This retrospective study investigated the characteristics associated with being a veterinary surgeon employed in veterinary research during 2001 to 2003. The main reasons for graduates entering a research career were having opportunities for more intellectual stimulation than was available in practice and having the opportunity to try a research career. Lack of funding and job insecurity were cited as the main factors that might cause a veterinary surgeon working in research to change career. The main reasons given by veterinary surgeons for not considering a research career were that they enjoyed veterinary practice, they liked the contact with animals and their owners, they considered they were not sufficiently academic, and they thought the salary associated with a research career was poor. The graduates working in research stated that the best aspects of their work were the greater intellectual stimulation and the more varied workload; the worst aspects were the conflicting work pressures and the lower salary.
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↵Dr Murray’s present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
↵Professor French’s present address is Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand