A career in science, possibly in an academic position, is the dream of many young scientists. Yet it is widely known that academia itself needs only about 5% of the students it educates to fill open positions. That leads to two big questions: How to become one of the 5%? And: What will the remaining 95% do?
On their way, young scientists naturally encounter questions concerning how scientific excellence is achieved and evaluated by peers. Being at an age when starting a family, pursuing a career in science and striving for a healthy work-life balance is often experienced as stressful, if not frustrating. Moreover, in academic positions, one is often additionally burdened with funding problems, teaching duties and heavy administrative tasks, which make a successful career in academic science a complex and often wearing process.
But there are also many opportunities outside the academic world: A lot of research, for example, is done in industry. Yet many fear a certain lack of academic freedom when being part of a product and profit strategy of a major company. One option that combines both would be to become an entrepreneur early on and found your own start-up, which once again comes with its very own challenges: Funding, business logic, media scrutiny, to name a few.
Or how about: Science journalist, data analyst, policy advisor, youtuber, or teacher?
“Careers” has been a long-running issue discussed in many Lindau panel debates; this time, the participants will focus on academic and non-academic career paths for scientists, and show what alternative paths are available.
- J. Georg Bednorz, IBM Fellow Emeritus, IBM Research GmbH, Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland
- Serge Haroche, Professor Emeritus, Collège de France, Ecole Normale Supérieure, France
- Sir Konstantin S. Novoselov, National University of Singapore, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Singapore
- Amy Shepherd, Postdoctoral researcher, Boston Children’s Hospital, USA
- Lillian Tugume, Makerere University College of Health Sciences School of Medicine, Uganda
Moderator: Alaina Levine, President, Quantum Success Solutions, USA