Seed industry as a career choice for PhDs: building your plan B
yDiv together with the iDiv Research Group Molecular Interaction Ecology were visited by Dr. Tjeerd Snoeren on the 21st of March. Tjeerd is the Entomology Lead at Limagrain, which is a cooperative group founded and directed by French farmers. In his presentation followed by lively discussion, Tjeerd talked about his current job at Limagrain, and his personal path from finalizing his PhD degree and starting a career at the industry during his postdoctoral research project. Tjeerd’s presentation gave good insight about the similarities and major differences between research at the university and at the agricultural industry sector. He has advanced from being a laboratory scientist to leading his own team and working mainly at the office, similarly to a head of a research group. While it sometimes feels that a PhD degree offers the skills mainly for a university research career, Tjeerd highlighted the valuable skills of a job applicant with a PhD degree for his company. Limagrain offers several positions for graduated PhDs as well as postdoctoral scientists, mainly as project leaders. In addition to specific knowledge and laboratory skills, the ability of a PhD to lead their own research project, juggle competing tasks simultaneously and adapt to changing conditions are all competencies that are highly valued in the company. Tjeerd also mentioned that anyone wishing to proceed to a career at the industry sector should try to acquire training in project and people management during their time as a doctoral researcher. yDiv will follow the advise by organising a course on project management this semester.