Australian Indonesian Science Symposium

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Beating the odds: establishing a successful career in science

Forging a career in science is certainly not an easy job. The path to achieving a successful career in science is often long and windy, hence having tenacity is must. Another key ingredient to reach the pinnacle of scientific career is love. Love keeps you motivated even when things seemed to be going south.

Those are some of the things discussed during the Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium (AISS) in Canberra, 28 November-1 December 2016. ALMI, along with its Australian counterpart, the Early and Mid-Career Researchers (EMCR) Forum, hosted two sessions which focused on their experience, namely “Forging a career in science” and “Advocating for a brighter future in science”.

ALMI fellow Dr Aiyen Tjoa shared her experience in beating the odds to become a prominent scientist despite being a faculty member in Universitas Tadulako, a rather unknown university in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Utilizing the international network built during her PhD and post-doctoral tenure in Germany, she managed to establish a long-term national and international research-partnership in agriculture.

Associate Professor Drew Evans, Executive Board Member of EMCR Forum, also shared his experience in establishing career in science. Despite his love for science, being a scientist sometimes clashed with his responsibility to his family, he said. Things can go rough, particularly when your scientific career did not quite fit the bill. These are real problems faced by a lot of early and mid-career scientists throughout the world. He then chose to work as an industrial researcher, a path that eventually took him to be an associate professor in the University of South Australia.

Young scientists often face discouraging conditions in forging a successful career in science: the uneven supply and demand of scientists and tight competition to access funding resources, just to name a few. Scientific career, indeed, is a road less taken, said Professor Brian Schimdt, Nobel Laureate from Australia National University during his opening speech at the session. Still, it is possible for one to excel as a scientist. Some tips from him to be a successful scientist: learn to manage the risk, work hard, make the most of your opportunity, and be flexible—do not be obsessed around one problem. Lastly, he said, don’t forget to be happy!



Anggrita D. Cahyaningtyas

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