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Science's Next Wave: Best of 2003

Scientists and engineers will remember 2003 as the year when the worldwide recession cut into educational budgets and business investment, biotechnology became associated in the public mind with weapons of mass destruction and cloning, and findings on climate change continued to be debated in public forums. At Science's Next Wave, these events offered a backdrop for our weekly reports on career development in the sciences, which combined stories of new opportunities with nuts-and-bolts advice for and by early-career scientists.

In 2003, Next Wave profiled scientists who often had to overcome difficult barriers (physical, ethnic, or gender-based) to achieve success, explored the nexus between industry and academics, offered firsthand accounts of balancing the needs of career and family, and helped ease the pain--literally, in some cases--of moving your career ahead. Listed below are the Next Wave editors' choices for the best of 2003. Thank you for your readership over this past year, and we look forward to doing even better in 2004.

Best of 2003 Article


Canada: The Benefits of Interdisciplinary Research: Our Experiences With Pathogen Bioinformatics

Pathogen bioinformatics is a field in which traditional microbiology and computer science intersect in the study of a variety of infectious diseases.

17 January 2003

Europe: Women in Industry--The Sublime and the Ridiculous

A report released by the European Commission states that recruitment and retention of women in industrial research seem to depend less on the industry sector and more on the culture of individual companies.

7 February 2003

Canada: Commercializing Technology in Canada

The Canadian government has been pushing more aggressive technology commercialization in universities as a part of its Innovation Strategy to derive greater commercial benefit from its ongoing investments in university research.

7 February 2003

Canada: Solving the Two-Body Problem

The abundance of dual-career academic couples has led to the opportunistic growth of certain institutions by taking advantage of paired excellence.

7 March 2003

US: Teaching 101--Getting By

Although research remains the top priority for most academic scientists, undergraduate education has received increasing emphasis in recent years, so it's important to be able to do it decently.

14 March 2003

France: Get Paid to Get Your MBA

The Collège Des Ingénieurs runs an MBA programme aimed at scientists and engineers newly graduated with master's degrees or PhDs. No previous business experience is necessary.

28 March 2003

U.K.: Write Yourself a 10-Year Plan

If you're applying for a permanent job, a lectureship for example, a 10-year plan is what you need.

16 May 2003

Europe: The Changing Face of Catalysis

Next Wave surveys the state of the catalysis sector in European science.

16 May 2003

US: Back on Top

At age 17, Hugh Herr lost his legs below the knee following a climbing accident, but he continues to climb up mountains and the steps of his scientific career.

20 June 2003

Canada: Inside the Industry Postdoc Experience

Several Canadian postdocs describe the promises and pitfalls of their experiences in industry, and they offer guidance to counterparts in the academic world.

20 June 2003

USA: Out of the Desert

When a recipient of an NIH Research Career Development Award fails to win tenure, something strange is going on.

27 June 2003

Germany: Das DoktoRat-Archiv

An index to the collection of questions and answers about science careers (in German).

27 June 2003

UK: Dr Bridget's Postdoctoral Diary

A week in the life of an ostensibly fictional postdoc, complete with quantitative indicators.

4 July 2003

UK: Overcoming a Poor Publication Record

A postdoc from India has a stellar career, except for just a few publication credits. The CareerDoctor tells how to overcome this deficit.

8 August 2003

Germany: If You Can Stand the Heat ... Stay in Biotech

To guard against the risks of unemployment, gaining expertise in technologies that have broad applications is extremely important.

8 August 2003

Netherlands: What (Not) to Expect From Your Supervisor

Your PhD supervisor is only human--sometimes very human.

22 August 2003

Minority Scientists Network: Leading the Way

Ken Harewood has been involved in many scientific discoveries that have benefited humankind, but perhaps his most important achievement is helping prepare future scientists for biomedical research.

12 September 2003

Europe: Science Advisors--Starting Out

Eight participants in the European Molecular Biology Organization's Young Investigator Programme offer advise on getting started in a research career.

26 September 2003

Minority Scientists Network: For the Love of Nature

Emilio Bruna, an ecologist at University of Florida in Gainesville, answers some commonly asked questions about how to begin a career in ecology.

3 October 2003

Germany: (There Are) 50 Ways to Leave Your Enzyme

As a researcher, Benjamin Hemmens has been there, done that. Although he was not exceptionally unhappy in the lab, he nonetheless took the plunge to leave and to try something else.

7 November 2003

USA: The Perfect Postdoc: A Primer

Q: How do you find the perfect postdoc?

A: The perfect postdoc doesn't exist (but you can get close).

21 November 2003

Minority Scientists Network: The Theory of Everything

Jim Gates is a theoretical physicist and a champion of superstring theory, but he credits his family and upbringing for providing him with the foundation for success.

21 November 2003

Netherlands: When Writing Hurts

Dealing with the physical pain of writing caused by repetitive strain injury or the psychological pain of burnout.

21 November 2003

USA: The Rubipy: A Toast to an Eminent Caltech Personality

Caltech chemistry professor Harry Gray is an inspiring character. So much so that he, and his research, have inspired the creation of a cocktail.

19 December 2003