Translational scientists at the very beginning of their careers face a choice, do they elect to stay in academia and to some extent minimize their involvement in the running of their start-up, or if presented with the opportunity, should they take on the start-up as a full time occupation. The prospect of translating research into commercially useful products has its risks, indeed the statistics on success rates of start-ups are superficially quite alarming, but is taking on a postdoctoral position really much less risky?

After all the proportion of PhD students that end up in a permanent academic position is also very low. Here we will explore the different areas of risk along the trajectory of a new start-up, from securing protected IP, to gathering funding, developing a technology to choosing the right people. If a young scientist decides to take on an idea and decides to develop the start up as their full time position how does one set appropriate targets by which to judge progress and succes. If the project ultimately ends in failure from a business point of view, where does that leave the founder? What’s next? What are the benefits of being fully involved in your start up, whether it succeeds or fails, from both a learning, enjoyment and scientific point of view?

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