Ruthmarie Hicks on starving scientists

“I think we need to move past the silly notion that ‘passion’ should drive the scientist forward. Passion doesn’t pay the bills.”

- Ruthmarie Hicks, writing in The Scientist

After The Scientist published its annual Life Sciences Salary Report recently, a reader left on comment on the website suggesting that scientists who care about money should quit the profession. Hicks, herself a former scientist who left a research career for one in business, wrote back in defense of the right to earn a good wage. She alleged that the people who were urging scientists to suffer for their art tend to be the same people who have benefited from the glut of post-docs: lab heads and the powers-that-be at the US National Institutes of Health. Collectively, she suggests, this pool of underpaid young scientists populates “high-tech sweat shops” for research so there is no incentive to change the system.

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