Industry Breakfast (with contribution by Kai Höver)
This breakfast discussion is on the relationship between industry and academia,
especially of course regarding the PhD process.
Here are some guiding discussion topics and questions:
• What should the relationship be between academia and industry (in general)?
• What are the expectations and perhaps frustrations of PhD students with a (full time or part
time) position in industry?
• Does an industry PhD have more practical value? (Is the research more about something real?
• What are the expectations of PhD students who move to industry (only) after graduating?
• How can academia and industry coordinate to support PhD students in their work?
• How can the PhD process, i.e. the mentoring and the collaboration between mentor and PhD
student, be efficiently organized when the PhD student is not on (the academic) site?
• Which special aspects need to be considered for an external PhD? (In what way is it different
from a PhD done at the university?)
• How to solve possible conflicts of interests between the employer and the employee/PhD
student (time, goals, etc.)? How to prevent an industry PhD from becoming a “stack” of
seemingly unrelated bits of work?
• What are other advantages and disadvantages of an external PhD?
Below is some background information…
The Science PhD in Industry, excerpt from the New York Academy
It is a commonly held conviction that an academic career represents the highest
standard for scientific inquiry, while satisfying corporate business goals can be
perceived as a less quot;purequot; driver for research. Satisfying industry's expectations,
however, does not necessarily have a negative impact on the quality of scientific
Differences in the work environment between academia and industry are significant,
particularly in the approach to research, which is much more collaborative in industry.
Project ownership is shared; people share expertise and regularly aid others'
Substantially higher salaries, shorter work days, and impediments to publishing are
persistent myths about working in industry. These myths persist because each
contains an element of truth: salaries average somewhat higher, flex hours and the
possibility of heading out the door at 5:00 p.m. are closer to the norm, and publication
is sometimes constrained by proprietary considerations in the industry laboratory. But
the myths convey a distorted version of the reality.
The possession of a particular skill set may be more important to a company's hiring
decision than an applicant's range of publications. But because of the collaborative
approach to research, an industry scientist need not be limited by the set of skills that
was initially attractive to the company. Gaining new skills is greatly facilitated through
contact with colleagues and participation in their projects.
How do you combine bits of research into a real thesis?
Does an Industry PhD thesis have more practical value? Does it
have more impact (and what is impact anyway)?
How do you move from academia (PhD) to industry?
What do you have to offer to industry with a PhD?