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I am working at my undergraduate university as a research assistant with my supervisor. Our group's research interest is in security and web, so we do projects about middlebox, encrypted searchable database etc. However, my personal research interest is in reinforcement learning and game AI. The reasons I joined a group that has a different research interest are:

  1. I am entering my graduate university (different than my undergraduate one) in around 6 months, and I need a job before that. Staying in academia gives me chances to publish papers than joining a company.
  2. For some reason, I had no better choice of research group in my university.

I am perfectly fine with doing research in a new subject, but I still want to make progress in my own area(which I am not sure is possible), since I plan to return to it in my postgraduate program.

Is it better to devote 100% energy and time in my group's research or allocate some time for my own research?

  • 100% into your main activity unless you are such a brilliant person that you can split it up differently. – Captain Emacs Dec 20 '16 at 12:53
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You just have 6 months for this current job. Your personal interest can stay with you forever, and you can invest more on that when you have joined the grad school.

For now, I would recommend giving your 100% to the current research and get more productive outcomes on this, with good papers and collaborations. If you feel like you have too much time, energy, and enthusiasm, give 200% of it to your current work!

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