• Question: Was money a motivating factor to become a scientist or was it all passion?

    Asked by band499bed on 20 Feb 2024. This question was also asked by arms1saw.
    • Photo: Erin Pallott

      Erin Pallott answered on 20 Feb 2024:

      I’m doing a PhD so I can look for a career I find both interesting and will pay me well. Money is an important factor, I won’t pretend it’s not! But you would struggle to make it through something like a PhD without any passion for science, so that’s also essential.

    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 20 Feb 2024:

      Very much more about the passion of finding out new stuff and helping to train the next generation of scientists. Salary is not that important, I get enough to live on and enjoy that life.

    • Photo: Andrew McDowall

      Andrew McDowall answered on 20 Feb 2024:

      Not entirely one and not entirely the other. There was a conscious decision to chose a subject and a career that would give a good prospect of steady employment and a sufficient wage to enjoy life, if not an exceptional one. This was a consequence of growing up at a time of high unemployment and great uncertainty, which affected my outlook and choices. I looked for a subject and role that might not pay the most, but was likely to pay me regularly.

      I chose to follow what satisfied both head and heart, not what would have delighted the heart and despaired the head or vice versa.

    • Photo: Emma Weir

      Emma Weir answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      I didn’t think about money at all when I got into science, it was just because I enjoyed it (maybe this was naive of me!).

      PhD students only make ~£18,000 a year, so you need a lot of passion to motivate you through it, but it should improve our potential to make more money in the future.
      Hopefully I’ll be in a well paid job when I finish but I can’t imagine working in any other field.

    • Photo: Zoe Vance

      Zoe Vance answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      I can’t say I really thought about money early in picking a career path, outside of thinking about how easy it would be to get a job in general. Even now I’m really happy once I have all my bills covered and a bit extra to save or spend on something fun every so often. So really a choice motivated by passion I think!

    • Photo: David McGonigle

      David McGonigle answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      …as i’ve noted elsewhere, it wasn’t money for me! Passion is a bit strong, but yes, I can still feel that need and fascination when we plan a new experiment, or I read someone else’s work and realise: ‘wow – I did not think that was possible!’

    • Photo: Maryam Sani

      Maryam Sani answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      No, I was more interested in the courses and the experiments than money.

    • Photo: Rachel Edwards

      Rachel Edwards answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      Science can be well paid, depending on what bit you go into. As others have said, a PhD isn’t particularly well paid, so you need passion to do one, but a science degree or PhD can open a lot of doors.

      Saying that, I’m in this role because I love it. I make enough money now to be comfortable, which is a benefit, but my motivation is that I really enjoy what I do. I am happier in my job than some friends who went into much better paid areas, even though they could probably buy the entire terrace of houses I live in 😀

    • Photo: Georgia Lambert

      Georgia Lambert answered on 22 Feb 2024:

      My answer is a bit different from everyone else because it was kind of neither! Money has never been a particularly motivating thing for me (beyond having enough for the basics and an occasional holiday). But I am also not one of those people who wanted to be a scientist since I was 5 and have always been interested in the area I am currently studying. I chose to do a PhD because I had the skillset and qualifications to do well at it and because I thought it would be fun to spend 4 years learning about something new, living in a cool city, and meeting interesting people. I do really like what I do but to me, it is just a job that I want to leave in the office/lab at the end of the day it is not my whole life!

    • Photo: Paul O'Nion

      Paul O'Nion answered on 23 Feb 2024:

      I think you follow your interests, it would be nice if it paid as well as accountancy but the problem solving & getting to understand how things work is much more fun than numbers 🙂

    • Photo: Michael Schubert

      Michael Schubert answered on 26 Feb 2024:

      It was a little of both! I am passionate about science and science communication, but I was also steered away from some other career options because it was too hard to get a job in those fields or because they might not have paid enough to live. But science, like every other field, has a wide range of jobs and opportunities; some pay massive amounts of money and some don’t pay much at all!

    • Photo: Alexander De Bruin

      Alexander De Bruin answered on 26 Feb 2024:

      the money was more a factor when I was deciding between science and music, though it is now a case of me following my passions within science.

    • Photo: Ai-Lan Lee

      Ai-Lan Lee answered on 1 Mar 2024:

      It was definitely not money, and more about wanting an interesting career that I enjoyed. Nevertheless, science can be well paid, it’s just that it’s not usually the motivation for us. Science degrees are usually highly valued.

    • Photo: Abbie Young

      Abbie Young answered on 6 Mar 2024:

      I wouldn’t say money was a factor for me. I just really loved the idea of working in Cardiology and with the heart. I also wanted to work with patients, so this is what pushed me to get my job.