FABI student contributes to NextGEN VOICES in Science 2014-10-14
We congratulate Ritesh Mewalal, a PhD student in the FMG programme in FABI, whose essay was taken up in the current selection of NextGen VOICES of the journal Science. The topic of this call for contributions by young scientists was "In your experience, what is the biggest challenge to global scientific collaboration? How should it be addressed?"
A popular meme portrays a scientist as a girl with glasses and a lab coat, but the reality is that things have certainly changed in the field. Scientific research is now a conglomerate of suits, glutted with industrial ties and red taped by intellectual property (IP) and patents. Ideas, technologies, and even genes have lawful bans preventing further studies. Granted, thematic areas of the world hinders curiosity-fueled research and promotes product-driven focus, however the environment imposes competition, secrecy and a rat race upon on scientists. Therein lies the problem and preclusion of global scientific collaboration. Perhaps, closer to reality for me as a Ph.D. candidate in a developing country, is the fear of being "scooped" by research using advanced methodologies not yet available to us, which concomitantly decreases the scientific impact. However, the need for collaboration is fundamental to science as it allows ideas to be furthered and solutions to be channeled and implemented. One way to tackle the problem of global scientific collaboration should be the necessity for scientific consortiums within countries for which a specific research/product is directed. In this way, there is academic benefit to young scientists and the possibility of economic subsidy to research within that country. Furthermore, rules and regulations instilled by IPs and patents should grant leniency toward academics and allow for the possibility of joint research. Another solution, which is already implemented and should be commended, is exchange programs between universities especially between developing and developed countries furthering the careers of young scientists.
You can read the other 15 essays that was selected for this issue of NextGen VOICES here.