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Communications of the ACM

ACM Careers

Diversity in the Lab Makes Me a Better Scientist


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My lab attracts people from all over the world, and getting to interact with them not only enriches me personally, it makes me a better scientist. I am exposed, daily, to challenges from different disciplines and perspectives—challenges that make me better explain the rationale and conclusions of my research. This back-and-forth between challenge and response drives my work forward.

Results produced by international teams receive, on average, more citations than those from groups from just one country and are generally published in journals with higher impact factors. An international environment forces you to consider different perspectives to begin with and helps you to communicate your ideas more clearly in the end.

The have backgrounds in electrophysiology, molecular biology, medicine and psychology. The different scientific backgrounds and research topics of people I collaborate with and our different ethnicities and cultural upbringings push me outside of my comfort zone. I need to prepare more thoughtfully for collaborations. I need to anticipate disagreement or difficulties in explaining a concept to co-authors or colleagues, and I have to work harder to understand my own project's rationale to begin with. What is more, I consider alternatives, which makes me more flexible in my research down the line.

From Scientific American
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