Retirement

Russell Coope working in his home study during retirement, 2011.  Image courtesy Sarah Lazarus and AHOB Project
Russell Coope working in his home study during retirement, 2011. Image courtesy Sarah Lazarus and AHOB Project

What do scientists do when they retire? Many of them actually carry on working, completing existing research projects or embarking on new ones, unencumbered with the administrative duties that they had previously endured. Others continue to work but branch out in new directions, seeking new challenges and applying their expertise to a different set of problems. The nature of the research they were involved in as well as the kind of organisation they worked for and the circumstances and timing of retirement affect the options open to retirees. For many, particularly in universities, formal retirement has little impact on their commitment to research and their enthusiasm for new projects remains undiminished, even if they have to find new ways of completing them. Government scientists have fewer options to continue withtheir existing work but often have a range of contacts in other organisations that allow them to move easily into consultancy roles. Those who move away from science completely often use their time to develop new skills and talents, frequently developing high levels of competence and expertise. Whatever they chose to do, retired scientists and engineers remain extremely active well into formal retirement.

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