New beginnings, and How@ Trading Science?

By Jennifer Nickel 13/07/2012 2


Something that I didn’t anticipate when I started my Sustainable Practice course at Otago Polytech is that I would learn so much about social, governance and economic sustainability – way more so than the environmental aspect that everyone first thinks of when I mention the S-word.

I think learning about those other aspects really influenced my recent decision to move back to Hamilton though.  After all, as you learn you start picking up on different things in your environment that then go on to influence your decisions.  Times ahead (globally) are looking a bit volatile and Auckland just couldn’t offer my situation the same comforts that I feel Hamilton can.

So, I said my goodbyes to those in the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (lovely people – biologists and chemists – who will go on to make many many more awesome discoveries ) and made the move without something new lined up yet except extra time to catch up on my assignments and more blogging.  Just because I’ve taken a step away from the lab doesn’t take the scientist out of me though.   I’m already working on a research proposal for a sustainability-focused project coming up – this time the methods I employ will be much more social science rather than test-tubes, so that’ll be an interesting mountain to climb!

At some stage some money will have to come in though.  I was grumbling a bit about that today but then I came across something in Idealog today that’s pretty new and exciting: The Freelance Project.  Essentially, a trading site for those who have skills to be connected to those who need projects done (e.g. businesses).  I hope it goes off because I’d love to use it for my office skills.  I completely agree with the founder that platforms like this have the potential to revolutionize employment in New Zealand.  Like many other Web 2.0-type initiatives it empowers people and lowers the barriers of trade, thereby making it easier for them to meet their needs.  And when people can meet their needs, sustainability is all the more achievable.

It also made me wonder, could science in New Zealand also one day be traded on such a platform?  Might there be someone out there who would like a scientist on demand for a fee to help them answer this-or-that question, or design an experiment?  If so, I know a lot of lovely people who love to share their knowledge and skills and I imagine would take it up.  Also, how would that impact on science literacy and communication in New Zealand?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!


2 Responses to “New beginnings, and How@ Trading Science?”

  • My entire company is built on that basis – ask a scientific question or pose a scientific problem and we solve it on a case-by-case basis.
    Unpredictable income is the downside but good for those who have a short attention span and like a variable work day!

  • Thanks for that Anna! it is nice to have an example mentioned that it can work well. Having the scientists together in a company would give people a reference point, broad expertise but still spread the risk too. It shows I had definitely been in the Uni-silo for too long if that didn’t even come to mind!
    I guess what really makes me personally curious though is how the world would look if it were opened up in a web 2.0 kind of way where anyone can help anyone.