The Science Marathon – A Diagnostic Framework

[see Marathon Graphics]


  • Context – knowing the course/the organization is critical to success: What are the professional expectations of me? Who Succeeds? Who Doesn’t?
  • Do I have, or can I develop the key characteristics for success: Passion and Commitment, Self-Efficacy, Ability, Domain Knowledge, Life Circumstance, and Resilience.
  • Have I set appropriate expectations including choosing a ‘pacemaker’ – is my aim to be a world’s best (elite)‘scientific knowledge worker’, a ‘discovery researcher’, or a (non-elite)/valued team member or disseminator of knowledge?
  • Do I understand the differing demands of this choice, especially the need to compete rather than aim to contribute my personal best?

Strategy and Tactics

  • Have I developed a realistic load distribution – plan/pacing, protocols/research and personal economy?
  • Have I ia strategy for managing competing life demands/social expectations?
  • Do I know the risk of ‘Hitting the wall’ – post doc phase for women.
  • Can I shift my focus to survival and recallibrate aspirations?
  • Do I have well developed cognitive associative and dissociative strategies to get through difficult times?
  • Do I recognize and cultivate the importance of confidence?
  • Can I draw on behavioural coping strategies such as positive ‘self talk’
  • How do I reward myself when I realise goals?

Reflection and Review

  • What have I learnt, especially from bad experiences?
  • Who can assist me – do I have mentors and sponsors, can I learn from my colleagues experiences?
  • How do I support others in my team to ensure they succeed?
  • How do plan for the next phase – opportunities and incentives?
  • Do I have the capacity to change the nature of the race?
  • Am I competing in the right event?

Women in the Science Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage, was funded as an ARC Linkage project 2011-2014 (LP110200480).
Project Cis were Professor Sharon Bell and Professor Lyn Yates. The project was hosted by the University of Melbourne.