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When we think of scientists, we often think of the lone researcher plodding away at the bench late into the night. We imagine Alexander Fleming scrutinizing his penicillium molds or Einstein pondering the latest equation he’s written on the chalk board.
We go a step further when training new scientists: we ask them to complete an ‘independent research project.’ We tacitly perpetuate this notion of the solitary scientist, making her own success or failure.
The side effects of this lone-wolf approach to research are painfully manifest: projects that stall on a single experiment, money wasted teaching everyone the same techniques, and students who burn out due to frustration, lack of direction, or just plain loneliness.
In Part 3 of our goal to modernize the PhD process, we propose a radical 180º turn from the independent project.
Let’s turn science into a team sport.