Msc in Bioinformatics or back to lab research i.e. take a gamble

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Msc in Bioinformatics or back to lab research i.e. take a gamble

Postby W. Udin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:43 am


I have a pretty huge decision to make regarding the direction I take my career and would like to get advice from you guys.

I'm a Botanist that has just completed my first Postdoc. I'm not a very ambitious person; I love science but I can't really see myself being a research leader I just want to make sure I'm in a position that I can do research for the rest of my career. Unfortunately my Postdoc was a complete bust and I was lucky to come out of it with just one low impact paper (which I have yet to finish writing). I’m now working as a curator at a leading bioinformatics Institute but I miss doing my own research and I’m not enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

I can’t really quit my current job as I have commitments plus my partner left their job to move here so I can’t really ask them to move again.

So as I see it I have two options:

1.I do have an interest in bioinformatics and I can see that the increasing data from genome sequencing will increase the need for bioinformatics. So I could do a long-distance, part-time MSc in Bioinformatics and take advantage of working in a bioinformatics institute to attend lots of courses then when my contract ends I could look for a position in bioinformatics research. The disadvantages of this is that an MSc is a lot of money and I’ll still be behind a computer all day

2.My PhD project was really interesting and there were a lot of questions left unanswered – questions if answered would be high-impact research. There is a possibility that I could approach my supervisors to try and secure funding for some part-time, unpaid research with a collaborator who has a lab nearby. As I see it this will be as much work as doing an MSc at home and it will hopefully enable us to get funding for a long-term research project in my area of interest after my contract here has finished. The disadvantages of this is that my supervisors might say no, nothing may come out of the project (it’s all just speculation at the moment), I may have to find the funding, and I may not get any funding.

So what do you guys think? I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.

As I see it I can either play is safe or take a huge gamble.

P.S. Sorry for the long post but I'm really torn between the two options.
W. Udin
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:37 am

Re: Msc in Bioinformatics or back to lab research i.e. take a gamble

Postby PG » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:26 pm

what about 3) focus on getting a real job?

Looking at your two options I am not sure which one you consider being safe vs taking a huge gamble.

Paying a lot of money to go back to school to get a degree that is lower than the one you already have and then try to compete with everyone else pursuing that degree doesnt necessarily look like a safe option to me unless you already have a contact that you think will be able to offer you a job.

If you can use your PhD project to apply for funding for a real positon (or at least a payed postdoc position) this seems like an OK option but working for free and betting on good results from a project doesnt seem safe either. The risk that your previous supervisor would say no of course exist but at least that risk is before you commit any time and resources to a project.
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