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Excellence Everywhere - National University of Ireland, Galway

Excellence Everywhere - National University of Ireland, Galway

equipment and supplies.

equipment and supplies. Maintenance and calibrationof equipment may be sub-optimal and youmay find yourself handling those tasks yourself.Exchange rate fluctuations may eat away at grantsfrom international funders. Your network of nearbycolleagues may be smaller than you have grownused to, and you may have less access to theinformal transfer of knowledge that happens whenthere are more scientists working closer together.What happens if I outrank my advisor whenI come back?You must always bear in mind that outrankingyour advisor will be a sore point for him orher in most cases, and you should handle thissituation carefully. Communication (includingin writing) in all aspects of your work copied tohis supervisor is very important. Your advisormay feel outranked in terms of:n qualificationsn grants sourcedn technical expertisen publicationsOne way to overcome this would be to tactfullyget your advisor involved in grant proposalwriting (if he or she is a good scientist) thatwill boost the overall profile of the researchsection where both of you are. This shouldbe done in such a way that he feels that he istruly part of the process. The advisor shouldalso be a part of the planning and implementingprocess of your research programme. You canalso use your technical expertise to bring intothe section some funds that can be used bythe section as agreed upon by you and yoursupervisor. However, one should be carefulnot to be taken advantage of.”Susan Mutambu, ZimbabweBe humble and respectful: work hard on yourrelationship with him or her. No matter howwell trained you’ve come back, he or she isbetter connected and will know many morethings that can help you readjust. It is in yourinterest to be humble and open minded.”Abdoulaye Djimdé, MaliPeople You ShouldGet to KnowAs a beginning investigator, you will want to learnquickly which individuals can affect your careerprogress. They may include:n Heads of departments and divisionsn Senior scientists within your own department ordivisionn Senior scientists in other divisions who share yourresearch interestsn Senior physicians (if you are a physician-scientist)It is a good idea to get acquainted with faculty inyour own department and in other departmentswhose research interests are complementary toyour own. You may find, for example, colleagueswith whom research collaboration is possible,and/or colleagues with a good understanding ofany health and safety risks associated with yourresearch, who can advise you about the policies ofthe university and safe procedures for controllingresearch risks.You should get to know administrators in yourdepartment or division who can help you withmatters such as requesting maintenance, purchasing,tracking expenditures, hiring staff, and a hostof other issues you will not have time to deal within detail. These individuals will also be valuablein preserving stability when inevitable changescome, such as when the head of your departmentor division retires or moves on to another position.20 excellence everywhere

Support Facilitiesand ServicesSome universities provide considerable supportto aid faculty in their activities. Support servicesinclude libraries and media centers, scientific ortechnical services commonly referred to as “corefacilities,” and administrative offices establishedto help faculty complete grant applications andcomply with regulatory requirements. To save yourtime and to be compliant with your institution’srules and customs, you must know what centralizedfacilities exist to support you.If you are remaining at or returning to the placewhere you trained, you are probably alreadyfamiliar with the traditional campus-wide resourcesand some core facilities at your institution, butmay never have dealt with administrative supportservices. Listed below are some issues for whichyou may find some administrative support at aninstitution that has a large research operation.If you are not at an institution that is primarilyfocused on research, you may find that you needto handle these important concerns yourself.Regulatory ComplianceThere may be an office or committee at yourinstitution to help keep track of the licenses andapprovals you will need to comply with governmentregulations for research. You may need tofind out about:n Requirements for radiation safety, if you intend touse radioactive materials.n Requirements for the possession and use of bloodbornepathogens and other infectious materialsand for recombinant DNA research.In many developing countries it is possiblethat government policy and infrastructure toregulate safety, scientific integrity and theethical conduct of research are weak, orperhaps even non-existent. Institutionalizationof regulatory guidelines and policy on scientificintegrity and the ethical conduct of researchwill often require proactivity by the scientificcommunity.”Nancy Gore Saravia, Colombian Approvals for human subjects research.n Requirements for carrying out studies on animals.n Requirements for using lasers or acutely toxicchemicals, and for disposing of hazardous chemicalor biomedical waste.Health and SafetyIt is important that you become familiar with thehealth and safety guidelines that apply to yourresearch. Universities often have rules for safety,but even if you are at an institution that doesnot, you should make sure the members of yourresearch group know the hazards that may bepresent in your laboratory, are trained in safe workhabits, and know how to deal with any emergencythat may arise. Your institution may have an officeto help you with this responsibility by providingsafety training programs, technical assistance,regulatory compliance assistance, risk assessments,and services to test the integrity of safetyequipment, or you may have to develop thesecapabilities yourself.n Licenses needed for the use of proprietaryreagents and materials, drugs and approvals forresearch that is specifically regulated in yourcountry—for example, work with certain dangerouspathogens, recombinant technologies in organismsthat accidentally or purposely could be releasedinto nature, or stem cell research.ENTRY AND RE-ENTRY: establishing yourself as a scientist in a new job21

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