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Virtues / Physical & Biological Sciences

Pauline Chiu

Organic Chemist and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hong Kong.


Today’s researchers in the sciences face pressures in a “publish or perish” research environment. In pursuit of rankings or other key performance indicators set out by meta-institutions, the university administration passes these pressures to professors and research supervisors to generate data and papers, exacerbating an already highly charged and competitive atmosphere. Under the pressure to deliver, the professor-research student relationship can devolve into a utilitarian one, and virtues stand in the way of efficiency and productivity.

Research leaders and professors need courage to stand against such pressures, to insist that research publications are not an end, but the means, and to consistently pursue nurturing compassionate mentorships for the flourishing of students, relationships which are often bypassed in efforts to become more efficient research teams.