Daring to follow untraveled paths in science can be both daunting and risky for young scientists. Yet boldness is a common, key ingredient in the careers of the most successful scientists.
In these days of self-doubt, it's good to recall words from Thomas Waldmann, who since 1973 has been chief of the Metabolism Branch at the U.S. National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. When asked about the best approach to being a scientific leader, Waldmann recommends:
"First, choose young scientists who show originality in their thinking and almost have a maverick mind. They have to be bright, hardworking and [able to] work in a team."
Assuming you work in labs led by PIs with the same philosophy as Waldmann, boldness and competence should be rewarded.
The full interview was published last Wednesday in The Washington Post.
"Then, as the administrator, give them the resources and a large amount of independence. Show enthusiasm and support for their activities."