Regius Professor of Life Sciences and Academic Lead for Research Strategy University of Dundee
"MODERN SCIENCE CAN'T HAPPEN WITHOUT REALLY GOOD AND UP TO DATE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS STAFFED BY EXPERT SCIENTISTS WHO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING."
The career structures for technology platform scientists are often seen as being difficult and far too many of them end up on soft money when in fact if they are a central core component of a large research institute or establishment they really should be on core funding and secure funding. They should have a proper career structure where they can go up to professorial level so long as they're worthy of doing that.
On the other hand, I do think as a community of scientists, and of research institutes and universities sometimes we forget that actually, this is within our own grasp. Any university can do what it wants. It can appoint technology scientists to permanent positions it can promote them to grade 8, 9, 10.
If myself or any other principal investigator uses our proteomics facility and they do a standard operating procedure on your sample then usually that only warrants an acknowledgement that it was done in the facility - and a thank you very much for doing it so well. If on the other hand, they make any intellectual contribution to the experimental design then they should be co-authors.
It's just very simple. So that's the rule of thumb, and it's just good to remind colleagues all the time if a facility helped you design the experiment or helped you interpret the data they should be co-authors.
Modern science can't happen without really good and up to date technology platforms staffed by expert scientists who know what they're doing. So they're an incredibly central part of the whole fabric of modern day life sciences research, so they're essential.
It's essential that almost everything that we're doing these days in Life Sciences at any scale is multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary. We've got to grasp that and embrace it as much as possible working with physicists, mathematicians, chemists; all the physical sciences absolutely need to be brought to bear on biological problems.
Rate in importance - Funding / Publication / Technology
I put publication last. The other two are very difficult to put in relative position because without finance you don't have any technology. No money no action. So it's hard to put those in rank order. They're two entirely different things, but you can't have one without the other.