Dawn of the entrepreneurial scientist: CSIRO

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The CSIRO is talking up the value of what it terms ‘the entrepreneurial scientist’, noting that a good team must have this type of researcher in its ranks in order to succeed.

Speaking to Defence Connect, CSIRO science director and deputy director of manufacturing Dr Cathy Foley said there were basically three types of scientist involved in the overlapping disciplines of science, business and politics.

“Some people can be all of them and some of them can be one or two, but most people are just one of them,” Dr Foley said, classing the entrepreneurial scientist as the researcher who seizes on the exact methodology required to transform quality scientific findings into ground breaking applications, suitable for wider usage.

“[They] apply it and think of ways of doing deals and getting it so that they're able to push to get things from that solid science thing into getting it out there,’ she said. “They often drive the solid scientists nuts because they cut corners and they're doing things a minimum viable product, and it's not perfect but they want to get it out there.”

Dr Foley said a functioning research team must also include the creative scientist wielding “lots and lots of ideas, of which mainly only one in every thousand is probably worth following”.

“They're absolutely critical to create that new idea in innovation,” said Dr Foley. “They’re the ones who create the new-to-the-world ideas.”

“And then the next one … I call the solid scientist, and they're the ones who are absolutely critical in the sense that quite often they will have some ideas,” she summed up. “A good team will have all three.”

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