The Larger Questions
As director of ELSI, one of my most important tasks, and also one that I find most rewarding, is in the selection of young and qualified scientists to join our institute. Our PIs and I believe that the research strength of ELSI lies in the hands of this next generation.
What do the Recruitment Committee members and I look for in an applicant? Because of ELSI's research goals -to answer the fundamental questions of how the Earth formed, how life originated in the early Earth environment, how life evolved into more complex forms over time, and what knowing more about these questions could tell us about the possibility of life elsewhere in our solar system and beyond- we must necessarily be multi- and interdisciplinary.
When I evaluate a candidate, I often ask, "What question excites you? What question do you want to explore?" I find that many applicants are able to delve narrowly and deeply within their own research focus. This is important too. But the individuals we are looking for need to have a passion beyond their focus. Yes, the candidate's desire to pursue interdisciplinary research is on our check-list, as is the strong ability to reach out and communicate with a varied group of people. In my experience, these two traits only truly come alive and transform into actual bridge-building between disciplines when the individual has the ability to ask what I call larger questions and to have the pliable imagination to integrate their research passion into the bigger question. In a multi-disciplinary institute where our success depends on synergistic efforts, we are looking for self-motivated, curious thinkers who are able to envision where their research strengths and focus might fit in to the greater research questions at ELSI.
So let's first discuss your big question together. We are looking forward to your application.
Earth-Life Science Institute