Scientific research opens doors to unexpected careers
1 Jun 2021
Humans have an innate sense of curiosity, making us natural scientists from the moment we come into the world. Often, this scientific curiosity dwindles as we get older and pursue other careers. Here Abhishek Goel, explains how scientific research can lead you into a multitude of careers that are not conventionally scientific.
Have you ever noticed how a baby will fearlessly crawl under a table to pick up a shiny bead and observe it carefully before popping it into her mouth to check its taste and texture?
This baby is a scientist who hypothesised that random objects on the floor could help relieve her teething pain. She will test this hypothesis repeatedly to see if the results validate her thoughts. Upon reflection, she may conclude that using the chewy toy her parents bought is a better option, albeit less fun.
This proves how the scientific method is ingrained in all of us. But, how does one decide whether using this curiosity to pursue science is something they would like to do all their life through a career in research?
Many students pursue professional courses such as engineering or medicine instead of studying pure sciences. Many factors could contribute to this decision, such as job opportunities, good pay packages and defined career growth. This trend is slowly changing, with many students now choosing to study sciences in their purest form.
It is important that young people are aware of all the options available to them with a science degree. A career in science and research no longer means being cooped up in a laboratory, as people sometimes think. Today, it can take you along diverse paths.
A myriad of options
For a scientist, there are a multitude of job roles in various sectors open to you, meaning you can pair your scientific skills with a hobby you enjoy. If you like managing projects, you could do research management for pharmaceutical companies. Alternatively, if you enjoy writing or editing, you can pursue science communication.
Scientific communication plays an important role within the scientific community, ensuring valuable research findings reach those it can be most valuable to. It is not just about writing academic papers, but can include science editing, medical writing and science promotion.
If you enjoy analysis, you could do market research to analyse big data and compare products. Quantitative analysts also work with financial institutions doing statistical modelling for predicting trades. If problem-solving and collaborative teamwork are your strengths, management consulting could be your calling. The avenues are limitless.
This is a great time for science across the world, as the pandemic has forced people and governments to realise the importance of research. The UK government is committed to transforming the UK into a science superpower and recently invested £250 million of additional funding to boost collaboration and protect ongoing research.
By 2027, the government aims to spend 2.4 per cent of GDP on research and development (R&D) and increase the budget for R&D to £22 billion. This is excellent news for both current and prospective scientific researchers, as they will have the funds needed to pursue their research. So, if you would like to delve into this research-conducive environment, know that the opportunities are aplenty.
Author: Abhishek Goel is Co-founder and CEO of science communications company Cactus Communications: www.cactusglobal.com