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What aspects of one's resume will a faculty hiring committee care about for a candidate who was gone from academia for a decade, but has done good research during that time, including publishing a few papers?

I have always been told that if you get out of academia, getting back in is really challenging. After a postdoc, I spent 11 years in industry and consulting work. I worked on a lot of research topics in that time, but they produced only a couple of papers. I'm currently clearing out my publishing pipeline, and should be able to get a few single-author papers out of that, given a year or two of work. If I apply for a position at a top academic institution after getting those papers published, realistically how hard will the "gap" in my academic work be scrutinized by the hiring committee?

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You might find it easier than you think, especially with universities that have strong links with industry.

They welcome up-to-date current knowledge of pratices in industry and students appreciate the “real” stories of what goes right, or wrong, and how problems are solved.

So it won’t be only about your latest papers but how you can interest the students and the knowledge you have.

As an ex-student, it was obvious who amongst the faculty had real experience, once we had a lab using temperature sensors where two faculty were involved. We realised one had done brake testing (for a world leading company) where the sensors were being used at very high temperatures which made the reasons for finding the temperature coefficients so much more understandable.

So, apply and good luck, you may find that you have an advantage over a “pure” academic. All our profs had real experience and PhD’s to match - specialists in tribology, supersonic flow, power electronics etc and students do notice.

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