Career Shifts: From Academia To Industry, And Vice Versa

In 1986, after 30 years with Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, chemist T.Y. Shen took an early retirement. But he wasn't settling down to a life of leisure. After a successful career in industry, Shen wanted to take a stab at becoming an academic scientist. I enjoyed my career at Merck very much, first in research and later in administration, he says. But I wanted to do more research and enjoy an academic life in a second career. As Shen's experience shows, just because a scientis

Lisa Simon
Oct 14, 1990

In 1986, after 30 years with Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, chemist T.Y. Shen took an early retirement. But he wasn't settling down to a life of leisure. After a successful career in industry, Shen wanted to take a stab at becoming an academic scientist. I enjoyed my career at Merck very much, first in research and later in administration, he says. But I wanted to do more research and enjoy an academic life in a second career.

As Shen's experience shows, just because a scientist starts on a career in industry does not mean that he won't ever be able to start a new career in academia. And the reverse is true, too. Many scientists who have successfully made these major career moves report that the transition can be made smoothly and that the switch has helped to rectify what they believed were gaps in their work experience....