We’re all drawn to science and graduate school for a reason. Because we’re good at scientific subjects, because we want to discover new things, because we want to help others by developing technology and growing the knowledge base. It’s our common thread as holders of master’s or doctoral degrees. But not all of us end up fulfilling these objectives in the same manner after graduate school. In today’s episode, James Bowers talks about how science brought him from the bench to science popularization, to the consulting arena in the science communication space.

James Bowers

James is a consultant and trainer at Agent Majeur, a science communication agency. Co-author of upcoming book “SELL YOUR RESEARCH – Public speaking for scientists” with Alexia Youknovsky, CEO of Agent Majeur, he has a PhD in Molecular Biology and an MSc in Science Media Production. Over his career, James has worked in TV production and is a communicator on “pop science” programs. At Agent Majeur, he trains in public speaking and science writing, consults on communication strategies and hosts events.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How you can inspire people for life by teaching and mentoring them
  • How important it is to take action when mental health issues are affecting your well-being
  • How taking a short break from research can give you the mental space to regroup and take important career and life decisions
  • Taking on new challenges/side-gigs as a way to find your calling, gain new skills, and enter a new professional arena

This episode’s pearls of wisdom:

“I think that a lot of people who have been through a PhD can empathize with that situation where you’ve just had a very stressful time, and you’re at your computer, and you stare at the screen, and nothing happens for hours. Nothing comes out, and you can’t write, and you’re just working on the same line, on the same sentence. After I’d kind of changed my mind about it offloaded a lot of my stress and worry, I then didn’t have as much of those times, I was much more efficient, I gave myself more time off, I didn’t force myself to come in too early or leave too late. I gave myself the physical and mental space I needed to take part in other things, which actually all kind of helped, itself.”

“You have to go in with no expectation of a result. So you go in and you test it, and you learn different things from different people. And if you release yourself of the expectation of some kind of success, or that it’s going to do well, then you can just enjoy it more. And then you can really listen to your voice, inside, and say ‘is this something I enjoy doing, or is this something that I feel like I have to do? And those two things are completely different.”

“The strategy, for me, was ‘motivate yourself, because no one else will motivate you. Find the energy where you can.”

“Just be kinder to yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

James’ links: @jimbologist; @agentmajeur; www.agentmajeur.com/blog; “SELL YOUR RESEARCH – Public speaking for scientists”.

You might also like the following episodes:

Élodie Chabrol – Science communication (French): PapaPhD.com/33

Fiona Robinson – Patient education: PapaPhD.com/6

Kelly Bullock – Science illustration: PapaPhD.com/9

Kirsten Sanford – Science communication: PapaPhD.com/13

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