“It is an extraordinary privilege to be a scientist,” says Dr. Marlene Belfort in her keynote address at the Quest for Research Excellence 2012 Conference being held in Georgetown, March 15-16. There have been a number of points raised in discussions, presentations, and posters ranging from the role institutions play in promoting research integrity to the role the media play in publicizing what has been done in research. The following are a few research challenges raised in talks and discussions.
- How can we inspire a new generation of scientists to aim high when we don't even know what the research scientist of the future will face?
- If research is a "social enterprise," what does it say that low public concern over scientists' ethics may lead some researchers to be less concerned with research ethics?
- Is the kind of science one can come up with others greater than what you can do on your own?
- Are we relying too much on "external forces" to regulate research integrity rather than cultivating "internal forces" that instill a commitment to excellence, trustworthiness, and lawfulness?
- Should scientists be made to write more clearly and simply to make it easier for those who write press releases to communicate their findings to the public with more accuracy and reliability?
There are many challenges that researchers need to overcome, especially during poor economic times when funding may be hard to get. Having less experience, young researchers often do not have good role models to look up to and to emulate in following sound moral principles. What do you think? What's the best way to balance ambition and steadfastness in research?
I was a post-doc awardee, this was really wonderful and I feel energized and empowered to go home to The University of Colorado with renewed purpose.