Is academia the final pit-stop in the scientific career pipeline? Not necessarily so, according to panellists at the Global Young Scientists Summit held earlier this year.
The panel, called “Careers Beyond Academia”, featured startup founders Dr Shi Xu and Dr Zhou Lihan, and Nobel Prize winner Dr John Mathers. They spoke about how academics can make the leap from Institutes of Higher Learning into industry and how to navigate potential pitfalls while drawing from their own personal experiences. The session was moderated by Dr Lim Jui, SGInnovate’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Leaving academia does not spell an end to advancing science
Many young scientists worry that entering non-academic environments means that they are no longer advancing science. But doing good and making money are not mutually exclusive, assured the panellists.
Being in a business environment can be “a natural step from discovery to impact”, said Dr Zhou, CEO and Co-founder of biotech firm MiRXES, and former research scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). His company creates RNA-powered blood tests for early detection of diseases like gastric cancer.
Dr Shi, Founder and Executive Chairman of Nanofilm Technologies International, added that it is a matter of perspective. Scientists should view the “shift” as making their ideas work in the real world, noted the former associate professor at Nanyang Technological University.