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Private research trust

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Private research trust

Postby Tony Derten » Mon May 14, 2018 8:37 am

I have an offer for a job with a private research trust kind of company, and would like to get an idea about career potential. This is a senior level lab based position and would involve all the latest and greatest technologies and close interactions with five different groups within the organization. The offer is very reasonable in terms of salary, and I wouldn't have thought twice about it if it was with a big(ger) company. I'm a postdoc with plenty of experience, and really eager to get out of academia. Ideally, I'd want an industry research job with solid promotion potential, but after two postdocs, I'm really open to other options as well.

With this job I'm concerned about the very private nature of the organization, and the possibility of getting sandboxed in my career. I haven't found out much about this company even after going through three interviews. They explained the job and research, but not much other than that. I can only gather that this is some sort of a hyper "wellness" club, where people pay in to get their body fluids routinely analyzed by the latest scientific equipment and based on the latest scientific findings, that have not been approved as formal tests by the FDA. Then if anything pops up, they'd be alerted to it and referred to clinics to do exploratory tests.

The interview process was also weird--it was conducted exclusively by the hiring manager, who did not even invite me to her office. I had to insist that I get to see the offices/facilities--the person interviewing me wanted to just talk in the hotel conference room. She kept on insisting it is because of the very private nature of their activities. At the end of the day, I did get to see the offices and labs and to superficially speak with a couple other people. But the whole experience felt rather odd.

I'd like to get some thoughts from experts here on whether it's advisable to take this kind of position. It could provide a very solid technical expertise and the organization appears to be small, but very well funded. That said, it is hyper-private, and it is non profit--so there are no patents and no publications. My biggest concern is that three years from now, if I decide to move elsewhere, I won't have a record of publications, patents, or even name recognition, as they are so privacy focused, they don't advertise or have much of a web site.
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Re: Private research trust

Postby PG » Mon May 14, 2018 3:52 pm

I think that it will depend a lot of the reputation that this organization has among other companies and organizations in the field.

I am also not sure that I understand what the purpose of the organization is. Is it to perform research or something else. Most organizations tend to either exist to make a profit, to provide a service (which is then usually highly visible) or to perform research (which is then usually published) but what you describe doesnt really fit into any of these categories.

Generally my advice is to be very careful with accepting a position with anyone when the interview experience or somethign else seems weird. To have only the hiring manager performing the interview is OK. We do this as well sometimes for entry level positions. Even if we always tries to have more than one person meet every candidateit is not always possible. However, they should be able to clearly state what they are doing and why.
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Re: Private research trust

Postby Tony Derten » Mon May 14, 2018 4:29 pm

PG, thanks for your response. To address something you said:

I am also not sure that I understand what the purpose of the organization is.


To be honest, me neither. And that's after three interviews. The org has essentially zero public profile, and I was told it is by design. It's privately funded, and does "advanced biomarker and personalized medicine" work and research for its funders. I did not find any publications associated with the org. That said, their lab is very well equipped and the job offer is rather generous--aside from no bonuses, stock options, or patents.
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Re: Private research trust

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed May 16, 2018 4:21 am

Tony:

I would proceed with extreme caution. Given all that you told me, if it was me in your shoes, my BS detector would be flashing red.

Best of luck,

Dick
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Re: Private research trust

Postby E.K.L. » Wed May 16, 2018 12:01 pm

Tony Derten wrote:PG, thanks for your response. To address something you said:

I am also not sure that I understand what the purpose of the organization is.


To be honest, me neither. And that's after three interviews. The org has essentially zero public profile, and I was told it is by design. It's privately funded, and does "advanced biomarker and personalized medicine" work and research for its funders. I did not find any publications associated with the org. That said, their lab is very well equipped and the job offer is rather generous--aside from no bonuses, stock options, or patents.

My guess is (keep in mind it is just a guess) that this is one of those private ventures who offer "personalized medicine" testing for a fee. While there is a lot of research and even clinical trials on adjusting the treatments based on individual genetic markers etc., there are also a lot of scams offering diagnostic testing of little clinical value to people. In my opinion, a company being this secretive about what they charge their customers for should be a red flag.
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Re: Private research trust

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed May 16, 2018 12:16 pm

Dick Woodward wrote:Tony:

I would proceed with extreme caution. Given all that you told me, if it was me in your shoes, my BS detector would be flashing red.

Best of luck,

Dick


I totally agree with Dick and EKL on this one, that the "company" sounds more than a bit weird and unless you get some good vibes from other employees, I would reconsider.

Dave
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