Industry training and postdoc programs

6/25/2019 1:31:21 PM

There is an established need for more resources to prepare scientists for careers outside academia. And, considering that the private sector now employs just as many Ph.D. scientists as academic institutions, transitioning to industry careers is one important focus of these efforts.  

So, what exactly do we mean by industry careers? We broadly define industry here as for-profit companies that focus on developing or providing science and technology products or services to benefit their end users. These industries can include but are not limited to agriculture and food sciences, biotech and pharmaceutical sciences, laboratory equipment and supplies, and education and information technologies.   

There are a number of ways to get relevant training and experience to prep for a career in industry. Many academic institutions and science societies are starting to offer industry-training programs. One example is the joint ASCB-KGI biotech program. The KGI also offers degree programs, such as the postdoctoral professional master’s program with more in-depth training to prepare scientists for transitioning into management in the life-sciences industry.  

You also can take individual classes on topics relevant to industry areas (e.g., regulatory affairs, patent law, project management) to create your own training portfolio and boost your business acumen. Such classes may be available online (e.g., MOOCs) or through your local university or business/tech incubator.

In addition to training, networking is key for exploring careers and making industry connections. You can reach out to ASBMB members listed in the membership directory who are working in industry and request to hold an informational interview to learn more about their career paths. There also are industry-focused professional groups (e.g., state bioscience associations) that host local networking and other events.  

Some organizations are taking this a step further and facilitating industry-mentoring programs. The International Center for Professional Development runs the SMDP Biotech program, which is open to underrepresented minorities at each degree level. Participants attend a five-day training course and receive one year of personalized mentoring with an industry professional. Additionally, the Professional Development and Career Office at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has partnered with CASSS to pilot a biotech/pharma industry mentor-match program.  

Of course, there’s nothing quite as useful as hands-on experience. Consulting as a subject-matter expert on industry projects is a practical way to gain relevant experience and build connections in industry. As an example, the Medical College of Wisconsin runs the Catalyst BioConsulting group composed of postdocs and graduate students who provide business-consulting services to biotech and health-technology companies.  

If you want to do a trial run to see what it’s like working in industry, there are short-term internship and fellowship options available. For example, Lilly has a one-year visiting scientist fellowship program for postgraduates to get experience working across various business and research units. And, Genentech hosts an internship program open to scientists of all degree levels.  

Another option for Ph.D.-level scientists is participating in an industry-postdoc program. To learn more, we reached out to Kate Bradford, assistant director of career services with the PDCO at John Hopkins Medicine, who we noticed had been crowdsourcing info on Twitter about such programs. In fact, Kate’s office is leading the way in providing career resources in this area. For example, they recently held their annual Finding the Right Postdoc week that included a series of informational webinars detailing industry-postdoc programs at various companies.  

Kate graciously provided us with a curated list of companies that she has heard hire for postdoctoral positions. However, she likes to promote only those programs that offer significant training and professional-development resources to postdocs and has further vetted this list for those requirements. For this week’s jobs roundup, we provide an overview of some of these bona fide industry-postdoc training programs with current postdoc openings.  

* Note: Where applicable below, we had to search each respective job board for keywords that included “postdoctoral,” “postdoc” and combinations thereof with a space or hyphen inserted between “post” and “doc” to find all available positions.


Weekly jobs roundup  

  • The biotech company Genentech offers a four-year postdoctoral program for scientists to engage across their research, pharma technical development and development sciences organizations. The program activities include an annual offsite meeting, onsite postdoctoral meetings and a postdoc seminar series. Open positions are advertised on the company’s job board. There are at least 17 current postdoc openings listed at the South San Francisco location. We also noticed one of these positions is within ASBMB member Wayne Fairbrother’s group in the Early Discovery Biochemistry department. This postdoc position will be focused on structurally characterizing protein-protein and protein–ligand complexes of therapeutic interest. See the posting for more details. No application deadline is provided.  
  • JanssenPharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson runs a postdoctoral program across its U.S. and European locations. The program offers mentoring support, learning and development opportunities and a cohort experience. Any current openings will be listed in the careers section of the website. The most recent posting at a U.S.-based location is for a postdoctoral researcher in digital phenotyping to analyze the role of digital biomarkers in relation to clinical outcomes. The position can either be located in Spring House, Penn. or Beerse, Belgium. Fellowship support is provided for up to two years with the possibility of extension. Check out the job posting for more information. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The biopharmaceutical company Pfizer manages a worldwide R&D postdoctoral training program. Features of the program include an annual postdoc symposium and career-building activities. Fellowship support may be offered for up to four years. We found at least 15 postdoc listings located in the U.S. on the Pfizer job board. The most recent of these is for a postdoctoral fellow with the Gene Therapy Process Development group located in Research Triangle Park, N.C. The postdoc will work on optimizing recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) as a gene-therapy vector and developing improved manufacturing platforms. See the posting for more info. The application deadline is July 18.  
  • The pharmaceutical company Novartis offers two different postdoctoral fellowship programs for early-career scientists to train within the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (Cambridge, Mass., or Basel, Switzerland). The NIBR Postdoctoral Program engages the postdoctoral community in activities that include scientific seminars, experimental-design classes and mentoring/leadership workshops. Here are short descriptions of each program.   
  • The Novartis Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for early-career scientists (within three years of receiving a Ph.D.) to learn more about the drug design and discovery processes. Participants attend an immersive training boot camp, have scheduled rotations in both scientific and business-related disciplines and regularly engage with leadership. Fellowships typically last two to three years. This program appears to run on an annual cycle; the latest round of applications was due this past May with the next cohort starting this September. It is offered at the Cambridge location. Keep an eye on the website for updated information.  
  • The Novartis Discovery Postdoctoral Fellowship pairs early-career scientists with NIBR research mentors to study fundamental scientific questions within a drug-discovery research environment. Fellowship support may be provided for up to four years. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until a position is filled. The program website provides a list of available mentors across various research areas. There also is a link to postdoc listings on the Novartis job board that currently displays four openings within the neuroscience or global discovery chemistry research areas. Overall, it is unclear if applicants must apply to an opening on the job board or if they can directly contact the PIs listed on the program website to express interest. Additionally, a search of the job board for postdoc-related keywords reveals even more openings across NBIR and at other Novartis companies/divisions. We recommend emailing the program contact to get clarification about open positions.    
  • The biotechnology company Biogen, which focuses on treatments for neurological diseases, manages a postdoc program that provides up to four years of support and includes career-building activities (e.g., mentorship, seminar series). Open positions are listed on the company’s job board. The link to opportunities provided on the postdoc program webpage results in no openings at this time. However, a search of the job board for other postdoc-related keywords yielded one opening for a post-doctoral research fellow in neuroimmunology within the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research Unit located in Cambridge, Mass. We also found senior research fellow positions that sounded similar to industry-postdoc type positions. Be sure to do a thorough search of the job board to find relevant openings. There also is an option to submit a résumé directly to the Biogen’s Talent Community to express interest in employment.

Further reading and resources  

Choosing your postdoc position (Science Careers)
Factors to consider for industry postdocs (J. Alan Goggins)
Four tips for getting an industry postdoc (J. Alan Goggins)
Job search toolkit & Career paths (JHM Professional Development and Career Office)
Pointers for those curious about careers in industry (ASBMB Today)
Top 11 alternative entry level Ph.D. science careers to skip the postdoc (The Grad Student Way)


Related posts  

Industry careers: application scientist
Industry jobs in orphan drug discovery
Tech-transfer jobs in the nonprofit research world
Industry careers: Medical science liaison

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the ASBMB on social media or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the ASBMB Job Board for even more job listings.

How to develop a comprehensive job-search strategy: job boards

6/14/2019 4:37:11 PM

ICYMI, I presented a microlearning hub talk on how to develop a comprehensive job-search strategy during the 2019 ASBMB Annual Meeting at the Experimental Biology conference. The take-home message was that you need to use a multifaceted and targeted approach to find career opportunities, from staying updated on the latest funding and research news in your field to networking and maintaining an online professional presence (see figure).


This week, we bring you the first post in a series that will cover these various facets of a job-search strategy in more detail. One such component may include searches on job boards. As a forewarning, you may hear folks throw out statistics about how few jobs are secured by blindly applying for positions found posted online. While there is some truth to that, people still do land jobs this way, but you may need to apply for more positions and be selective in what you apply for to increase your chances.  

This also is where a comprehensive job-search strategy comes into play. For example, if you find an interesting job opening on a career site, then you can turn to your networks to see if you know anyone who can personally connect you to the hiring manager. Or, you can make note that you are interested in working with that employer in the future and figure out ways to network and build connections there.    

Job boards are extremely useful for researching the job market as well. If you’re in career-exploration mode, you can use job boards to see who all is hiring in your fields of interest, what types of jobs are out there and the necessary qualifications required to be successful in that position. You can save a copy of these job postings and use as a reference for your professional-development plan to know what skills and qualifications you need to develop moving forward.  

To make the most use of job boards, identify a few of these sites that post jobs most closely matched to your career interests. There are lots of job boards to choose from. These range from aggregator sites that pull content from multiple sources, general science and discipline- or trade-specific job boards, and those that are focused on different sectors (e.g., academia, industry or government). It may be helpful to pick a general one and a few that are more specific.  

You’ll additionally need to identify targeted keywords (e.g., job title, techniques) for searches to find relevant job postings. You can further streamline this process by creating a checklist of sites to review on a regular basis and setting up automated job alerts with those keywords, if that’s an option. Some career sites also may allow you to upload a résumé that is kept on file for recruiters and employers to review.  

In case it’s useful for your own job searches, here is a listing of job boards (sorted by generalized categories) that I have run across while researching jobs, internships and fellowships for the careers blog. This list is not comprehensive by any means. Other places to check for job boards are the alumni associations and career offices at your affiliated academic institutions, local chambers of commerce and employment offices, and individual employers’ career websites.  

Disclaimer: We do not endorse any specific job board (besides the ASBMB Job Board, of course) nor have we verified the validity of the organization providing the service. Always be vigilant when submitting personal information or if asked to pay a fee-for-service.  




Academic and nonprofit institutes
American Association of Community Colleges Job Board
Associationof Independent Research Institutes
Chronicle Vitae
Community College Jobs
Community College Jobs Now
Higher EducationRecruitment Consortium
HigherEdJobs Community College Positions
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
InsideHigher Ed



American Association for Cancer Research’s
American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Career Center
ASBMB Job Board
NeuroJobs Career Center
Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
The American Association of Immunologists’ Jobs Board and Resources


Diversity-related job boards



General science

Cell Career Network
Nature Careers
The Scientist Careers


Government job boards*

Department of Energy national labs
NASA Internships and Fellowships
Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Office of Intramural Training and Education (NIH) 

*Note: All official U.S. government job openings are posted on However, many government jobs are contracted through other employers. A few examples of job boards for contracted agency jobs, internships and fellowships are listed here.


Industry/tech transfer

Apex Systems
Kelly Services
Licensing Executives Society


International jobs
GlobalAcademy Jobs
Research in Germany


Sci-comm and outreach

American Alliance of Museums  
Association of Proposal Management Professionals
Association of Science-Technology Centers
Council of Science Editors
International Society of Managing and Technical Editors
National Organization of Research DevelopmentProfessionals
Society for Scholarly Publishing
Society for Technical Communication


Science policy

FYI (American Institute of Physics)
#SciPolJobs (ESEP Coalition)

Editor's note: The ASBMB Annual Meeting provides many opportunities to further develop your career and network with other scientists. The next meeting will be held April 4–7 in San Diego. Check out the meeting website for a sneak peak of the programming. 

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the ASBMB on social media or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the ASBMB Job Board for even more job listings.

Crowdfunding your science: part 2

6/5/2019 5:46:36 PM

This week we continue our two-part series on how to crowdfund your science. This post features advice from science professionals on effective marketing and outreach strategies for running a successful crowdfunding campaign. Be sure to check out the first part in this series, which offers tips on selecting a project and crowdfunding platform.

I previously reached out to Sandlin Seguin, who has been involved with multiple successfully crowdfunded projects, to get some tips on designing an effective campaign. While she prefaced her advice with the caveat that there is “no fail-proof plan for success,” she said it’s best to develop a marketing strategy before launching the crowdfunding campaign. This includes having template materials (e.g., form emails, social-media posts) ready to go and assigning outreach tasks among your team members.    

Sandlin also recommends generating buzz and making personal appeals to family and friends early on in the project timeline, so you can get some initial donors. “In the first week, we asked people to donate any amount to help us get the number of supporters up, and we got a lot of small donations,” she said. “That helped to build the momentum, since a campaign with 20 backers looks more legitimate than one without any.”  

Another way to show credibility is to ask for endorsements from people who can attest to the validity of your project and your capability to carry out the work. The crowdfunding platform Experiment has this option built in and prominently displays endorsements on the project site.  

Besides tapping into your personal networks, you need to have as many people as possible looking at your project. “For every 100 people that visit a project page, on average, one to two people take out their credit card to donate,” Cindy Wu, co-founder of Experiment, said. “You can use that conversion rate to calculate how many pageviews a project will need to succeed.”  

Research conducted by the SciFund Challenge team resulted in a similar conversion rate. To break it down further, they calculated the following pageview stats from crowdfunding projects in their experiment: one view per tweet per 70 followers on Twitter; 1.7 views per email; and 92 views per press contact. Overall, they concluded the amount of funding correlates with the size of your crowd (i.e., total number of contributors) and how engaged they are.  

Therefore, you’ll need to decide which communication channels will work best to reach your target audiences and maximize the number of pageviews. As an example, Sandlin and her team timed the release of one crowdfunding campaign with the publication of a front-page newspaper article about their organization.    

Another important consideration is engaging project backers in your work as much as possible. With respect to this, Sandlin suggests making the project site into “easy marketing material” that clearly explains the mission of your lab or organization and what the project is all about. This can include posting a short video or photographs that visually explain your work. Experiment also enables project organizers to add lab notes with status updates and supplementary info.

An additional way to engage and increase funding success is to offer perks to project backers. You can have different levels or packages of incentives based on the donation amount. Some ideas for perks include acknowledging donors on social media, hosting a lab tour, access to exclusive updates about the project, naming a lab animal or new species, or sending out personalized sci-artwork.

However, Jai Ranganathan, executive director of SciFund Challenge, emphasizes that public engagement needs to begin long before launching a crowdfunding campaign. “You need your crowd first before you can get funding,” he explained in a video on the organization’s website.

Jai mentions most people who donate do so because of their connection to the researcher, not the project. Thus, crowdfunding doesn’t really work outside the context of long-term science outreach, which he compares to doing the base training required before competing in a marathon. This is why SciFund Challenge primarily supports scientists with their crowdfunding efforts through sci-comm training (e.g., creating science videos with a smartphone).

Ultimately, crowdfunding should not be viewed as a means to an end, but, instead, as another avenue to further engage the public in science. For example, Sandlin met people who were inspired to get more involved with their organization because they had helped out financially. Jai also sees crowdfunding itself as a way to reward researchers for their science-outreach efforts, because, in reality, there can be little professional incentives for doing so otherwise.


Recommended resources

Crowdfunding resources page (SciFund Challenge)
Crowdfunding scientific research: Descriptive insights and correlates of funding success (PLoS ONE)
Researcher guide (Experiment)
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign (Lab Manager)
To crowdfund research, scientists must build an audience for their work (PLoS ONE)
Where is crowdfunding in science headed? (Lab Manager)
With funding becoming scarce, scientists are looking to the public for help (ASBMB Today)

Editor's note

If you're interested in participating in the ASBMB's Art of Science Communication course, the next session is scheduled for October. Applications will be accepted starting Sept. 3. Learn more.

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the ASBMB on social media or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the ASBMB Job Board for even more job listings.