This vs That
In week one, Dr. Simon went over different aspects of working in Academia vs Industry. He asked us to make an argument for working in either option. As we start going into each role of Medical Device Development, there are going to be pros and cons that favor Academia vs Industry.
For this week, the topic is research. Comparing Academia vs. Industry, what arguments could you make for someone choosing to work (in research) for academia? What arguments for industry?
An argument for working in academia is one that was told to me by one of my advisors: "Working in academia let's you work on the cool stuff!" What she meant by this is that like Dr. Simon said, working in academia can often mean working on projects that are cutting edge, or things that no one has ever seen or even thought about. At that frontier, it is often exciting (especially when discoveries are made) to be fleshing out new concepts that have never been done before. This can be extremely appealing to the type of person who wants to make new discoveries and be the frontrunners of scientific progress.
For industry, one of the biggest things is the compensation that you get for doing research. Of course, compared to academia you get paid far more, and have more money accrued per unit hour. Along with that, the research that is being done is usually more practical, and focused towards a more concrete goal, versus just doing the research because it can be done. This often attracts people who want to solve a certain problem and see the fruits of their labor in a timely manner.
For myself, I would prefer the industry approach, mainly because of the practicality of the research that is being done. Like Dr. Simon said, the research being done in industry will likely be used within the next few years, which is something that appeals to myself greatly.
I would prefer industry over academic as industry have location and time flexibility over academic where you can control how to spend your time. Industrial researchers do not need to apply for external funding from grant agencies to cover salary, travel, or equipment while in academics may apply to grant-making organizations that cover equipment plus salaries for graduate students and research staff those grants run for fixed terms .In academic research there is more independence of doing whatever research you want and you are answering the questions that are interesting to you personally . While in industry the project is selected by business and marketing department and sometimes you have to work on the project that is no more interesting for you or no one needs it and it required no creativity. In industry you have a lot of work in form of last minute project and you have to take those challenges and opportunities. Company has to make profits to stay in business, academia is not for profit.
I have done research in academia but not for industry. Based on what Dr.Simon has stated about academia in terms of research is 100% true for the most part. The timeline for doing experiments and in general research is not stressful. The time associated with doing research is at a relaxed pace. The quality of results versus pumping out "stuff" is more satisfying as well. In the industry I know the drive to pump out data will be an issue because of the time restraint put on you as Dr.Simon stated. The ability to visit conferences is always fun as well because you get to met people of all different educational backgrounds and nationalities.
I have conducted academic research and now work in industry research. The major difference for me is the end results. Academic research always puts out new knowledge and whilst there are time frames they are usually a lot longer. When I was doing my research I was given the topic to investigate and a time frame that was was much greater than what was needed. Now I was a student so it allowed me time to do my other school work. It was generally a much more relaxed environment. Everyone who was there knew what they had to do and that they had pretty much as much time as they needed. In my last year, one of the PHd candidates finished his thesis after seven years.
My experience with industry research has been much different. It is much more about outputting a products. Whilst I am not in the R&D lab, I have a friend who is. He was given his project, which was to create a new form of cleanser, and given 6 months to have a fully functional prototype. He was given a large, predetermined budget and any help he needs, but has much less time and a much more defined role. He is not discovering anything new, simply using what is already known about chemistry to create a product. But when the product is released he will know that it was all him
So my arguments for academia are this: more freedom, more time, and less stress. My arguments for industry are: more money, more recognition, and an ability to see physical results in stores.
Honestly, I'd prefer to do research in industry, not only because the pay is higher. In academia you have more freedom and you can work at your own pace to your own goals. One would need the ideas and passion for the subject they're working on at all times. If there is a road block in the research or lost motivation, it would be possible to pause the project/take a break. This may be a good thing but also a bad as one may just not return to said project. In industry, you have deliverables to meet based on your timelines. There are stricter timelines and stricter goals. This means you always have to be on top of your work regardless if you have the drive or not. For me, that's the better route. Of course, a better product usually comes out if one has the passion for the subject.
If I have the option to choose between both of research role in academia and industry, I think I would like academia more. It focuses more on the science behind it and gives you more time for a true output for the project. People do it out of personal interest and for purposes of discovery and improvement to help humans. However, I feel in industrial the man focus is to meet the target of the product on time to generate the expected revenue whatever it takes. As DR. Simon mentioned they sometimes skip or replace/ cancel testing to meet the target dates. That's why I think if I would pick a researcher role will be in academia, not industry.
I will choose to do research in the industry over academia. I think people who like to stay in academia have a passion for discovery, while people in the industry have the passion for helping others at a faster rate. Academia gives more freedom, and you have more time, but you also have the stress of results not been what you expected. In the industry, you have to have a goal and objective set to stay on top of the market, and also be super innovative, and you also get paid more. People who are passionate will still enjoy this because the ultimate goal is to help people and I think that's why many of this big companies succeed.
As you said, there are pros and cons to both kinds of research.
For academia, the work you do and the hours you spend researching has chances of completely changing the world, depending on the subject of the research. However, there is no guarantee that all those hours spent mean the research and project will be a success. There is a significant chance for failure and while it may help you and your team learn a boat load of new knowledge that may or may not help you in future progress, as far as the (scientific) world is concerned, all that time was wasted as there has been no progress. That may sound bad, but when this kind of research is the kind that finds cures to previously incurable diseases or revolutionizes wound treatment or drastically improves the quality of life of the human race as a whole, it might be worth failing a few times to see something succeed and have your work change the world.
For industry, the work you do and hours you spend researching has the chance of impacting a smaller community. Odds are it won't be world changing research, but if it results in a product that helps amputees live a much easier life through a breakthrough advancement in prosthetics, then it is all worth it because it can help change their world and that means so much. This kind of research is also more likely to be successful because the end goals are generally more realistic. It may not lead to the cure to cancer, but if I can help change someone's life for the better immediately, then it's worth leaving that honor to someone else.
I work in Industry currently so I'll talk a little about the pros and cons of research on that side of the spectrum. There are definitely some pros such as working on more feasible and short-term projects which may be able to go from an idea to the hands of the customer in 5-10 years after all the design flaws have been handled and all pre-clinical/clinical trials have been conducted. So in terms of instant gratification you would be more regularly fulfilled in Industry after meeting your important deadlines. On the other hand Industry is centered heavily on deadlines and there may be more pressure to be strict on the dates. Managers want to see results from their employees and do not like being told a project is delayed or experiencing difficulties staying under budget. Also, I have some experience with the FDA and their regulations behind making sure every product is held to a certain standard. Even if the simplest design input is to be changed slightly, there may need to be a formal design change conducted and approved by many different departments such as quality, regulatory, and operations, among others to ensure no new risk is being introduced and the change will be a net positive result. In this way, there are a lot of hurdles to jump through when completing a project in industry.
One argument I would make for someone who wishes to work in academia is that they will be more independent in their workplace. In other words, after some years, they would have more control over their own hours and schedule so that person can work in his/her pace. Another benefit to academia is job security. After some years of experience and achievement in academia, you can apply for tenure, which means that you are guaranteed a position in the university or institution until you retire or you do something seriously wrong.
One major argument for working in industry is that you are able to manage a schedule that is very structured. Your employer sets your schedule and it's a routine so there will be no flexibility at all but you can manage that if you like a structured life. In industry, there is potential for you to get promoted a earn more money after some experience. In other words, there are more financial gains in industry because when you work for a private company, you can get promoted to leadership positions if you prove your worth.
Choosing to work in academia requires one to enjoy working in the lab and doing research for most of the career, and possibly teaching. Working in this field does have it's perks as one's hours are flexible.
Choosing to work in industry is much different. This requires a whole different setting as well as a whole different environment. Like many have said, most projects are short term and allow for instant gratification. In industry, there is research that is done and its' main focus revolves around current issues, while academia revolves around long-term issues.
Both of these fields require different interests in an individual. If one prefers research and possible teaching, one would enjoy working in academia. If one prefers instant gratification with a set time with multiple short-term tasks, one would enjoy working in industry.
I currently work as a research assistant in academia. There are a lot of pros to working in academia. A few are that the deadlines have a larger spread in dates, meaning that there is more time to get things done. Also you don't neccesarily have to work 9am to 5pm, as you can kind of just go in and try to get all your work done every day. If you're finished a little bit early it's normal to leave and if you come in late, you can stay later with no questions asked. I feel that the main priority of working in academic research is just getting things done. On the other hand, industry is much faster paced to my knowledge. The deadlines are closer together, but there is also you can see your research make its way to the real world faster. Also, the research moves along faster as companies are less hesitant to spend money if it means their product can hit the market faster too. I think research in industry sounds more exciting than research in academia.
Working in Academia, it is true, you do get to work on the cool stuff. Currently working as a researcher at NJIT, some of the robotics projects I am working on are the coolest things I have ever seen and more importantly gotten to contribute to. In industry, you don't have as much control over the projects you are working on. Additionally, for the most part, there is no late-breaking research being done, most of the work in industry has been done before in at least a very similar facet. However, in academia, the timeline for when projects will finish, and when the product will commercialize, or when the research will make a contribution to the world is always longer, and usually less rigid. Projects I am working on now, unless I remain in the same job for many years, I will likely never see the results of, and personally I do not like that idea very much, resulting in myself leaning towards a career in industry.
I believe its all about the passion one has over choosing either of the track. As talked by Dr. Simon in the lecture video, both of them have their own pros n cons. As for me i would like to go and work in academia, i believe biomedical is more of a research oriented field and when it comes to research- passion matters more over money. Working in academia, we get to be the first to know about the discovery of something new and be completely involved in that, a downside to this is that the projects could go long and the results could take many years, the funding might be low.But still i feel academia is better than the industry research.