In the traditional academic career path, a bachelor’s degree leads to graduate school, a Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellowship, a junior faculty position and, finally, tenure. Yet increasing competition for lab positions and funding, among other motivations, has nudged many junior researchers onto roads that lead to alternative careers, from industry and nonprofit work to art and writing.
We asked several former life-sciences researchers why they left academia — and how science continues to inform their career.
Director of preclinical biology, Ovid Therapeutics
Among the many things I considered in my decision to leave academia for industry was how I might maximally affect people's lives.
Artist, Greg Dunn Design
My scientific training helped me invent some artistic techniques, and it gave me perspective other artists don’t have.
Assistant vice president for policy and administration, NYU Langone Health
Managing scientific institutions allows for both strategic thinking and a love of science.
Director of science, Autistica
Even more than answering specific research questions, I wanted to ensure that autism research has an impact on people.
Science journalist, Scicurious
I use my scientific training every day, identifying new research the public should know about.
Chief science officer, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
In a nonprofit organization, the mission is clear, and it isn’t going to change until we cure the condition.