Life science researchers like working in industry for "career development opportunities" and "financial rewards"; they like working in academia for "creative freedom" and a "stronger learning environment." These are some of the conclusions from a recently conducted study of readers of The Scientist who have held research positions in both academia and industry. The survey gathered opinions and impressions from 159 life science researchers with such dual experience. Opinions on which environment is preferable were quite evenly divided: 39.5 percent said academia, 42.5 percent said industry, and 18 percent had no preference.

Asked to rate the differences between academia and industry, readers ranked "opportunity for greater income" as the factor weighted most strongly to industry. "Pressure to publish" was deemed the strongest factor in academia. Three factors measured as fairly evenly balanced: politics, quality of science research, and overall job satisfaction.

Nearly half the respondents had returned to academia after...

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