Modern day researchers

Times are changing, we are constantly hearing that there is less money in research grants, greater expectations on the researchers time, and greater and easier access to information by both knowledge producers and knowledge users (i.e. internet and open access). The way we want to consume our information has also changed and that affects the way in which information should be conveyed or presented. Short soundbites of information and explanatory pictures and charts like infographics, are more easily digested in a time where there is information overload at amazing speeds.

There are so many challenges facing the modern day researcher. There is a need to be more nimble, adaptive, responsive, and collaborative than ever before. Decreases in funding for research, increases in qualified researchers, only 1 in 15 PhD graduate are destined to get a job in academia, and many other factors have changed the research career that formerly was.

There is increasing competition to win grants, which means having a not just a good track record in peer reviewed publications but a great even outstanding peer review record, most of which can only be gained with time.

So what are the key things that the modern day researcher needs to do differently?

  1. Collaborations and partnerships.
    • Collaborations are very highly regarded by funders and can be very beneficial, particularly multidisciplinary and inter-organisational collaborations.
  2. Create their own brand and reputation
    • Researchers will need to have a not only a scientific reputation through peer review, but a profile across the internet and social media to share knowledge, and gain funding from other sources like crowdfunding.
  3. Share knowledge in alternative formats for alternative audiences
    • Efforts to share, disseminate, and educate must be purposeful, planned, intentional, and have some level of evaluation, and feedback built in so that you can know if you were successful.
  4. Two-way learning
    • Researchers will become students of industry and educators of industry partners in a world that now requires shared understanding and knowledge development.
  5. Work in teams
    • Teams will be made up of diverse individuals, some technically minded and astute researchers – experts in the field, other team members more social, better at relationships, technologically savvy, and entrepreneurial in their approach to problem solving. Other team members may have a background in policy, politics and other high level thinking and relationship building. Some will be agents and facilitators of change, and some will simply be the conduit between the research world and the real world.

I am sure that these observations on my part will spur some comments and thoughts from others. As always i would love to hear what you think the challenges are that face the modern day researcher.