Monday, December 14, 2009

A pack of measures to promote scientific vocations among young students

Committee for the Promotion of Science, Villa Certosa, Sardinia, Italy

The crisis of vocations for scientific research is becoming a chronic problem of our cultural institutions. A scientific career is often despised by gifted University students on the basis of its reputation for providing low and uncertain incomes to highly qualified people. Also, some people are discouraged by the remoteness of the possibility of getting a stable position as professor or researcher in the long term. Thus, potential Nobel prizes are diverted from a promising track of international recognition and success, being led towards the slavery of working for a greedy firm which provides higher salaries in the short term. Although such incomes can indeed be translated into fancy cars and clothes, accessibility to mortgages, and other perishable charms of the pointless society we live in, these are superficial items that cannot compare to the inner elation and satisfaction of devoting an entire life to Science. Here, we propose a programme for the promotion of Science, to be considered by politicians in charge, that aims to make more appealing for young fellows a career devoted to research:

1. Free psychological health care policy to cover the costs of visits to psychologists and/or psychiatrists for possible depressive seizures after repeated experimental failures.

2. Free alcoholic drinks and spirits at the laboratories and libraries, under the slogan “Every hour is happy hour” to help graduate students fight putative frustrating obstacles found through their career.

3. Installation of panoramic TV screens in the labs, to show all sport events and pay-per-view programs requested by the fellows, so they enjoy and perform crucial experiments at the same time. Commercials would be cunningly substituted by full screen Scientific articles in pdf format (a motivation strategy called “paper-view” that will make Science more entertaining)

4. Contracting an actor playing an idiot (or contracting a real idiot) at the lab so that research fellows can reassure their self-esteem by comparing themselves to this dummy.

5. Organization of monthly Lab meetings and Discussion sessions at tropical beach resorts.

6. Decoration of the lab walls with appealing posters and calendars to cheer up the mood of researchers and lessen the feeling of claustrophobia. Sexy calendars such as those typically hanging at car mechanics could be more motivating than those given free by providers of flasks or antibodies.

7. Public funding of TV series based on laboratory intrigues in which the actors and actresses would play the role of researchers in pursue of outstanding scientific results. Broadcasting of such series would considerably rise public consideration of the scientific collective, as it has happened recently with Forensic professionals.

8. Assigning to researchers a generous percentage of the benefits derived from their patents, if any.

9. A commitment from the Association of Editors of Scientific Journals (AESJ) that guarantees the publication of a paper, as a first author (IF > 6), for every year spent in the lab, independently of the experimental results obtained.

10. Firing out all the administrative personnel from research institutions that makes every stupid bit of paperwork so unbelievably difficult.

Although we only include ten measures in our pack, we are aware of the existence of many others. You are welcome to add your own as a comment. We hope that the implementation of these measures will help in the recruiting of a novel generation of brilliant scientists worldwide. Young lads and ladies: Science needs you!

1 comment:

  1. The pack presented here is already very complete and satisfying, but I could add one more proposal:

    - Establishment of underwear+labcoat as the one and only compulsory lab indumentary, to favour companionship and flourising of deeper feelings amongst lab mates.