Comment by a participant


The Life Sciences Company Company Visit of Thursday 9 December 2011 was hosted by the Central Veterinary Institute (CVI), part of Wageningen UR, in Lelystad, organized by PCDI and Amsterdam BioMed Cluster. Besides CVI, other guest speakers were from Immuno Valley and MSD Animal health to present what it means to work and do science in an institute or commercial company. You still are a scientist and do scientific research, even if you are not in academia.

My main goal was to find out what kind of research is done outside academia (within my interest area) and does this suit me. So, should I stay in academia or not? I would also like to advocate the need for more of these company visits, as there are too many PhDs and Postdocs wondering what to do and where to go (myself included) if academia does not seem to be working for them.

The main message was that research performed in institutes and companies is not that different from academia. You still search literature and perform experiments but without the pressures of “publish or perish”, as in academia. Where projects in academia can be fundamental, in institutes and companies the projects are more product oriented (vaccine, diagnostic kit, patent).


Based on past PCDI event my future direction is becoming clear and it is not in academia.  Every PhD and Postdoc has a unique perspective, to which there is no general advice. Save for the following; go to these company visits and other PCDI events and ask the questions you have. The guest-speakers and PCDI people are willing to help you answer those queries you have, because they went through the same situation as you.

Jan van de Velde
PhD Student Wageningen University
Plant Sciences Group