When I was nearing the end of my Ph.D., I spent a lot of time and effort researching career options.
I knew I did not want to continue bench work, but if the work was more clinical and/or public health oriented, I would reconsider. However, I also knew that doctors, pharmacists, and nurses were more favorable candidates for clinical research opportunities than Ph.D. degree holders.
There are some postdoctoral fellowships that provide something extra-training to teach, opportunity to earn a MPH, medical writing, or learning about regulatory affairs. Also, there are opportunities for postdoctoral fellows at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to not only conduct bench work, but to also participate in science policy.
Now if you don’t want to try and combine the postdoctoral training with something different you can leave academia entirely. I knew I liked the process of research and learning so I looked into consulting. How can a biologist/pharmacologist transition into consulting?
Luckily there are a few companies that will hire you just because you have a Ph.D. You don’t have to explain what skills you acquire from the process of earning a Ph.D., and it doesn’t always matter that your Ph.D. is in X topic. That’s not to say you will definitely get hired though. If your heart is in science policy there are a lot of opportunities.
The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) is not the only science policy fellowship and given that the number of applicants has increased over the last few years, b one might consider some of the lesser known opportunities.
Furthermore, AAAS also offers short-term internships in a number of areas, including science writing and science diplomacy. If you are really interested in teaching, there are a few postdoctoral programs. There is also the TNTP Teaching Fellowship Program where you will receive training, spend a year teaching, and earn a teaching certificate. The Table below lists some of these opportunities.
Look for me in future articles, explaining more about these options and ways to successfully make the transition.
Lisa Sproul Hoverman, PhD has a BS from Carlow University and a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh on the kinetics of Kinesin motor proteins. In her Postdoc at Penn State University, she examined the kinetics of DNA polymerases. She has since formed her own company in scientific and medical writing services. Dr. Hoverman’s largest long-term Client is the Microsoft Health Solutions Group where she serves as one of three Senior Grant and Proposal Specialists as part of the Business Desk in Sales.
Copyright Lisa Sproul Hoverman, PhD
Published with permission