I am a U.S. scientist nearing the end of my Ph.D. (molecular biology). I have enjoyed the grad school experience, but like most everyone else, I see the writing on the wall regarding the challenges in finding a good, stable career as an independent scientist.
I am going through the agonizing decisions of career direction (academia, industry, teaching, research, none of the above?) as well as location.
For this post, the basic question is simple: what country (or planet) do you foresee having the best opportunities for a scientific career in the next few decades? (U.S. is an acceptable answer if you think government / economic / science policies will change for the better - but I don't want this to turn into a political discussion).
I have lived in the U.S. all my life, appreciate the opportunities I have had here, but am also very eager to spend some time elsewhere. The foremost reason for relocation would be for the scientific opportunities, but I would also like to live somewhere that would feel different and exciting (exposure to new cultures, outdoor recreational activities, possibly learning a new language as well).
Some places I am particularly considering:
New Zealand / Australia
England / Scotland
If you happen to live in one of the above-mentioned countries, what is your opinion of the science opportunities (funding, job security, etc.)?
If you have re-located from the U.S. to another country (either temporarily or permanently), could you comment on your experience?
For a fresh Ph.D., do you have any suggestions for types of positions to look for abroad (academic PD, industry PD, teaching?). I realize I will face tough hurdles for certain positions (because of travel expenses for interviewing, work permit, etc.) while others might be more feasible.
I have done some searching for articles about scientific careers abroad, but a lot were published before the global recession. For example, Singapore showed a lot of potential for biotech jobs in the 2000s and seems very receptive to recruiting foreign talent, but has the optimism considerably waned? Are the career options just as bleak, if not worse, everywhere else in the world?
I greatly appreciate any comments / suggestions you might be able to provide.
P.S. I'm serious about Mars as well! I have considered becoming an astronaut, which seems almost as feasible as having a good scientific career these days...