How good is Biotech as a future career?

Arthur E. Sowers arthures at
Sun Dec 21 22:44:21 EST 1997

Nature Biotechnology, 15, pp.1320-1321 (Dec, 1997) had the following
commentary article with the following bad title:

"Behind the color of 'no'"

by Torben Nielsen

Its basically about the public opinion of biotechnolgy, in general, in
Europe. This might not be totally relevant to whether you should consider
a career in biotech, but certainly opinions amongst the public is
something you might want to pay attention to along the way.

As far as what it means for science, in general, is another factor one
would do to monitor.

I wont go into all the details of the article (which has a lot of
statistic poll data), but will quote one significant paragraph:

"The Eurobarometer is periodically repeated, providing an opportunity to
chart shifts in opinion since earlier surveys in 1991 and 1993. Feelings
of 'pessimism' about biotechnology have increased markedly during the last
5 years. The 1991-survey reported that there were 40% more 'optimists'
(51%) than 'pessimists' (11%); by 1993 the difference had decreased to 33%
(48% optimists and 15% pessimists); and by 1996 it was down to 26
percentage (46% optimists and 20% pessimists)."

While I'm not real happy about word usage in the last sentence, the ratio
of optimists/pessimist did decrease and that may be a meaningful trend.
There is a wide variation from country to country in Europe and a diverse
set of reasons given in the accompanying tables in the original article.  

Companies are surely going to take "public acceptance" into consideration
in launching commercialization efforts and individuals need to think about
how this might affect their choices today for a career they hope will last
more than two or three decades into the future.

Art Sowers
Written in the public interest, the essays on 
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