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Academic Biologists Finding Many Rewards In Consulting For Industry

Consulting For Industry As the life sciences march out of the ivory tower and into the halls of commerce, an increasing number of academic biologists are finding financial, intellectual, and personal rewards as consultants. However, consulting for industry has drawbacks. In addition to the need to comply with university rules regarding outside employment, consultants from academia are faced with a host of ethical dilemmas. Some, such as potential conflicts of interest, are so serious that criti

Robert Finn

Consulting For Industry As the life sciences march out of the ivory tower and into the halls of commerce, an increasing number of academic biologists are finding financial, intellectual, and personal rewards as consultants. However, consulting for industry has drawbacks. In addition to the need to comply with university rules regarding outside employment, consultants from academia are faced with a host of ethical dilemmas. Some, such as potential conflicts of interest, are so serious that critics believe university professors should never agree to consult with industry.

Even scientists who are enthusiastic about performing consulting work must make ethical choices. For example, Gregory A. Petsko, the Lucile P. Markey Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at Brandeis University, notes that "I won't do consulting work on any project related to military activities. I won't consult for cigarette companies. . . . I also demand in any consulting arrangement that if we're involved...

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