Where talent wants to live

Paul Callaghan, one of New Zealand’s leading scientists, makes a forceful and compelling case for why the obvious avenues to economic growth won’t work, and why New Zealand should instead aim to grow its economy through niche, high tech businesses. Investment in research and development is one important ingredient in achieving this end. Well worth the 20 minutes viewing time.

Antipodes

pohutakawa estuaryI’ve just been home to New Zealand for a holiday. Choosing such a specific job has taken me literally to the opposite side of the planet.

Every scientist is a specialist in a very particular area, and this means there are very few work opportunities anywhere in the world. This often means they move far from home and the next job might not be in the same country or even the same continent.

This is of course a fantastic opportunity. I get to do a job I love, while living in an exotic country, learning about a new culture and language and working with people from all over the world. But of course there are difficulties too. Living far from home means being far from family and friends, and the comfort and enjoyment of living in a familiar culture and landscape. Visiting home reminds me of all the things that I miss.

This is not the first time I’ve lived ‘overseas’ and it might not be the last. Having made friends in several countries, wherever I go I’ll be far from some of them. It’s very easy to travel these days; the world has gotten a lot smaller, but it still feels pretty big sometimes.