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Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:19 pm
by Adam
I went straight into industry after my PhD. I have been a senior scientist for 4 years and was wondering how and if it possible to get a professorship. Being at a pharmaceutical company i obviously have no grant history and most my work was confidential so no papers and no work that i can bring with me.

Is it possible to even make this transfer now and what should one expect. Obviously doing a post-doc now is not something that I would want to do?

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:18 pm
by Park
Why do you want to come back to academic?
There are so many people here are trying their best to get into industry.


Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:31 pm
by Andrew
There are people who make this transition, but usually they come from an industrial position where they publish their work. If you have not published in 4 years, you would not be a strong candidate for an Assistant Professorship, nor would you be senior enough for an Associate Professorship. Unless you want to go teach at a small college, it may be very difficult to make this transition. You could look for an industrial research position where you can publish and then try to apply for Assoc. Prof. positions down the road. Good luck.

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:46 pm
by Dave Jensen
I think Andrew's advice is good, but there are few examples of people who have done this.

The ones that I know about are very high profile people, who were really high up in their companies (such as Genentech) and who went over to manage departments as a Chair. It is very difficult to get consideration on the academic ladder again once you have forsaken it for industry -- unless, as Andrew stated, you've got plenty of evidence of productivity.

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:04 pm
by Drew Parrish
Andrew, do you really think someone in industry would be competitive for a teaching faculty position at a small liberal arts college? I would think he would be less marketable for that than for a research faculty position. A solid research program in industry transfers to a solid research program in academia more easily than to a teaching curriculum in academia.

Do you know examples of people that have made this transition? I'm curious because I really enjoy teaching and undergraduate research programs. I'm in industry now (with no plans to leave) and thought I had closed the small liberal arts college "door" more firmly than the medical school door by leaving academia.

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:48 pm
by Denise
I had a similar query regarding an earlier career stage transition from industry to academia. Is it common for PIs to consider people with 1-2 years of industry experience for postdoc positions?

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:20 pm
by A. Sam
In regards to Drew's post, here's an example of someone you're looking for who went from industry to small liberal arts college faculty:

My guess is that there are plenty more like this, not to say that such transitions are easy, but not impossible either.

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:56 pm
by Andrew
Just have a look at faculty web sites. You will see examples of lots of people that once had industrial positions. Some people teach as adjunct faculty while in industry and this can lead to a teaching position full time. I personally know of half a dozen or so that have made this transition. To get into a university as a research faculty, you have to have a long history of research productivity in industry. To get a teaching position at a small college, you don't have to show this, but they will be looking for excellence in teaching, obviously difficult to demonstrate if you haven't been doing it. Overall, I'd say the teaching position would be easier to get from industry than the research position, but that's just my opinion.

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:25 pm
by Andrew
Here are a few people I know personally that have made this transition. All of them were pretty sucessful in industry and in mid to late career when they made the jump.

From Exxon-

From Monsanto -

From Mobil-

From Novartis -

From Becton Dickenson -

From AT&T-

From GE and others -

Industry to Academia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:39 pm
by Dave Jensen
Andrew, you went and outdid yourself on that one!!!

Thank you for the wonderful examples, and you too Sam!