48

I’m not sure I understand your question. People turn down offers all the time (even if they don’t have a competing offer) for all kinds of perfectly valid personal reasons. The city is not to their liking in this or that way, the university does not offer sufficient spousal or child support, the cost of housing or living is too high, the commute is too long ...


47

Would researchers understand that researcher's decision? You seem to be imagining the other researchers as being much more interested in the personal life and preferences of someone they don’t know than they actually are. In truth, the researchers would not “understand”, simply because they have no particular interest in why someone chooses to go or not to ...


11

Many "breakthroughs" outside academia are secret and professors never hear about them. This includes trade secrets and military secrets. Achievements from industrial research labs which do become public are treated in the same way that achievements from academic labs are treated. Most science, including the really good stuff, is incremental ...


10

You are dramatically overestimating how much people will look into the details of your PhD. Nobody will read your thesis and, after you land your first job, nobody will care what it was about. If you decide to switch fields, you'd be surprised how quickly people stop caring what your major was. You will are a STEM PhD first and foremost, and people will only ...


8

For the record, I am no longer working in Chinese universities, and I'm not from the fields of math or CS. A few years ago, I was doing a tenure-track position in a university in one of the top 5 largest Chinese cities. I am merely writing this answer since no one else has come to the fore, but I am hoping that someone who has direct experience of doing a ...


6

Breakthroughs from outside academia are nothing new. The light bulb was not invented by a professor, nor was the telephone. In fact, you might be interested in stories about the Bell Labs and the Xerox Labs as examples of research institutions run by companies. As such, most professors will probably neither be surprised nor bothered or concerned in the least ...


5

I've seen the following four approaches to the problem of unproductive (in research) tenured faculty. Give them lousy (or non-existent) raises every year. Two such professors were excellent teachers, and the department chair (presumably with the dean's approval) made a deal with them, that if they teach 50% more courses than usual, then no research would be ...


5

Short answer: no Longer answer: Finishing your PhD does not mean that you are done learning and improving. Everybody needs to continue doing that, and they do so without doing an additional PhD. Most (gradually) migrate to new topics, and learn about those through self-study or the occasional course/workshop. Most need to learn new skills; Many are shocked ...


5

They are unlikely to be driven by short term economic concerns (next quarter profit statement), but are certainly related to long term, possibly very long term, economic effects. Many do such things to enhance the corporate reputation, which certainly has monetary value, even if difficult to measure. In recent decades, almost all corporations put value to ...


4

Some are unsuccessful, of course. Others just don't see a need for advancement and the efforts it would take to earn full professorship. If salary is good and the many perks are comfortable then it is fine to continue as you are. The frantic paper chase of young faculty doesn't necessarily hold the same appeal as you get older and comfortable. As in the UK, ...


4

This would generally be understood. I am not sure why the declined offer would be a major plot point in a recommendation letter (but then academics write all sorts of irrelevant stuff in such letters).


3

Responding a bit tangentially: in terms of the risks one takes in playing the academic game, in trying to do "research" (whether in science or humanities or...), the idea of "tenure" (in my opinion) is that people should get a large reward for their person risk. In particular, if people will not at all be rewarded for speculative ...


2

While I agree with the other responses, let me give you the perspective of someone who was part of a group where second PhDs were common. I think many of this will not apply in all countries (including the US), though. Reasons to do a second PhD: Funding. Sometimes it is just about how someone can be hired. Also, in some countries PhD researchers are rather ...


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