Why are scientists not managers?

The Importance of Interdisciplinary Skills in Business and Science


Written by Contract-Biotechnology.com


Business management and science are two disciplines interdependent, where, the research is the translation from money to knowledge and innovation is the metamorphosis of knowledge to money.



That is why, now more than ever companies need a new type of scientist, someone who knows not only science, but also business administration and management. But the question is; can the educational system at this moment satisfy those needs? In our opinion more work needs to be done, especially in the minds of scientists and managers.



What is important to Scientists?


Publications and papers are the important things for them, discovering things no one had seen or known before. They are specialist in their field of science but they lacked the sense for real world situations.



For manager people, the money is definitely the one topic on his mind from morning to evening. Patents are more to his liking than publications. The manager has to see the product or process out of the research project. The manager has to see the cost and the returns of the investment.  



Both skills are needed now a days y the life science industry



 Companies need both types of people if they want to survive in today’s fast-paced economy. And as the business environment is changing, companies are searching for new managing concepts.



why is it so difficult for the scientist to understand the manager and viceversa?



In our opinion, their motivations are different. Independence of science and knowledge creation is more important for the scientist than cost and revenue (that is true at least for university research). Most scientists probably agree that money should be spent for research, although no immediate profit can be seen.


But the most crucial point is that there is arrogance on both sides, where each one thinks he understands the other one completely. But this in not absolutely true.



The manager as well as the scientist would have to study at least parts of the other’s field to understand not only the words, but also the other’s motivations, thoughts and impact on value creation.



Therefore, companies need someone that can profound knowledge of science can motivate colleagues and handle financial responsibilities. Especially now, where R&D have to meet higher expectations for profitability, we need multi-skilled people. Employees who have experience in both science and management fields. That is, firms need a person who can cross the gap between existing research knowledge and commercialization.


That is why; new undergraduate studies that focus on science and business were established during recent years. But, in our opinion, even more work needs to be done.



Therefore, we propose two measures.


  • First, we need a consistent advancement of university degrees and courses. This should be done in cooperation with companies, as they best know what the industry needs.


  • Second, we must establish a system of certified scientific qualifications that would increase the transparency of scientific knowledge.



Both measures will help to fill the gap between the sciences and management. They will create a better understanding of R&D and management and hence help optimize processes within companies. Thus, some scientists might become managers.



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