Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology
Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 15 S69

SFEBES2008 Young Endocrinologists Session Obtaining funding for young endocrinologists (4 abstracts)

The Been-to-America degree revisited: is it really still worth it?

Rob Fowkes

Royal Veterinary College, University of London, London, UK.

Five years after my original post-doc experience overseas, I find myself increasingly contemplating the benefits of that time in my career and whether it was the right decision. Over that same period of time, it’s still clear to me that despite the introduction of a few more research fellowships for the privileged few, the career structure of basic scientists in the UK still appears to be virtually non-existent. So should you consider moving abroad?

My answer is ‘Yes’, even more definitively now than it was before. With the exception of the few ‘supergroups’ of British endocrine research, the research opportunities available in many research groups in the US are far superior to those on offer in the UK. I don’t mean that the quality of science is better, but the size of the research questions you can ask is so much bigger as the financial constraints are less restrictive. For example, we may chose to look at two target genes in our systems; a US group might look at twenty. In addition, the surrounding infrastructure is also likely to be better than you’ve experienced before; a qPCR machine per lab, core microarray facilities, improved access to animal resources, improved access to experienced research staff. With sensible planning, your time in a US group could fast-track you to a faculty appointment in the UK, or seriously enhance your chances of fellowship funding. It may even shape your decision as to which country you base your scientific career in.

Anecdotally, those colleagues or acquaintances who chose to work in the US found that it only benefited their careers. Of course, it’s not without its drawbacks, and you need to make some very careful decisions and plans to make sure the experience doesn’t end up being an expensive mistake. But if you’re not lucky enough to work in a UK supergroup, try a US one for size and reap the benefits!

Volume 15

Society for Endocrinology BES 2008

Society for Endocrinology 

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