IDBS Blog | 11th September 2014

The 86 Million Dollar Question: How Can We Make Science Social?

Millennials will represent 40% of the total US working population by 2020 – that’s 86 million people. This group has never known a world without the internet and will be more tech-savvy than any working generation before it. Research and development (R&D) organizations will quickly need to work out how to tap into Generation Y to retain and attract new talent.

As the next generation comes up into the lab, we will see a seismic shift in expectations when it comes to technology in the workplace. They will demand more efficient and effective informatics to create and develop products that can change the world. Scientists and researchers will instigate a move from work/life ‘balance’ to work/life ‘integration’. Mobile and remote web-access to scientific information will be more important than ever before.

Making science social will also be a key differentiator for leading R&D organizations. Tech savvy researchers will expect to create, access and share an immense amount of data, with the support of familiar social gadgets used in everyday life. They will need collaboration tools which their make data more accessible, both internally and across global external partnerships. Typical social media norms, including tagging or commenting, will need to be integrated into this new informatics landscape.

Technology is ready to face this new world head on, from mobile and remote-working solutions to social networking. It has the power to drive innovation and change the way researchers work and interact today. It will also be vital to meeting the changing workforce requirements of this decade.

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