Neurological and psychiatric disorders affect a growing number of individuals—nearly one in five Americans in a given year and more than two billion people worldwide. Furthermore, the scope of neuroscience is vast—ranging from the most basic cellular-level research to translational medicine—and many unanswered questions remain. Interesting niche areas have emerged in neuroscience research such as neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, and neural networks. Together, these factors make neuroscience one of the more exciting and opportunity-laden fields in which to pursue a scientific career.
The 2007 version of Science ’s annual survey of Top Employers features a tight race for first place among three companies. It also reveals the key ingredient for all successful employers: a commitment to innovative thinking throughout the product pipeline, from the laboratory to the clinic or marketplace.
To many on the outside, life as a tenured faculty member conjures up images of dreamy afternoons spent theorizing at one's desk, interspersed with occasional trips to the lab to hold up test tubes to the light. Of course, anyone who's been to grad school for more than a week knows there's more to scientific endeavor than that. In fact, a faculty member's requisite skill set is quite extensive.
To be successful in this position the candidate must be a strong communicator and have an interest in intellectual property law. The candidate will participate in a patent law course and will be required to pass the United States Patent Agent Bar Exam within a predetermined amount of time.
Tremendous strides have been made in eradicating infectious disease scourges such as smallpox and polio that once killed and crippled millions; still, about 15 million deaths—or about one third of all deaths annually—result from infectious diseases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, nearly half involve children under the age of 5 years, predominantly in poorer countries. The ongoing hefty death toll, the pharmaceutical industry’s increasing interest in the research and development of vaccines, and plentiful funding from multiple sources all combine to provide a range of opportunities for postdocs and graduate students in vaccine research. The field is high growth and, perhaps more important, the fruits of this work promise to have a real impact on the health of the world’s population.
With so many options, from setting up one’s own company to internships and additional degrees, graduate and postdoctoral students have the opportunity to customize their career path in translational research.
“There are not only opportunities for scientists in R&D and operations, but also in areas such as marketing, sales, and business development. We are always looking for talent in all these sectors, and we have openings and candidates for these positions all throughout the year.”
Many scientists opt for a research career in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, so why not kick-start the process by also doing a postdoc in industry? Industrial postdocs often provide higher salaries and greater access to resources than their academic counterparts. But how do you find out about available positions and whether they are a good fit for you? Will a position as a postdoctoral fellow provide you a foot in the door at a company? And what if you don't like it? Will an industrial postdoc cut you off from returning to academia?