07 September 2005

Another Bagatelle from the EC

Another news item that caught my eye on the EC website is a snippet from the "Researchers in Europe 2005" website. Apparently "studies show that science is struggling to keep pace with what may seem to be more lucrative, high-profile career options". I notice they leave out intellectual property law from the list. The news item continues that "with the growth of the media, internet and technology, as well as a wider range of job opportunities in the service and finance-economic sectors, the appeal of the sciences and their vital importance to society have been overshadowed."

Apparently, we need to attract and train between 600,000 and 700,000 new researchers by 2010 to meet our research needs before taking account of retirement of existing researchers. The website announces a number of initiatives all of which seem very worthy. But I think that they miss the point.

Every year since 1997 when I opened these chambers I have been inundated by requests for pupillages from bright young and women many of whom have excellent science, engineering and technology degrees. When I ask them why they want to become barristers they talk about the fabulous financial rewards and social prestige they hope to gain. Until we actually start to pay researchers and accord them the prestige that the law and medicine enjoy we shall continue to have a problem.

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