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              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans


PhD: To do or not to do...

phd industry comparison

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#1 P-Gruter

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:53 PM

Hey guys, it's been a while.


I'm at a stage in education where I can decide to enter the job market or continue education as a PhD student, with or without an internship in industry beforehand. 


I at an intersection here. Thus, I'd like to present to you my preferential options. If possible and not asked too much, I would like you to suggest me which way to go and for what reason. Also, if you have further ideas that I could pursue, dont hesistate to propose them to me as well. A brainstorm with a thousand brains basically :P


So I'm finishing a Masters of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I have started to get a bit interested in science policy, but am also still interested in wet lab work.


From here, I could either go into industry (Big Pharma, or a start up, etc.) and try to contribute to the advancement of rejuvenation tech to the largest extent from there.

Another way would be to pursue a PhD directly in a lab that does research on aging and eventually try to start my own group, or change direction from there (into industry with the ability to climb the career ladder way easier with a PhD degree).

And the third that I'm really eyeing and liking is to try and find a PhD where i partially would do wet lab work in aging, and at the same time do some ethics work or science policy that has the potential to also push the anti-aging field.Though I dont know how feasible it is to find such a PhD position. And also, I'm doubting if policy making is more efficient than straight hands-on research.


So to sum it up, it would be Industry with MSc degree, PhD in lab, or combined PhD.


If you understand my little dilemma, please bring in your thoughts, advice and ideas.


Thanks a lot,



#2 caliban

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 06:59 PM

If you did well in the practical and theoretical aspects of the MSc: do a PhD 


"easier with a PhD degree" 


'climbing the ladder' even in industry is extremely tricky without a PhD. However, a PhD can be a hard slog and a make-or-break affair. If it isn't for you you need an exit strategy. Don't do a PhD with a project that doesn't really interest you - even if you endure and succeed it will put you on the wrong track.

Also, don't do a PhD that relies on a single publication at the end of it, even if it is potentially high impact. You need a track record either for forging a research career or to keep flexibility for entry into industry.     

Unless you become reliant on a salary, it is not difficult to come back to academia for an PhD - if the ideal PHD project is not available, better to gain experience in industry while looking for one. But don't leave it too long. If you are good at grant writing - write your own!    



"I'm doubting if policy making is more efficient than straight hands-on research"  


I agree. Ethicists and policy makers are a dime a dozen. These things can have a beneficial impact, but it is much easier to make a policy contribution if you are a recognised scientist in your field. If you rise high as a scientist, you will eventually find that you spend no time in the lab anyway. 

NB: speaking as someone who delivers ethics training and consultancy for a living. 


  • Agree x 1

#3 MichaelFocus22

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 11:26 PM

1.  As an Economic Major, I would say just stay with your masters degree, You don't need pidgeon hole your self on the employment market. How old are you? It's important to realize, that your ambitions are always in fluctuation and that X plan that you had carved out for yourself may take you down a different path than you anticipated, so you should always expect that as well. I would say what do you want to do? If I was neurotypical I would focus on building wealth and starting a family because that's what's important to me. I thought I was an elite academic but I was only average perhaps slightly above average and hard-work doesn't necessarily entitle you to your plan. Some PHD'S have left off their degree because they don't want to be over-qualified for a position and this ultimately limits you. Although, you can just do it for egotistical reasons, I've thought about doing just to feel superior to other people primarily my narcissism. Ultimately, you don't need a reason, you can just do it because you feel like it and you want to feel important.  Also, Ask wny do you want a PHD? I wanted to be a Politician primarily because of a desire to feel powerful and superior to others, Yet when I did x Politics it became undesirable because this effect. When you get something, it might not be worth it.

Edited by MichaelFocus22, 22 December 2019 - 11:29 PM.

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#4 Fafa

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 05:15 PM

I would chose [D], as in: None of the Above.


These are the choices??  :|?  Big Science A vs. Big Science Agenda B? Geeez, shoot me now! I could write a book, but hey, --too many words, right? But I found it interesting that you're located in Switzerland, because this triggered the memory of the following topic on the effect of electrical fields on genetic structure... My apologies for not referencing a prestigious journal, but this is merely intended to convey an idea anyway; as in, how would you adapt this to the problem of aging? External perspectives often throw fresh light on self-defining dilemmas. 




"The Swiss pharmaceutical group patented the process -- and then stopped the research in 1992. Why? Because "primeval cereals" generated by an electric field, in contrast to modern strains of seeds, require hardly any fertilizers or pesticides -- i.e. crop protection agents, sold as priority products by Ciba at that time. The discovery was soon forgotten, without the global scientific community taking any notice."


In any event, I wish you luck with whatever path you eventually choose.



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