Science In Australia

There was an advert for a science communicator / project manager this week.  The twitter post said must love science (*tick*) and have skills (*tick*).  I checked it out.  The role was skewed towards science communication and requires someone with a history of producing media reports, blogging, liaison with the science industry etc.  Enthusiasm alone would not cut it, though it would make the role a challenge, and that’s what I’m here for – challenges.

One requirement was to be able to name at least 10 science organisations in Australia.  Hmm, thought I cannot do that.  That’s embarrassing.  So, here’s what I could name off the top of my head and then here’s what I could find using the great advertising machine known as Google.

Off the top of my head with lots of brain racking

  1. Australian Synchrotron – http://www.synchrotron.org.au/
  2. CSIRO – https://www.csiro.au/
  3. Australian Signals Directorate – https://www.asd.gov.au/ (actually intelligence, thought this was science, or science based)
  4. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) – https://www.wehi.edu.au/ (I should know more of these)
  5. Florey, aka the Howard Florey Institute – https://www.florey.edu.au/
  6. The Australian International Gravity Observatory – http://www.aigo.org.au/ Everyone who visits should do the solar system walk.  Pluto is so far away!  Take water.
  7. The Australian Telescope National Facility – http://www.atnf.csiro.au/ – technically CSIRO.
  8. The Australian Antarctic Division – http://www.antarctica.gov.au/
  9. The Australian Association for Microbiology – http://www.theasm.org.au/
  • CSL before it went private (so not counting it).
  • Many pharma companies (which I’m not going to count).
  • Museums (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney) – do these count.  They should count.
  • I could name ScienceInPublic, as they posted the advert.  That would be cheating!
  • All our universities.  Again, cheating if I named them.

Nine’s not bad, though I should know at least 20.

Ones I needed to look up (shame on me)

After four, I felt I was scraping the bottom of the Google barrel.  I soon discovered that while many about pages may list the organisation name in the header meta, the names were missing from the body of the page.  I also found that in lots of articles about science produced by Australia, the organisation producing the science was not named. Not how you build brand recognition.

  1. Australian Science Communicators – http://www.asc.asn.au/
  2. Australian Academy of Science – https://www.science.org.au/ Tad worried I’d forgotten about them.  I remember them as the premier science outfit and I had an old photo ruler from here.
  3. Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) – https://www.innovation.gov.au/page/innovation-and-science-australia
  4. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority – http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/ – I knew something existed, but could not name it.
  5. Woodside Australian Science Project – www.wasp.edu.au/
  6. The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) – https://www.atse.org.au/
  7. The Royal Institution of Australia – http://riaus.org.au/
  8. Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science – http://cpas.anu.edu.au/ Perhaps needs to work harder?  Three Google pages down using “australian science” as my search term.
  9. The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) – http://www.tern.org.au/
  10. Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity – https://www.doherty.edu.au/  Most disappointing I did not know this given I’ve an immunology degree!
  11. Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) – http://www.acap.net.au/

Related to this, I could name lots of science Australia has produced or is working on.  The various inventions reportedly to come out of Australia, (Hills hoist, the ute, the stump jumper), stomach ulcers being caused by Helicobacter pylori, matter transport/Quantum entanglement, eradicating rats by using dogs from an Island off the coast of Warrnambool (awww, Oddball died in February.  I’ve also merged this with Macquarie Island where dogs were used to eat all the rabbits, rats and mice – Oddball was a fox eaterupperer), wi-fi (CSIRO), the joint US-Australian military research project called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) testing hypersonic engines, the people developing organs in a petri dish, various cancer research and I’m sure I could come up with more.

On the topic of Australian science, have a read of Australia’s National Science Statement – 2017.  It states science means “Natural, physical and life sciences, including medical and health sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology‑related disciplines.”

That’s not a proper description.  Science is the methodical and rigorous study of phenomena to understand them and the application of such methods and results to produce things.  The results can be knowledge, TV’s, vaccines, better car tyre rubber, ducks that go woof, less harrowing cancer treatments, key hole surgery, the “discovery” that fat is turned to water and CO2 and expelled in order to lose weight – even if it is obvious, it needs proving.

Making sure I had some idea my above description in bold was more or less correct, I checked our a dictionary and it said “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”  Yup – within acceptable error limits.

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Notes Would Benefit Interviews

Like any other situation where you wish to convey accurate and important information, documentation/notes/written examples rule.

Attending a job interview is a very unnatural situation.  Once in a role, you have access to documentation, procedures, reference materials, pre-made presentations etc to get your point across.  In interviews you have your memory, your dress sense and your people skills.  To add confusion to the mix, recent studies are showing memory can be flawed so how am I to know an example I am providing actually happened, or was directly related to me?  Notes!  That is how! Continue reading

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More on my Personal Style “The Administrator”

As you may have read, I’m an INTJ (or Architect) and a DiSC Panther.  As part of recent communication with a recruiter, I’ve partaken in yet another personality test.  This one pegs me as an Administrator.  Keeping in mind a certain amount of salt needs to be taken with such tests as these tests are all made up and personalties are fluid.

An Administrator is precise and reserved.  They want to do things right and pay attention to detail.  Had this test produced the same output as my DiSC appraisal, I’d most likely have been a Driver (they want to take charge in order to succeed and win) with a smattering of Promoter (wanting to influence others and inspire them to act).  As it is, I’m, 38% Driver, 50% promoter and 100% Administrator according the latest test. Continue reading

Why You Need an INTJ Working With You

Introduction

When I take the Myers-Brigs personality test, I without fail placed in the INTJ box.  What does this mean?

(I)??? (N) Intuitive (T) ??? (J)Judging

It means I am a rare breed – just 2% of the population are said to fall into this group.  Whether or not that’s an unsubstantiated “fact”, I’ll not go into.

INTJ’s can be summarised (if that is possible) as: Continue reading

Communicating With Customer Focus In Mind

I have taken part in lots of training over the years.  Training is great as if it is new, one learns new things.  If the training has been done before, it consolidates or updates existing knowledge.  In July 2016, I took part in communication training.  Heading into the training, I was interested to see if my communication style had altered since the last time a DiSC assessment was used on me in 2009. As a trained trainer, I know all about communication styles and how to pitch training programs for effective knowledge transfer.  Day to day communication is similar and I enjoy observing how trainers train.

In 2009 I took part in training using the DiSC model run by a company called Bridgeworks.  From the discprofile website “DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. DiSC is non-judgmental and helps people discuss their behavioral differences.”  Then I scored 5223, making me a “panther”.  That indicated I had a dominant personality and summed me up as:

  • Sees the big picture
  • Can be blunt
  • Accepts challenges
  • Gets straight to the point

Continue reading

The Right Choice

In January  2014, Company X advertised for a Lean Leader Microbiology role.  My application was successful and I attended both a first and second stage interview.

Though I reportedly excelled during the interviews and seemed to have a good rapport with the interviewers, I “did not have enough team lead experience” and the role went to “an internal applicant”.

This is a little frustrating.  I must not have conveyed my eight plus years experience leading teams of 3-15 scientists well enough.  Maybe having never had a difficult customer (at least in my opinion) was seen as a weakness. Continue reading

No Current Experience – Catch 22 In Job Seeking

My last microbiology/science role was made redundant by my employer towards the end of 2012. Since then, I’ve been trying to get back into a microbiology lab or a QA department with zero success. In the meantime I’ve been staying active in science by reviewing regulatory updates and championing science via social media.

These days it looks like my seeking a science role is being thwarted by lack or recent experience. That must be a perception of my interviewers. Scientific (aka) critical thinking is a way of life and having worked in highly regulated environments, such things as the 10 commandments of GMP have been burnt into my brain!

I find things like process mapping, technical writing and conducting investigations like riding a bike. It’s a set of skills that are never forgotten and come back to me as soon as I apply them.  THis is something INTJ’s have no trouble with. Continue reading

Career Advice

The Question sent via LinkedIn.

” I am a Microbiologist with 3 years overseas experience. I have completed Bachelor degree in Microbiology and a Post-Graduate Degree in Medical Microbiology. I am finding it difficult to be considered for an interview since I have only overseas experience. I have recently undertaken a Post graduate Single course in Medical Microbiology from RMIT University, Melbourne to update my skills in this area and is currently looking for a job opportunity / work experience in Microbiology and would like to know if you could provide any support / advise in this regard.”

My advice:

I can only provide advice at present as I’m an unemployed microbiologist at present also. With regards to micro roles, you could see if the job agencies can help (in my experience they cannot). You could determine who has the sort of micro positions you are interested in and send the an old fashioned canvassing letter. My first micro job came from one of those and once your foot is in the door, things get easer. When applying for roles, relate your skills and experience to the roles you are applying for.