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Worthwhile? Depends What You're Looking For

At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe responds to a reader query as to whether doing a postdoc in industry is worthwhile. "If you're going to hire someone to learn the ropes, they might as well be good enough to be brought in as a full-time employee," Lowe says. He adds that industrial postdoc positions can be considered less prestigious than their academic counterparts. "Even so, it does seem as if there are situations where an industrial postdoc could be a good fit, and in today's job market, anything looks good," Lowe says.

In response to Lowe's post, FormerIndustryPostdoc reports having a mixed experience as a postdoc in big pharma. "On one hand, you usually get much more access to resources than you would in academia. You also get to ask 'academic type' questions which you may not get to in a permanent position," FormerIndustryPostdoc says. One the other hand, though, "I did not actually get to work on real drug discovery projects. My work was always considered peripheral to the main projects, partly because it had to be publishable," FormerIndustryPostdoc adds.

Commenter MK's experience as an industry postdoc was more positive. After completing an academic postdoc, MK sought industry experience. "I was looking to transition off the bench and considered the industry postdoc an opportunity to get a broader view of what opportunities exist in industry and to network on the inside as I was having difficulty getting a foot in the door otherwise," MK says. "I consider it a positive experience and was able to use my time to set up information interviews with various line functions."

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