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Postdoc perspective: Why we chose to do a postdoc in industry

by Anna Tomberg , Kristina Pagh Friis
September 9, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 35

Credit: Michael Muratore

At every conference we have attended since we started working in pharma, we get the inevitable question: “Do you actually like it in industry?” The answer is always, “I love it!” This often stirs up a mixture of astonishment and doubt, but it is true. We love working in industry because the pace is fast, the goals are clear, and the standards are high. The notion circulating among young researchers that only an academic career allows scientific freedom is a misconception. While industrial research projects are considerably more goal oriented, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that we have the freedom to follow the science using any ethical approach to successfully achieve our objective. This comes with the responsibility to learn many new skills and to do it fast. However, hard work is not the only attribute that would set one up for success; in contrast to an academic setting, industrial projects are substantially more collaborative. Your greatest resource is no longer just your principal investigator but all your colleagues, highlighting the need for good communication skills. In industry, networking is everything: your next coffee break chat might be the one that leads to the tools or know-how to reach your goal this month instead of next year.



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