In focus: Sam Williams

On African wildlife, academic stability, and remote work

Continuing our series of written interviews with researchers at IGDORE: Dr. Sam Williams, conservation ecologist in South Africa with a PhD from Durham University, United Kingdom. Sam tells us about challenges and benefits of working in South African academia compared with British academia, and how remote work makes it easier to thrive academically while also having a rich family life.

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Sam’s academic workdesk in South Africa.

I often found myself trying to convince my boss or colleagues to allow me to make our data and code publicly available, to adopt reproducible research practices, to post preprints, and generally to adopt the principles of open science

Tell us a bit about your professional background.

Why did you join IGDORE?

Remote work really makes sense in this line of work, and I have found that it can be very conducive to a healthy work-life balance, providing the flexibility to spend time with family while also having a fulfilling career.

You and your wife are in the same area of research, which has had some consequences for your professional and private lives. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

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Dr. Sam Williams

Are there any particular challenges or benefits working in South African academia compared with British academia?

How would your ideal work life look like? Where would you live; where would you work; how many hours would you work per week?

What are your professional plans for the next few years?

What would you like to see more or less of by (or within) IGDORE?

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