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In our modern knowledge economy, the life sciences constitute a major driver of innovation, involving many people and huge capital investment. Frank Miedema discusses how external forces changed the life sciences and how this affected the lives and careers of scientists. He argues that the romantic view of science as a consensus machine with scientists acting as altruistic truth seekers does not hold and is in need of revision. He is looking at the status of the products of the life sciences and at the ways scientists try to improve the impact of science in public debate and policy making. Despite the disenchantment that we are witnessing, he argues that science is a powerful tool in producing invaluable knowledge, needed to address the challenges of our time.