Q&A with Courtney Stevens
Medical research foundation
hunts scientists around globe
Q: I know OMRF employs scientists from all over the world. How many and which countries are represented?
A: We have about 30 different countries represented. Those include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Greece, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Philippines, Russia, Spain and a dozen or so others.
Q: Why is worldwide recruiting important to the success of OMRF? Aren't there enough talented researchers right in the U.S.?
A: U.S. colleges and universities aren't producing enough science and technology graduates to fill all the jobs available in these sectors. So, we increasingly have to look to international sources to fill our labs. Also, the days of the U.S. as the uncontested leader in medicine and medical research are no more. If we want the best and brightest minds to attack our most challenging health problems, we need to look beyond our borders.
Q: What are some of the challenges OMRF and other scientific organizations face with multinational workforces?
A: It can be expensive and time-consuming to identify and recruit qualified international candidates. So initial interviews with international applicants are typically conducted virtually with Skype. When we hire employees from overseas, they typically require visas, which entail a lot of paperwork, time and expense. Then once our new researchers are here, communication issues sometimes arise, so we offer on-site English-as-a-second-language classes.
Q: What are OMRF's future recruiting goals?
A: We just welcomed two new principal scientists, including a new leader for our Immunobiology and Cancer Research Program, and we have two more scientists starting this fall. That means we'll need excellent research and administrative staff to support them. Going forward, our strategic growth plan envisions ongoing national and international recruiting efforts to continue attracting the best and brightest scientific talent to Oklahoma and OMRF.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER