How to become a successful scientist: pros and cons of research career pathways

Report from the IAHS Early Career Hydrological Scientist meeting, Gothenburg, July 2013

The IAHS Early Career Hydrological Scientist meeting organized at the IAHS-IAPSO-IASPEI Joint Assembly in Gothenburg aimed to support networking among early career hydrological scientists and to encourage the involvement of young scientists in future IAHS activities. It was a success, attended by more than 50 young scientists. 

The theme was “How to become a successful scientist: pros and cons of research career pathways”. It included a keynote talk and a panel discussion with panel members representing researchers from universities, public sector research institutions and the private sector in different parts of the world. Drinks and a buffet also contributed to making the meeting a very successful event and allowing networking amongst young scientists.

The keynote talk on the meeting’s main theme was given by Prof. Thorsten Wagener (University of Bristol, UK). He gave a thoughtful and entertaining introduction to the topic from his perspective that was based on stories and experiences gained since his time as a student, and it included hints and advice for young people choosing to enter a research career. Five invited discussion panel members then presented their career experiences. Members of the discussion panel were Corinna Abesser (British Geological Survey, UK), Zoubeida Bargaoui (Université de Tunis El Manar, Tunisia), Adrian Collins (ADAS Environmental Consultancy, UK), Walter Collischonn (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) and Elango Lakshmanan (Anna University, India). They each briefly talked about the very different opportunities and challenges they faced on their pathways to establishing their careers. Furthermore, questions such as “What does successful mean for a hydrological scientist?”, “To what kinds of success do possible career pathways likely lead?”, “What are the major hurdles to become a successful hydrological scientist?” and “What can a person do to encourage a satisfying career?” were addressed, and recommendations were given to young researchers choosing to enter into a career in hydrological science. Overall, the meeting was very engaging, and it provided useful, realistic and personal advice to the many young scientists wishing to pursue a hydrological research career.

The meeting was organized  by Eva Boegh (Roskilde University, DK), Kate Heal (University of Edinburgh, UK), Mary Hill (USGS, USA) and Wouter Berghuijs (Young Hydrologic Society, http://younghs.com/). We would like to thank all the speakers for their valuable contributions and helpful advice and the young scientists for raising questions and participating in the meeting. Sponsorship by Taylor & Francis for the buffet and drinks is also gratefully acknowledged (Taylor & Francis publish the IAHS journal, Hydrological Sciences Journal).

Young scientists who have ideas for themes of interest for future IAHS Early Career Hydrological Scientist meetings are most welcome to come up with suggestions and/or to be involved in further preparations. Please contact Eva Boegh ([email protected]) or Kate Heal ([email protected] ).

Eva Boegh and Kate Heal

The panel in session. 

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