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Subject:

Re: grads. jobs & fisheries

From:

Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 11 Apr 1997 19:05:20 GMT

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] [log in to unmask] wrote:

]So the fresh graduate is competing now with a strong "cohort" of
]the previous generation, plus seniors looking to lighten up a
]little.

In Europe, we neither had draft-dodgers swamping colleges nor
much of a war in SEAsia. However, in the real world of the
European Community, junior scientists have to compete for
research funds/data access/jobs/whatever with
100-to-300-papers-CV senior scientists:

    - Is this acceptable ? [And with this question I'm not
      referring to ethical issues but to the operativity,
      development and evolution of fish/ery research];

    - What can be done to avoid such unfair competition (if this
      may be considered 'unfair' at all) ?;

    - Does fish related research (to society) go beyond any
      sociobiological game ? [i.e. a sociobiological game where
      those who made it in the 60's, in an expanding research
      complex, say: If you're enough good, boy, you'll make it].

The outcome of the applications for funds are very clear: Junior
scientists, no matter how 'good', are denied funds and forced to
be at the 'hot-dog stand' for a year or so to afford the high end
computer badly needed to run the data analyses; to distribute
around 700.000 newspapers in a year to pay the motorboat gas to
go out sampling; to live and eat poorly, lacking even medical
insurance, etc.

Under such conditions, many junior scientists are expected to
produce and compete with publications in the international arena.
And if they complain, they may be kicked out of the game. This
implies that _huge human efforts_ have to be made in order to
'make it'. Tolls are high. Hence, the FE list owner receives so
many e-mails where junior scientists write something like this:
"AP, just get me off, I've got to quit 'cause ...". I always
attempt to cheer up and encourage them not-to-quit but the
'casualty' toll's already there. I do not have hard figures but
after >4 years running this conference, I've got the perception
this 'problem' is worse than I ever thought.

Finally, for myself, yes, I may think "I'll make it if I'm good
enough" but I cannot apply the same premise to other junior
scientists: In my view, marine research goes well beyond a mere
sociobiological game: We may be contributing to develop this
world to the better, we've acquired a huge responsibility being
academics and, in this chain-venture, it is the weakest link
which breakes. In academia, we need more of the
the Gung-Ho (working and struggling together) spirit.

Cheers,

    Aldo-Pier Solari.


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