Can scientists solve the financial crisis?

Given the current financial crisis, becoming a quantitative analyst probably isn’t at the top of many “careers in demand” lists these days. But if you’ve ever been curious about how you might be able to put your scientist’s mind to work solving problems on Wall Street, check out this Science Careers podcast with finance exec Lee Maclin, director of research at Pragma Financial Systems. Or read about algorithmic trading and quantitative analysis at the Advanced Trading Quant Center… but if this is the career you’re hoping for, you might want to ‘hedge’ your bets until things get back on track!

Posted: February 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

How Technology Transfer jobs put your science to work

Technology transfer is the conduit that helps transform public-sector science research into commercial applications, and it can transform a scientific career as well. What does it take to find a job in technology transfer?

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Posted: February 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Business Development, Intellectual Property, Marketing, Technology Transfer | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Two key skill sets most biotech scientists lack — and why they don’t get paid more

About 250,000 scientists are employed by biotech firms in the United States today, and a career in commercial biotech is a goal for many PhDs, post-docs, and undergraduate science students.

Recently Fiona Murray, an associate professor from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, carried out a study of knowledge work in this sector that provides enlightening reading for those interested in a biotech career.

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Posted: January 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Preclinical R&D | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Are entry-level pharmaceutical research jobs a lost cause?

A look at some recent economic numbers has the BioJobBlogger suggesting that the future may look dim for new PhDs and postdocs who were hoping to find entry-level work in the biotechnology sector.

The Future of Pharmaceutical R&D : Bio Job Blog.

“. . . a majority of the almost 160,000 employees layed off by pharma companies in the past few years have been R&D scientists. . . . Unfortunately, this paradigm shift doesn’t bode well for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows who are training in the life sciences. This is because many entry-level biotech positions, traditionally filled by newly-minted PhDs and postdoctoral fellows will likely be filled by experienced, pharmaceutical employees who lost their jobs in the recent rounds of layoffs.”

Is this true? Maybe. However, there are a few positive things to consider about entry-level positions:

  1. A lot of people are not interested in taking a step back in their careers and applying for entry-level work if they’re already accomplished and experienced at a higher level.
  2. Companies trying to fill entry-level positions sometimes will not consider more experienced people for these roles. Fairly or not, more experienced candidates can be seen as more difficult to manage and more likely to be unsatisfied with low-level work and salary.
  3. R&D work can be incredibly specific to particular assays and model systems. A newly-minted PhD with the exact skills a company needs may be a better bet than an experienced scientist who has been working on a different system.

So, if you have your heart set on an R&D position in industry, don’t lose hope entirely — although keeping your eyes open for other opportunities is always smart.  One last piece of advice — be mobile!  Being genuinely open to relocation will ensure that you have the most opportunities available to you. Locking yourself down to one location will almost always limit your career trajectory.

Posted: January 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Preclinical R&D | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »