Genetics, patents, careers

Thomas Bjorkman Thomas_Bjorkman at
Thu Jun 9 17:32:01 EST 1994

In article <2t5bif$2mr at>, zubla at (Greg Chapman)

> I see no reason why I should have to spend the rest of my
> life in debt just because I enjoy learning and research.  If I sound
> defensive, it is because I am being defensive.  I am tired of being
> told that if I want money I should be a lawyer, and that "real, true
> researchers (TM)" shouldn't be concerned about such things.  I think
> that after a number of degrees, and years spent expanding human
> knowledge, a researcher should be rewarded with some sort of a
> nest-egg for retirement.  Just to keep this from becoming a flame
> war, I should point out that the purpose of this posting is to
> obtain opinions on a detour away from genetics (into electronics).
> The primary goal is learning.
> So, in the future will researchers be able to take out patents on
> new processes, or will all such things be sewn up and researchers
> limited to small research stipends?  Is time a part of this issue
> or is it already too late?

1 There will always be more research to do, whether you wait a year or ten
years will make no diffrerence.  The current research problems and the
methods change all the time, but I cannot imagine the number of interesting
and tractable problems ever going down.

2 If a million bucks a year is what you are after,academic research isn't
the way to go, but a industry geneticist should make a comfortable living
these days.

3 The name of the game now is to patent everything that's patentable.  The
message at my University is unmistakeable.  It is taking me some time to ge
used to, but I do it.  However, this seems not to slow research.  For one
thing, if you patent something and nobody uses it, its worthless.  If you
are too tight with it you just get into trouble--look at Cetus and PCR! 
The patent thing will settle down soon and research will go on, only the
paperwork will change.

Things are always changing in science, so something is always becoming
outmoded or unfundable.  But there are usually more new opportunities than
lost ones.  Genetics and electronics both have fine futures; both will be


More information about the Bioforum mailing list