• Question: @all do you get lots of money for your jobs and what do you actually have to do

    Asked by rozzadee to Amelia, Jim, Liz on 23 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      No I wish I did 🙂 Depends what you think lots of money is! It’s more than enough to live on but I’m not a millionaire 😉

      What you do as a scientist depends on what area you study. As I’m working on developing this device I do lots of experiments trying out what will and won’t work on the device to get the best design possible.

      I also do lots of reading, writing, going to talks and learning about other people’s work and showing other people what I have done.

      And you also get to do really fun stuff like take part in I’m a scientist! 🙂

    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      I get a reasonable salary, but it’s not a big as some of my friends working in other areas like finance, or who own their own business. However, it is enough that I don’t have to struggle too much.

      As a more senior scientist I have quite a lot of responsibilities, and on top of this I am also the warden/mentor of a large halls of residence, so I have about 500 18/19 year olds to help get used to their first year living at university. On a day to day basis I might have an MSc student to look after and two BSc students to look after – they will be working on projects for their degrees, and I usually design their projects and help them learn the techniques and assist them if they can’t manage a problem. I also advise PhD students who come to me with problems with their work too.

      I have a major project (the Gene Gym), as well as several side projects. Side projects are often smaller projects that you can use to generate preliminary data so that you can then write to research councils for more money. The smaller studies also allow me to write scientific articles (as I am doing this week), more quickly – as the big project is quite slow-moving.

      I also review scientific articles written by other scientists (called peer-review). Every time we submit an article to a scientific journal, the editor sends the article out to three experts in that field so that we can see if those scientists have done the experiments well, and if their conclusions match their evidence. This can be quite time consuming, but we all do it, and we do it for free!

      I will also speak at conferences, presenting my work to fellow scientists, who also share their data. This is a great way to meet people you might like to collaborate with on a new project.

      Scientists tend to work long days, and often take work home with them, and work on weekends. As long as you are passionate about the work, you can see it as a hobby, rather than ‘work’.