Name: Professor Deb White PhD FFSc (RCPA) Position: Director of Cancer Research, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute; Professor in Medicine and Paediatrics, University of Adelaide. Skill tips: To be a research scientist you‘ll need a Bachelor of Science degree, usually with Honours. Most people employed in my lab have PhDs.
To undertake a career in science, you need passion – it is a career, not simply a job. Being a successful scientist requires a certain level of intelligence and a healthy curiosity.
You need to have good powers of observation and be very dedicated to your research. It’s not a 9am to 5pm, five day a week job – in many instances, it can consume most of your waking hours.
I think it also is important to be able to self-criticise and accept criticism from others.
It is a lot about working as a team to ensure you achieve the best outcomes. You need to assess the way you’ve approached something and understand if that’s going to answer the question.
Successful scientists have well-developed oral and written communication skills. Patience also is an important asset. It needs to be fun, I’m not saying it’s a calling but you really need to want to make a difference.