This summer, I participated in the SciFinder Future Leaders program and it has been a life-changing experience. When I think about the experience, I feel a whirlpool of emotions, but one of my important take-homes is positivism about the future.
During the program, we went deep into a company that is the information solution provider for scientific research. In purchases, intellectual property, academic training, bibliographic research etc., it has become more intuitive, more valuable, and more human. I am talking, obviously, about CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society. The leaders at CAS are now more open-minded than ever, and their innovation elegantly captures the essence of the scientific method: Propose your hypothesis, test it in the market and refine accordingly.
The program also afforded me the opportunity to attend the 252nd ACS National Meeting & Exposition. The event made it undeniable that scientific developments are accelerating at an exponential pace, building upon all of our discoveries and developments from the last centuries. I attended talks by top-class researchers, and judging by their presentations, I conclude that we are on the brink of some major breakthroughs. Just look at the Kavli Lecture Series, the Talented 12 or at my SciFinder Future Leaders brethren for examples of the kinds of great work being done in science today.
One of my favorite memories from the ACS Meeting comes from the International Activities Committee: a big reception that facilitates networking with top researchers and other science-related personalities from every corner of the world, all of them open to exchanging ideas and working together.
My prediction for the future of research is that it will become really transdisciplinary – mathematicians and philosophers working together with biologists and chemists, all of this taking place in borderless networks. With the arrival of millions of people to the middle class in many economies, the number of researchers will multiply and the competitiveness and quality in science will increase. The roles of scientists and businesspeople will blend, as they work to bring disruptive technologies to every facet of our life such as robotics, nanorobotics, artificial intelligence, solar energy, 3D printing, precision medicine and more. Now more than ever the future is ours. What a time to be a scientist!
Vincent Blay Roger is a researcher and entrepreneur at Universitat de València and Instituto de Tecnología Química (UPV-CSIC) in Spain, where he works on solutions for a sustainable future. His recent startups include Scientiart and Angel.