Define your path to success: How to navigate & network to the career you want

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Advice for PhD Students: Tips From Professors, Startup Founders, and Industry Professionals

Here we present various pieces of advice from startup founders, academic professors, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and industry executives to current and future PhD students.   For Full Article: https://thewinnower.com/papers/advice-for-phd-students-tips-from-professors-startup-founders-and-industry-professionals

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What can women in science learn from female entrepreneurs?

Scientists may not readily identify themselves as entrepreneurs, but a comparison can indeed be made between the corporate business sector and the scientific enterprise. Are their skills that women in business have that women in science can acquire and benefit from? The intersection of STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math), Innovation, Business and Women were recently addressed on a panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Summer Davos meeting in Tianjin China. The reasons women are lacking in STEM industries and academia are multiple and complex, however one major hurdle we discussed is the lack of business knowledge among female STEM scientists. The current knowledge economy calls for educated specialists who can leverage their currency across multiple platforms. Scientists by nature are opportunity driven specialists who can, and should, be thriving in the knowledge economy. Running a successful laboratory is very similar to running a startup or a company. Principal Investigators (PIs) need […]

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Grad Student to Successful Career: Where do we go from here?

Noushin Nabavi, Ph.D. November 2014 With all the major journals covering the shortage of academic positions and funding for trained scientists, and many key university decision makers acknowledging that we are in a funding stagnation period, I find it necessary to engage in the ever-evolving and active discussion about career possibilities and opportunities for PhD graduates. According to a UCSF panel discussion on “Thinking creatively about postdocs”1, the dire research-funding situation may take decades to fix. So what happens to those of us who have already passed through the pipeline and are now at the intersection of making serious career decisions? Where do we go from here? At the UCSF panel discussion, great emphasis was made on the need to educate graduate students and postdocs on the possibilities of careers outside of academia, and to do so early enough during their training so that graduate students do not default into […]

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When a PhD isn’t enough

Contributor Bianca Marcolino “You need to beg, borrow and steal” was the advice I was given by a Pfizer medical director on how to enter the pharmaceutical industry after graduate school. The medical director also had a Ph.D., and I had met him through a common friend. He had transitioned from academia into industry, and was personally aware of the difficulty in making the switch. It is especially challenging if you’re looking for a scientific role away from the bench. Hence, the dramatic advice that you need to do whatever it takes, get as much outside experience as you can, to land the first job post-graduate school. Having a Ph.D. is one thing, knowing how to sell it in the non-academic market is another. My undergraduate research helped me decide that I wanted to become an independent scientist. I went to graduate school to study biology, because I loved science […]

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The PhD System Is Broken. This Is How We Fix It. Part I: Mentors

In my previous post I wrote about why I left academia, and mentioned that I felt the system was broken. My next series of posts will focus on what I believe are some of the major problems, and also some suggestions on how we can begin to reform the existing system. Part one of this series will focus on mentors. At the recent Curium launch event at UCSF, we had a panel of academics-turned-entrepreneurs discuss the reasons they left academia, what they felt some issues were with the existing system, and what they have learned from starting their own life science companies. Stephen Cary, co-founder and CEO of Omniox, brought up an interesting and what I believe to be extremely valid point about the way the current system is structured, and I would like to expand upon it here. In general, professors are deemed successful and rewarded for publishing papers and bringing in grant funding. […]

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Why I Left Academia (And What You Should Do About It)

I know there have been a lot of posts on this recently, but I wanted to take an opportunity to share my experience, with the hopes of helping others in the same situation. About six months ago, after two doctorate degrees, two fellowships, and a residency (almost 15 years of my life) training for a career in academia, I jumped ship. It was quite honestly the most difficult decision I have ever made, and frankly, I was scared to death. What if I made the wrong decision? Did I just waste half my life? Will I hate my new career path? I think most of my colleagues still in academia thought I was crazy; they congratulated me with confused and concerned looks on their faces. Still, to this day, I question myself about whether the decision I made was the right one. And I can say with confidence, ABSOLUTELY.   […]

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ACADEMIC TO ENTREPRENEUR: A ROAD MAP FOR SUCCESS

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How PhDs Can Escape Benchwork And Get Paid Better

Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D. I slammed the -80°C freezer shut and slowly walked out of the lab. It was midnight and I was exhausted. Another 18-hour day was behind me and all I could think about was going to bed so I could wake up and do it again. In a twisted way I liked the grind of science. The hard work, obsessiveness over the data, and continual learning were addicting. And I felt a sense of nobility and pride over the fact that I made almost no money. But, after a while, I started thinking about where this lifestyle was taking me. Was I always going to be working slavish hours for the rest of my life? Was I going to be broke the rest of my life? https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140725135818-73472216-how-phds-can-escape-benchwork-and-get-paid-better

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Think Outside the Lab

Marcia McNutt Last month, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) released a report* with some grim news that confirmed what is painfully obvious to recent Ph.D. graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields: Unemployment for this cohort is on the rise (at 2.4% in 2010, up nearly a percentage point since 2008). Although it remains below the U.S. national average for all workers (8.2%), for bright students who have invested many years in specialized education and training, the outlook is discouraging. Furthermore, according to an NSF survey, in 2008 only 16% of Ph.D.’s in science, engineering, and health fields held positions in academia within 3 years of earning a doctorate.† Prospects for employment can be improved, however, for STEM Ph.D.’s who make a concerted effort to learn about positions outside the lab and prepare themselves for alternative paths. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/672.full

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How many F32 postdoctoral fellows become PIs of NIH Research grants?

A dream of every research scientist is to run their own independent laboratory, where they will be able to explore their ideas, educate future scientists and contribute to the university’s service. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) (Parent F32) provides the financial support for the training of postdocs who “have the potential to develop into independent investigators in scientific health-related research fields”. It is a NIH-sponsored program designed to select and train the best future scientists. http://grantome.com/blog/wasted-potential

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In tech transfer, an idea isn’t always a product, and an inventor isn’t always an entrepreneur

Academic researchers, by nature, pursue scientifically interesting discoveries that could have a long-term impact. Meanwhile, investors and companies are interested in technologies that fill a very clear and immediate need in a market. That difference in perspective is one thing that makes translating discoveries at academic institutions into viable products so challenging, as I learned at the Association of University Technology Managers‘ partnering forum in Cleveland last week……………. Read more: http://medcitynews.com/2014/04/ideas-products-arent-one-lessons-university-tech-transfer/#ixzz31fD8r9Ze

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NIH Looking to Kick-Start Biotech Startups

Last fall, microbial ecologist Kei Fujimura took time away from her lab work to hunt down people with inflammatory bowel disease on Facebook. The postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), was doing a bit of market research, in hopes of starting a company that would offer people with Crohn’s disease and colitis personalized microbiome sequencing data that could help them manage their conditions. She and a fellow postdoc “thought we had a pretty good shot” at commercializing the idea, she says……   http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/04/nih-looking-kick-start-biotech-startups

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Some Entrepreneurship Courses For SF Bay Area Professionals (And A Few Online As Well)

Source: Manesh Bhatia This is isn’t a comprehensive list, but an attempt to share information about some of the courses that I am aware are open to working professionals: Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad class is available online on Udacity: http://steveblank.com/2012/09/06… Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start: Turning Ideas into High-Growth Businesses is also available online: http://www.skillshare.com/classes/business/Art-of-the-Start-Turning-Ideas-into-High-Growth-Businesses/449341632 Additionally, there are quite a few options (some are available online as well) at Stanford (listed in no particular order): Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series — Weekly when school quarters are in progress (on campus). Open to the public, and streaming videos are also available online a few days after each talk. Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate — A professional certificate can be earned by completing any 8 of 12 online courses on topics including: hands-on creativity, marketing, social media, innovation strategy, and entrepreneurship. Stanford Ignite Program https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/ignite Stanford Continuing Studies tends to offer a few courses every quarter that might be of help to entrepreneurs, and they are open for anyone to register. Fees […]

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How to have a successful postdoc experience

http://www.gsbs.utmb.edu/_pdf/successful_post_doc.pdf

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A Vision of the Future From Those Likely to Invent It

From employment to leisure and transportation to education, tech is changing the world at a faster pace than ever before. Already, people wear computers on their faces, robots scurry through factories and battlefields and driverless cars dot the highway that cuts through Silicon Valley. Almost two-thirds of Americans think technological change will lead to a better future, while about one-third think people’s lives will be worse as a result, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Regardless, expect more change. In a series of interviews, which have been condensed and edited, seven people who are driving this transformation provided a glimpse into the not-too-distant future.   http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/02/upshot/FUTURE.html?_r=1

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Is pressure on postdocs leading to ‘massaged’ research?

Merciless competition for jobs and funds pushes some researchers to spin data in the eternal quest for… http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/mar/22/postdoc-research-universities-publish-academics

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Watch Out, MBAs! Ph.D.s Are After Your Jobs

More doctoral grads are pursuing careers outside academia http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-01/more-doctoral-grads-compete-with-mbas-for-jobs

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ASCB where will a biology PhD get you?

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Academics Anonymous: why I’m leaving academia

I will no longer put up with low pay, unstable contracts and the requirement to be available at all times   Anonymous academic Guardian Professional, Thursday 1 May 2014 08.56 EDT   In a few weeks, I will be leaving my career in academic research. The pleasure of contributing to scientific knowledge has disappeared and I am overworked and under-compensated with no semblance of a work-life balance. The cons of academia now far outweigh the pros, so I am walking away. I am currently working as a postdoc, which is the purgatory between finishing a PhD and obtaining a long-term fellowship or permanent position. According to the 2013 Careers in research online survey (Cros), 77% of research staff are on temporary, fixed-term contracts, and 87% of these are for less than three years. The expectation is that you move institutions after one or two contracts. I am currently working as a part of a […]

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