Ian Frazer describes medical research work, 2008

Transcript of sound recording

One of the nice things about doing medical research is that while you're doing something that you yourself enjoy, it's also doing good for other people. And a large part of the satisfaction comes out of knowing that at the end of the day the work you're doing will help a lot of other people besides yourself.

The frustrating bit of a career in research is always - well, there are two frustrations - one is that, unlike science that gets done in school practical classes, the science that you do in the real world, 90 per cent of the time it doesn't work. And therefore you have to get used to the idea that things won't work the way you'd like them to do, or fail for reasons beyond your control. And that sort of disappointment is routine in science. And if you're somebody that's easily discouraged by things not working, then perhaps maybe you should think about something other than science as a career, because you're going to have a lot of disappointments in your career - not drastic ones, but just things that don't work, or somebody gets there first, or you don't get the grant that you'd like.

The other side of a career in science at the moment is that you have to understand that it is very much a 24/7 job, because to compete for funding for your position you will be competitive only to the extent that you're fully up-to-date and you're competing in a global village with everybody else around the world. So that basically means you've got to be absolutely aware of what everybody else is doing and keep up to date with the science. But actually that's the fun bit, because you find out all these interesting things by reading what other people are up to.