparently it would have been normal to finish playing with one toy before moving on to the next. I have always argued that if the doctor handed me a toy to look at, I would look at it, regardless if I already had one to play with. I felt that they rushed their diagnosis and defined me into a category.