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In November 2008, Stefan Gspandl of TU Graz sent me a questionnaire with a few personal (and a few non-personal) questions. Here's the answers I gave:
Let's start with a few personal questions:
- How many languages do you speak?
- Three fluent (English, French, German), four so-and-so (Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Latin).
- Do you play any musical instruments?
- Are you married / do you have children?
- Yes and yes.
- Are there problems to balance private and business life?
- Do you paint / write?
- No and yes.
- What sports do you participate in?
- Swimming, Jogging, Cycling
What does your daily business look like? What is your actual time
distribution and what is - according to you - the ideal weight of these
- How much time of your day do you spend on active research?
- 15% actual, 25% ideal
- How much time of your day do you spend on management activities?
- 25% actual, 5% ideal
- How much time of your day do you spend on fund raising activities?
- 5% actual, 0% ideal
- How much time of your day do you spend on teaching?
- 20% actual, 20% ideal
- How much time of your day do you spend on supervising?
- 30% actual, 40% ideal
- How much time of your day do you spend on presenting your ideas on conferences, and invited talks?
- 5% actual, 10% ideal
- What are your strategies to minimize time effort for the less
attractive parts of your daily business?
- Delegating as much as I can.
Let's talk about researchers.
- What do you think is the most important competence for researchers beside expertise?
- Do you still spend time doing research yourself or is most of your
work doing management tasks?
- My students do most of the research work, but advising them is not something I'd call management.
- Which (soft) skills are important to be a good researcher?
- Creativity, Focusing, Persistence.
- Do you plan your future (career) ahead, and are these plans more in
the short or the long term?
- Short term. I never planned my career further than six months.
- What do you think is more important: intelligence or hard-working?
- The whole point of intelligence is to get more work done in less time.
Now something about your personal career.
- What do you think was the best decision made in your life regarding your career?
- Doing something my advisor thought was crazy.
- How important is money for you (personal and for your research)?
- I don't worry about either.
- Have you ever had a total new idea that changed the world?
- My Wikipedia entry does not say so.
- What are the main differences of being a researcher in industry and
- In academia, you have people; in industry, you have the reality.
- What would you say to a student who wanted to shape his or her future
with a career in science?
- It's either fun or not worth it.
- How important is the research topic for success?
- Taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
On Loving What You Do
Finally - what is it that makes you tick?
- What is the best part of the work you do - the part that gives you the
most satisfaction? Conversely what is the downside of your work?
- I like the balance between research, teaching, writing, talking, advising, hacking, and managing. The downside is the constant feeling of being overwhelmed.
- What do you think it takes to be a good scientist?
- Enthusiasm and the constant desire to give one's best.
- Which core capabilities should a good university have?
- A good team spirit. Everything else follows.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> · http://www.st.cs.uni-saarland.de/zeller/onresearch/ · Updated: 2009-09-21 17:51