Podcasts by Scientists: The Struggling Scientists

Podcasts by Scientists: The Struggling Scientists
2 years ago

Podcasts by Scientists: The Struggling Scientists

In the next in our Podcasts by Scientists series, we’re shining the spotlight on The Struggling Scientists! Created by PhD students Suzanne Van Wouw and Jayron Habibe, the podcast highlights the many challenges faced by scientists today, as well as providing tips and tricks for PhD students, and explaining some exciting science along the way. 

We spoke to Suzanne and Jayron about their science backgrounds, their passion for science communication, and the creation of The Struggling Scientists podcast…


Hi Suzanne and Jayron! Can you tell us a little bit about your background as scientists?

Jayron: We are both PhD students from the Medical Biochemistry Department at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, but we have different research topics. Suzanne specialises in cholesterol metabolism, while I specialise in glucose metabolism, focussing on a gene called FHL2 and its effects in cardiovascular disease and metabolism.


How did the podcast come about?

Jayron: It has always been my dream to start a podcast. After meeting Suzanne we realised that we really like talking about science together (maybe a bit too much!). So we decided to combine these two passions and start a science podcast specifically for scientists.

Suzanne: Science can be a struggle at times, so we started a podcast to talk about the good, the bad, the results and the drama of science. We talk about general science subjects that we want to know more about, and about our own and other’s experiences as scientists.


Is this the first podcast you have been involved with?

Jayron: Technically not. I started another podcast about investing earlier on, but quickly found that doing a podcast together with Suzanne was much more fun so decided to focus on that.


Who is the podcast aimed at?

Suzanne: We decided to make a podcast specifically aimed at scientists because we felt that this was missing in the podcast space. Being a scientist can be quite hard so we wanted to make it a bit more fun.

Jayron: I think it’s great to have an honest and open conversation with researchers about both the good and the bad aspects, but also just to talk about some really cool science as well.


What makes this podcast different from other science-based podcasts out there?

Suzanne: There are science podcasts that focus on explaining science topics to everyone, and there are podcasts that focus on highlighting the struggles of scientists, but we wanted to combine both. We not only explain the science but also highlight the struggles as well as provide tips and tricks to help PhD students during their PhD.


Why is science communication and outreach so important to you?

Suzanne: It has always been very important to us and is something that is still lacking so we try to do what we can.

Jayron: Often as scientists we are stuck in our own bubble and we think because we know something, everyone must also know it. That simply isn’t true. It is easier than ever to communicate with people now, and a podcast is a great way to keep those science conversations going.


If you could interview absolutely anybody, who would be your dream podcast guest?

Suzanne: Well, there are several “dream” podcast guests we would love to have on at some point, but at the end of the day, our podcast is about the relatability of science and research so therefore we also focus on spotlighting PhD students and their research.


How do you see the podcast growing/what are your plans for it long-term?

Jayron: The podcast has been growing very nicely and we plan to maintain the consistency of releasing episodes and continue finding great guests to interview.


Which has been your favourite episode of the podcast so far?

Jayron: As we continue to improve our podcasting technique we find that we always love the latest episode as that showcases all our skills at the time and we always learn something new that we can improve after every recording. So for us, it probably right now is the latest episode (#37) on science writing tips with academic writing coach Anna Clemens.


What advice would you give to other scientists who are keen to get into podcasting?

Jayron: Just get started doing it. You don’t need the fanciest equipment or to have everything figured out when you get started because you will figure out as you go along what works and what doesn’t. Just get started and keep at it.


What have been the most enjoyable and most challenging aspects of making a podcast?

Suzanne: The most enjoyable aspect is having the opportunity to meet and talk with other science communicators and awesome people in general.

Jayron: The most challenging part has been the technical stuff. While it’s still hard, you do end up figuring it out as you keep recording podcast episodes.


Aside from The Struggling Scientists, which other science-themed podcasts would you recommend?

Jayron: I would have to say The Huberman Lab by Dr. Andrew Huberman.


How can our readers listen to your podcast?

You can find our Podcast on all the major podcasting platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Audible, Stitcher, and many more!


Thank you for speaking to us Suzanne and Jayron! Connect with The Struggling Scientists podcast, buy merchandise from their online shop or sign up to their monthly newsletter:


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