‘Research Interests’

I’ve been thinking a bit more about E. O. Wilson’s advice to young scientists. No doubt it’s great to say that one should pursue one’s passion when choosing a field of research, but how realistically can one expect to do so? Perhaps, a tenured scientist or someone with the reputation of Wilson himself may have the freedom to research on whatever he wants, but what about someone with a fledgling scientific career? How much of our research ‘interests’ will be influenced by that of our supervisors, Professors, funding agencies, available postdoctoral positions, organizational goals and existing projects in our department, as this cartoon by PhD Comics alludes to?

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