Can Outstanding Research Be Done Under Less Than Ideal Conditions?

Rajko Igic


Great scientific discoveries rarely originate from small and poor countries. However, the lives and achievements of three Yugoslav scientists who were active in the biomedical sciences, Laza K. Lazarevic ́ (1851-1891), Ivan Djaja (1884-1957), and Pavao Stern (1913-1976), serve as an example of success in this environment. These scientists, as well as the majority of other successful investigators in small and poor countries, were
trained in foreign and developed countries and, upon return, were given the freedom to start a self-dependent research program. They overcame many obstacles, including wars and civil unrests, to contribute significantly to certain medical fields. It is interesting that although a Jew, Stern was allowed to work during the World War II in Zagreb, which became capital of the so-called Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state under German control. Perhaps his good name among pharmacologists helped him to keep position during this tough period. Nowadays, new technologies needed for biomedical research are rather expensive, and poor countries cannot afford to finance many scientists. Thus, selection of the most productive researchers is the challenge for those who finance scientific work.

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