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Why would an academic scientist hire a consultant?

As a principal investigator with a large and diverse group of postdocs, graduate students and technicians, I spent most of my time managing people, planning experiments, writing papers and preparing grant proposals. Striking the right balance between these many activities was always a challenge. Time is often the biggest limitation especially when it comes to grant deadlines that may conflict with teaching obligations, field work and conferences. Managing that limited time becomes critical and often creates tremendous stress when coupled to striking a work-life balance. Having a scientific partner to lean on through this process is tremendously beneficial, can inspire new research directions and force you to focus on the most critical tasks at hand.

As a co-founder of the ag biotech start up, Benson Hill Biosystems, I have first hand knowledge of the agricultural industry and can work with you to frame your scientific questions in the context of application. I can also help you identify potential partnerships with academic and industry scientists to accelerate your science and provide a sounding board for your ideas and provide constructive criticism of proposed experiments. I will work on your team to help identify recent technologies that could accelerate your science, craft a strong proposal, or outline compelling story for that high impact publication. If my area of expertise is outside of your interests, I will work with you to identify potential collaborators.

More and more, science is becoming a team sport, yet most of us have been trained to compete as individuals. Finding a team of collaborators with a willingness to interact, with complementary expertise and with a limited number of dependencies is often key to finding successful partnerships. I can help establish contacts for you, suggest new technologies and help you to develop a research program that presents a compelling case to address pressing issues in plant science research. This could be especially useful if you study A. thaliana or another non-crop model system and are looking to apply your research to agricultural challenges.

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