“Scientists and engineers tend to communicate poorly because their professions have not valued explanation and their career advancement doesn’t depend on having lay-level explanatory skills, leaving scientists strategically maladroit when they engage external publics,” says F. Key Kidder in this month’s cover story. However, some believe public engagement is “a scientific duty that benefits the public good by promoting informed debate.” In addition, there have been studies that show a correlation between visibility of research and research funding. “Communications that target legislators are a proven means of moving the federal funding levers supporting agencies such as NIH and NSF and can also improve funding atmospherics for other researchers,” says Kidder.
With budgets tight and pressure to be more productive greater than ever, lab managers cannot afford to make bad hiring decisions. Two articles this month focus on that fact and offer sound advice on how to make sure you staff your lab with the best and brightest. John Borchardt’s “Hiring the Best” article states: “[Lab managers] need to understand how to define job positions and how best to generate a job applicant pool and assess candidates. They need to understand how to make job offers.” He then describes a process that allows managers to most efficiently identify and hire high-impact performers.
Alan Edwards, in his “Science Matters” column says, “The days of the long-term strategic hire, when a company had the luxury of molding the perfect employee over time, are gone. The right experience— and a hiring manager’s ability to spot it—is perhaps the most important component of the hiring process today to ensure an employee will hit the ground running.” He recommends professional networking as one way to increase your odds of making the right hire. “You might have as few as 20 colleagues you can call on, but if they’ve got the right connections, the odds of them knowing someone who is the right fit for the job are in your favor.”
This month we feature an update on field instrumentation—reporting on how this technology has evolved since we discussed it last year in the July/August issue. Click here to find out how much smaller, lighter and accurate these devices have become.
For anyone building new or retrofitting an existing lab, this month’s Lab Design & Furnishings article discusses the often overlooked matter of sound and acoustics. Unlike our cover story on letting your research voice be heard, when it comes to lab design, it’s better to keep those decibel levels down.
Included with our November issue is this year’s 2011 Product Resource Guide, filled with an abundance of up-to-date laboratory technology information. We hope it will find a trusted place on your desk or benchtop and provide you with a go-to resource for making all your purchasing decisions.