Scientific Entrepreneurship Is an Option
Ask Dr. Clemmons is a monthly advice column for scientists and engineers who are seeking top-notch academic, career, and personal development advice. Please read the introductory article and my most recent article to see what the column is all about, and then send me a question of your own!
Dear Dr. Clemmons:The topic of alternative careers in science is one that comes up a lot nowadays, even in academia, so I was comfortable enough to tell my Ph.D. adviser that I would like to start a company based on my Ph.D. thesis project. To my surprise, he was very supportive of the idea but told me in no uncertain terms that he was not interested in pursuing such an endeavor. Therefore, I am free to take my research with me in pursuit of this goal, but at best, all he was ever going to be was a silent partner in the enterprise.
I am writing you now out of desperation because I am supposed to finish my degree sometime next year, but I realize that I haven’t a clue as to how to get started building my business, especially in the midst of finishing my thesis. I realize I need to hit the ground running as soon as possible once my Ph.D. is done, and I have to prioritize. Dr. Clemmons, can you help me outline the things I should consider and point me in the right direction for getting started down this path of entrepreneurship? It has been my passion for a long time, but now that the opportunity has arisen, I find myself unprepared.