I'm in mathematics, and have recently gotten an opportunity to do applied/industrial research for a strong research institute in my country. As of now I have two MSc degrees in math and engineering respectively, and I also legally qualify as an Engineer. I have a passion for math, but also physics, computer science, and engineering. Thus I have very wide interests and want to continue to do research and interconnect these topics.
I fear that if I choose to go into research (my country's rough equivalent to the latter part of a PhD) I will not have the opportunity to conduct research in different topics, but rather have to specialize myself in a subarea of a math field.
At a research institute I will not be able to do pure math, but I'll have a very good pay and I'll at least get to do some applied/industrial math and publish in those areas. I will also be able to get a doctorate (latter part of PhD) via the research institute, but again it will be in applied math.
Right now I'm thinking of trying it out, and switch back if I don't like it as much, relying on my publications and teaching experience to get in somewhere.
Going fully into academia doesn't seem a good idea if I want to have varying research areas, but at least I'll get to choose my specialization. Going into industrial research I will have a varying job, good pay, but not as much intellectual stimulus and I can't choose my projects. How can one approach this, and what can I do to make either of these a better choice?