Passionate Research Careers

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Joined: 01/20/2010

Passion is the essential ingredient. Capture the passions of the researchers and they’ll find a way to reach their goals no matter how many obstacles are in their way. We want passionate research, and not researchers merely working for pay.

This fundamental is driven home in almost all personal accounts of novices thinking of entering industry, or highly successful veterans reflecting on their careers. Novices fear having spent 8-12 years getting a PhD and then merely becoming a cog in a machine. Veterans often reflect on having succeeded despite the obstacles and hurdles placed in their paths.

Exhibit 1: Passionate Work

Passion means self-realization. I climb the corporate hierarchy because I want to pursue my profession in a way I deem most appropriate. Give me the freedom to choose my destination and I’ll work day and night to reach it – it becomes my life’s ambition. I also seek a sense of community; of communal pursuits larger than myself. Together freedom and community are the two great ingredients of passion.

Putting passion into R&D is the mantra of World Class R&D. This means we look for ways to free individuals to pursue their research, provided it’s a communal pursuit. We call it Freedom and Responsibility. Show responsibility for corporate goals and we’ll set you free to pursue your own self-realization. You get passionate about your work.

This is not a fellowship. We’re not looking for academic freedom. We’re looking for freedom within an industrial setting. You’re free to pursue any avenue of research as long as it fits within the industrial pursuit, which is mostly revenue and profits. We ensure responsibility through Competition. You’re free to fail as well. Adds to the passion.

I ran a roundtable at a translational medicine conference and a gentleman came up to the table before the session and asked if he could join us since he hadn’t registered. He was from NASA. I readily welcomed him hoping to gain new perspectives on our topic. After the session he joined some colleagues and me for dinner and en route to the restaurant told us how he became involved with NASA. He was brought in as a consultant before a Shuttle launch to help with some life science experiments.

I had never felt such an intense experience in my life. We worked ‘round the clock to make the launch date. Everyone was incredibly committed and professional. It was the most dedicated, focused team I had ever worked with. After the launch I was exhausted but I hadn’t felt this alive in years. I left my academic post and immediately joined their organization. I enjoy every minute I work there. Roundtable Participant (2007). Translational Medicine Conference, Personal Communication

This is the passion we seek in our researchers. It's how we structure the work that matters.