Pure science students not averse to career outside academia

Pure science students not averse to career outside academia

: Soon after completing his MSc (Maste­r’s in Science), Pallava Bagla, the well-known science journalist, enrolled himself into a PhD programme at the Department of Ecological Science in Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Bagla was, however, not sure if he wanted to continue further. 

“I was at the crossroads of my life and I finally decided to leave after a year into the PhD programme,” said Bagla. Bagla was sharing glimpses of his journey towards a career in science journalism at a seminar recently. 

Although he left the course early, he carried on with his passion for science writing and photography, ultimately landing a job with international science magazine, Science. Years on, Bagla now divides his time as the science editor of a prominent news channel, a science writer and a photo contributor to a prominent photo agency.         At a time when science researchers in institutes all over the country are up in arms against the Central government for not increasing their stipends, pursuing an alternative career in allied areas of science outside the academia, the industry is something that is not being frowned upon by students

. Take for example Prash­ant Jethua, presently a PhD student at the National Centre for Biological Sciences. Jethua has worked for two years at an Indian pharmaceutical company before he decided to pursue PhD. “I wanted to study further and therefore came back to academics. However, the two years of working was a very good learning experience and I will not mind going back,” he said.   

Careers in science promotion, science illustration and design, science instruction, science writing and communication as well as working in museums and galleries are some of the alternative careers science students can pursue. 

In fact, the number of students opting for alternative careers outside academia is growing every year according to Nandani Rajamani Robin, co-director, India BioScience, an orientation that serves as a platform for strengthening scientific research. 

Robin, a researcher in Ecological Studies, has been involved in various efforts of science communication herself. Her team at India BioScience involves people with backgrounds in diverse science research who also work in science writing, communication and allied areas.