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Most students I know in computer science are funded either by the NSF or their professor's startup package [in the US]. But it also isn't completely unheard of for a company to give a gift/grant to a professor to fund a student.

This seem to have a few implications, such as the student's dissertation being tied to the company's interests and the student would probably be expected to work onsite each summer.

The students I have known to do this, go on to industry after graduating (not necessarily the company that funded them). This brings up the following questions...

  • Would a hiring committee at a university consider the close ties to industry a negative?
  • If the student continues publishing regularly, is there anything about this scenario that can hurt one's research career?

Note: Suresh's answer to the question Will self funding a PhD hurt employment chances? is very relevant, but I think there are some different obstacles for industry funding.

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    One issue could be a possible nondisclosure agreement: the Ph.D. student may not be allowed to publish certain results, which would certainly hurt a future academic career. – Stephan Kolassa Jul 22 '14 at 15:12
  • The ability to successfully interface and obtain funding from industry would be a large plus to most engineering departments, perhaps not so much to computer science. However, if the department has a focus on something like semiconductor process modeling techniques, novel optimization algorithms, or other research applicable to industrial problems, I don't see the problem. Many companies are well aware of the pluses and minuses of funding PhD research, and will focus on 'pre-competative' projects. – Jon Custer Jul 22 '14 at 17:33
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I see no inherent problem with industry funding for Ph.D., and in many cases it can be a benefit. Certainly in computer science there is a broad spectrum of options for different types of research career (government, large industry, startups, etc.), and it's not unusual for people to move between them multiple times over the course of a career. As long as you are publishing well and frequently, you'll have lots of options.

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    A researcher is not a publishing machine to publish well and frequent. Publishing depends on the researcher's field. Some researchers like mathematicians need a year or two to only publish one paper. Sorry but I am not sure how your post is answering the question. – Enthusiastic Engineer Oct 10 '14 at 8:51
  • The definition of "well" and "frequently" is, of course, highly dependent on the field. That is why I did not attempt to define them more precisely. The point is that if your funding allows you to participate normally in the scientific discourse of your field, it doesn't really matter where it's coming from. – jakebeal Oct 10 '14 at 12:44

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