Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Science can be more than labcoats and glasses

This is an interesting story for those struggling to recruit clinical research staff, about staff shortages in the UK:

Anyone who has working in multiple countries will know this is a world-wide phenomena, and one that is likely to continue for some time, given the rapidly expanding clinical research environment, both in the traditional regions for research such as Europe, US, and might you say, Australia, but also for the newly establishing developing countries like India, China, Africa, to name a few.

What is the answer? One answer explored in this article is key I think - publicise the industry as a career choice. Most people I know fell into clinical research by accident, rather than design. Had I known about the clinical research career pathway earlier, then I probably wouldn't have spent years in a lab first. Mind you, if we convert everyone into being clinical researchers, then we won't people left pursuing basic and pre-clinical research, the foundations necessary before clinical research can be pursued, so there must be some balance.

We need to cast off the image of science as only people wearing labcoats and glasses, and make it as attractive and popular as being a sports hero, or movie star (well, we can dream anyway). Then we might have more people pursuing science, for the rewards it can bring both personally, and to the population as a whole. I think the popular science TV shows have gone some way to helping this, but we've still got some way to go yet.

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