As a former bench scientist myself, I’m often frustrated by the insinuation that I left my scientific career behind the day I sat down at an office desk. Those who move into non-research based science careers are often termed ‘leakers’ as we are viewed to have ‘leaked’ from the pipeline. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this term, especially since this metaphorical pipeline leads to far fewer jobs than could ever sustain the number of people who enter it.
The Science Council has done sterling work to dispel the traditional image of the lab coat and counter the negative connotations of being labelled a ‘leaker’. They have introduced the ’10 types of Scientist’, which encompass a variety of career paths and restore the ‘scientist’ credential to many of those who have long since lost it in the public eye. The 10 types they identify are:
- Service provider/operational
- Policy maker
They provide an explanation of each type and they have been pretty comprehensive. Naturally, as Science Policy Officer at the Biochemical Society, I’m particularly happy about the inclusion of the ‘Policy maker’ scientist.
Furthering this work, the Science Council has launched a competition to identify the top professional scientists in the UK. There will be 10 winners for each of the 10 types of scientist making a total of the top 100 overall. Nominees must be currently practicing as a scientist in the UK (and may be practicing in more than one of the above categories) but can come from any sector of the economy, including self-employment. They can come from any field of science, engineering, technology or mathematics and they can be operating as a scientist at any level, including graduate scientists and technicians.
Entries will be judged overall on their contribution to the practice of science in the UK including how they have exercised their skills and judgement, their example to others, their contribution to the public interest and their leadership within their profession.
It would be great to see some biochemists included in the top 100, so if you know of anyone that you think should be considered, visit the competition website and complete the nomination form by the deadline on Monday 16th September.
The final results will be announced on Tuesday 15th October. The competition can also be followed on the Science Council’s Twitter account @Science_Council using the hashtag #100scientists.
Let’s make sure biochemistry is represented!