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Preparing for Science-Based Non-Traditional Careers

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As fellows and staff scientists at the National Cancer Institute, many of you will be exploring and choosing from various science-based career options in the future.  The Office of Training and Education (OTE) in the Center for Cancer Training (CCT) is hosting weekly workshops to help participants learn about the various career opportunities that lie outside of independent academic research. Given these may include unfamiliar roles outside of traditional bench science, we have invited guest speakers from various science-based backgrounds to provide information and insight that will help inform decisions about potential future endeavors.  

Speakers from biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, government organizations and other fields present on diverse topics and share their experiences and individual journeys while describing best practices for getting a job, setting work expectations and navigating unique business-oriented scientific cultures.  Many of the speakers are former scientists who have successfully transitioned to different science-based career tracks outside of academia.  If you are thinking about choosing a non-independent research-based career path, this workshop will help shed light on how to position yourself while at NIH and improve your chances of success in the future.

The biographies of invited speakers will help reveal the types of job functions on which they will be presenting.

Workshop Topics

Each workshop session covers topics such as:

  • Interpreting different job postings
  • What companies look for in candidates
  • Cover letter and resume writing best practices for specific jobs and industries
  • Project management
  • Developing communication and leadership skills–effectively conveying these skills to employers
  • How to leverage experiences at NCI to develop the skills to succeed in industry
  • Industry business culture
  • Expectations for collaboration across divisions within companies
  • Transitioning from academic research to industry–new and different roles
  • Scientific communication, strategy development, and writing
  • Technology transfer
  • Navigating USA Jobs
  • Preparation required for different science-based career options
  • Metrics for success

Takeaways from Previous Workshops

Some of the major takeaways from previous workshops include:

  • There are significant differences in the application and interview processes for non-academic jobs versus independent academic research positions.
  • It is far better to begin your job preparation earlier rather than later (preferably during your first year at NIH), but it is never too late to start!
  • There are many positions existing within industry and the government that does not involve bench sciences and requires unique processes and preparation. 
  • The workshop helps participants identify things to do while at NIH that will better position them for the future.

Location and Time

The PSNC workshop will be held on Wednesdays from February 21 through May 15, 2024, between 3:00pm and 4:00pm EST. The presentations will be held virtually via WebEx.

This workshop is open to all staff scientists, postdoctoral, clinical fellows and postbacs. Registration is required to receive join in details and speaker handouts.


Registration is now OPEN and will close on March 15.

For more information contact:

Ravi Dhar, Ph.D.

Program Manager
Office of Training and Education
Center for Cancer Training
National Cancer Institute

2024 Winter/Spring Speakers

Read more about the speakers and their topics for the 2024 sessions.

February 21 - Tristen Tellman, Ph.D. - American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

February 28 - Karthik Krishnan, Ph.D. - Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

March 6 - Jessica Faupel-Badger, Ph.D. - Cancer Prevention Program, NCI

March 13 - Margaret Dayhoff-Brannigan, Ph.D. - Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

March 20 - Corinne Hausman, Ph.D. - Deloitte

March 27 - Patricia Ryan, Ph.D. - AstraZeneca

April 24 - Tina Miranda, Ph.D. - Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives, NCI

May 1 - TBD

May 8 - John Cipollo, Ph.D. - US Pharmacopeia

May 15 - TBD

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