• Question: What are the main challenges you encounter as scientists and how do you cope up with them?

    Asked by chat16and to Peter, Mary, Jacquie, George, Boniface, Alice on 15 Feb 2021.
    • Photo: Boniface Oyugi

      Boniface Oyugi answered on 15 Feb 2021:

      For me, the main challenge is finance/ grants/ money. Research and publishing take a significant amount of finance and not many governments, particularly from low/low and middle-income countries, put aside adequate finance. And where governments from High-income countries step in, there is a lot of competition and rejections that come with the application to access the funds.

    • Photo: Jacquie Oliwa

      Jacquie Oliwa answered on 15 Feb 2021:

      Several challenges may come up in the course of doing science, I’ll try illustrate with a couple of examples from my own experiences..
      1. Cost of doing good research- this can be overcome by ensuring that you have good proposal (with a good question, of public health importance), and good mentors to identify funding sources suitable to your work. While still early in your career, teaming up with senior scientists who already have funding helps, and they can support you to apply for your own grants

      2. Rejection- rejection of your articles form journals, rejection of grant applications, unsuccessful job applications. Being a scientist needs you to develop grit.thick skin, because more often than not, your work may be rejected..If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again..

      3. Imposter syndrome- many scientists if they are honest have often grappled with the thoughts that their work is not good enough..it’s probably because science attracts for driven personalities who struggle with failure. Having a good mentor helps, as well as good colleagues like the ones many of us here have had the fortune of working with at KEMRI.

      4. external factors like political instability, industrial action, insecurity, pandemics etc..all these can delay or even prevent you from collecting data for your studies. For things outside your control, you can acknowledge them as limitations and come up with alternative strategies. A good scientist has to be flexible, and able to think on their feet..

      I will let my colleagues add on from their experiences

    • Photo: George Serem

      George Serem answered on 17 Feb 2021:

      The difficulty in having the people high in government reason together with our findings and have them implement it due to insufficient resources