ChileGlobal Biotec: Country branding and scientific communication

With these posts I have tried to give an idea of what it’s like to be a scientist in Chile. Sadly, what I write is mostly not very positive. Things like Chilean talent having to go abroad to prove themselves, my country’s bias toward foreign over local talent, and the constant underpayment of young scientists.  I haven’t provided the most encouraging panorama.

I’ve been trying to solve the riddle of how can science be viewed as this supremely difficult thing but pay the people who actually do it like McDonald’s workers. There are obviously many sides to this – we can argue about how the government should do this, and the industry should do that – but there’s a guilty party we don’t often examine in this light, and it is us.

Let’s face it: us scientists are absolutely terrible at talking. By “talking” here I also mean writing, and communicating in general. We are taught from college and maybe even high school that we are “number people” and that “word people” go to other careers, and that we should not even worry about communication, because it’s all in the numbers. Just show that nice graph with all your results and finish that equation with a flourish. We never give communication the importance it deserves.

Originally written for Nature Biotechnology. Check out the full post in the Trade Secrets Blog.


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