25 bright ideas for early career scientists from the DIVERSITAS celebration conference.
Attending the DIVERSITAS celebration conference has been a rewarding and unique experience, particularly because of the opportunity to speak with and learn from numerous prominent biodiversity scientists.
The celebration conference held in Seville, Spain, was a 3-day event for the DIVERSITAS community to come together one last time to celebrate its achievements, contemplate the lessons learnt, and to look forward to a new beginning under the Future Earth Initiative. As one of four early career scientists selected to report on the event, I decided to focus on collecting the pieces of wisdom that leading experts of DIVERSITAS have for us, especially those relevant to young scientists.
Listening to the founders talk about vision and goals of DIVERSITAS and the various achievements of its projects, I have learnt much about the history and progression of biodiversity science; I have been inspired and touched by the stories and warm memories of DIVERSITAS members; and finally, I feel empowered and motivated to contribute to biodiversity science, using the DIVERSITAS knowledge accumulated in the past years to strive towards effective future biodiversity research.
As an early career scientist passionate about applied sciences for biodiversity conservation and management, I would like to share with you some of this advice summarized under a few key subjects.
On Science to Policy/Management
Understand the core science before you integrate and apply it
Don’t lose the basic science
Build your credibility by being an expert
Find an interesting research question and answer it
There is space for ‘science to management’ facilitators
Be proactive and opportunistic: situations are what you make of them
Use your skills and find your niche in any project you do
Recognize the times that you need help and seek answers from others
Find out if you fully understand and are able to communicate your research by discussing your work every opportunity you get
Do not be afraid to ask stupid questions
On Scientific Reading and Writing
Cut out words from sentences and – if it still makes sense - leave it that way
Take out all adjectives and adverbs
Read each other’s work and keep polishing
Read well and be well-read to understand scientific issues deeply
Refer to the original literature and basics
On Going the Extra Mile
Find placements to increase your exposure and experience
Apart from journal articles, read books – they are the synthesis of many years of research
Do not think of extra activities as voluntary work, use it fully to add value to your research portfolio
Remember to communicate and show appreciation of the work of others
Choose to do things that make you stand out and create your signature mark
I am very grateful for the chance to attend the DIVERSITAS celebration and will take the lessons to heart. For fellow early career scientists around the world, I hope that this piece will provide words of inspiration and motivation on our journey to conserve our world’s biodiversity, as it has done for me.