More Research Outsourced

I saw this posting on BioJobBlog, which talks about the movement of research and development abroad, especially to India, where many companies have set themselves up to get this kind of work from the pharmaceutical companies. What’s more, not only are companies like Merck and GSK looking to cut costs, but are also looking for innovation from these CROs (contract research organizations). The article concludes that a lot of this is the fault of the U.S., as industrial training and investment in life science research has diminished.

As this article points out, investment in many western countries is down and China and Korea are becoming world leaders. The Spiked article reflects all kinds of R&D of course (and even comments that not all the R&D is of clear value), but it would be foolish to believe that the situation is miraculously much better in the pharmaceutical sector. Indeed, if the earlier article is any guide, it is just as bad if not worse.

It is quite sobering. I knew it would be a difficult transition, with the economy in deep recession, but I did believe that something would come up. I talked about this in my own blog post. I still maintain that some R&D will remain in this country, though I am eagerly awaiting some sign that companies are beginning to reinvest in research again and starting to look for people like me to do that research. But when it does, the competition for positions will be fierce, which will lead to people leaving their chosen career and finding other work, whether as a temporary respite from the lab rat race or permanently transitioning to new careers.

I want to remain in the lab myself. I have my moments of doubt, but I know that I am a good scientist, with value to the right organization. But I also have a family to support and opportunities will need to be taken when they come up. It is part of life, what makes it interesting. I plan to embrace whatever life gives me.

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