March 2010

Chance Favors the Prepared Mind

You may surprise yourself and find that you posses the skills employers are seeking. First, science acumen is paramount: You must demonstrate competence in science and have proof of what you have contributed to your field of study. Other desirable skills that science administration recruiters seek include the ability to communicate effectively, leadership and management skills and the ability to work effectively and cooperate with others. Do you have these skills? Well, you may have them and simply not realize it. For example, if you’ve mentored people in the lab, ordered and organized lab supplies and equipment, organized data clubs, journal clubs or other seminars or worked with collaborators on research projects, you probably possess leadership, management and team-player skills. Other ways to obtain these skills include taking leadership or management classes, teaching science courses, editing research papers or grant proposals, attending career advice workshops and speaking with science administrators about their job duties.

Looking for a new job? Check out the ASBMB Job Board.

Now that you know what a scientific administrative position might entail and you know the skills involved, conduct your self-assessment to see if that career is for you. If so, try to acquire the training and skills you need to transition to a science administration position. The shift in focus from your specialized research area to guiding decisions that affect the allocation of research and research-training support is definitely achievable if you prepare yourself.



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simply great.


Great information. thank you.



This article is greatly helpful. As a senior graduate student, I am looking to secure a postdoctorate position to conduct clinical research on aging with a long term goal of becoming a scientific administrator. I have many of the skills that are listed but am highly concerned of how difficult it might be to earn such a position because I don't plan on taking the traditional route to first go into academia and establish my own lab. Thus, this article gave some great advice on how to start preparing for my long-term goal. Any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks. Daphney Jean, PhD candidate Drexel University



  • I think your wonderful. Of corsue i am biased having worked with you a few too short years.You bring out the best in scientists who are not usually as spontaneous as they should be regarding life .You are practical and resourceful. You set a fine example to your children how it is .Love what you wrote. Miss your humor!

  • I have to disagree with your assertion. I believe Pasteur was alluding to the fact that all knowledge is useful. If someone has knowledge in many aspects of life, they can take advantange of situations that they've not experienced before.

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