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10th Annual NIH Career Symposium

Modified: April 21, 2017

May 11, 2017 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
NIH Campus (Bethesda, Maryland)
Natcher Conference Center

The NIH Career Symposium highlights the diversity of career choices available to the current generation of biomedical researchers.  Whether you are a new graduate student, postdoc, or clinical fellow just beginning to consider career options or a senior student/fellow ready to look for a job, the NIH Career Symposium is for you. Review more information on the program agenda here.

The NIH invites any postdoc, clinical fellow or PhD-level graduate student to join them, regardless if you are part of the NIH intramural program or not. This event is free to attend (participants are responsible for their own travel expenses)

Wondering what the Career Symposium is all about?  Check out past events here.
Read write-ups (written by postdocs) of past NIH Career Symposiums here.


Highlighted Panel: Ten-Years Later

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NIH Career Symposium. Panelists from the inaugural career symposium return to talk about how their careers have changed over the last 10 years. We will highlight academic, industry and government careers. See how their trajectories have changed, what surprises they have faced, and hear what they wish they had known 10 years ago.


  • Session 1: Transitioning from Postdoc to Faculty
    • Faculty from a variety of institutions will share the strategies that led to success and the mistakes and pitfalls to avoid. From where to look for positions, how to apply, building your lab and choosing your team, speakers will give advice on how to transition to your faculty career.
  • Session 2: Long Term Success as a Faculty Member
    • Speakers will share experiences about boosting leadership skills, refining mentorship styles, improving communication skills, managing people and staying organized. Discussions will also touch on overcoming the challenges of communication and/or cultural barriers in an academic workplace, how to be inclusive in the lab, and how to establish collaborations and share ideas between institutions around the world. Come learn what it takes to become a successful academic.
  • Session 3: Non-traditional Faculty
    • Universities are not the only places where you can be an independent scientist. Private institutes, non-profit research centers and the government also hire principal investigators to perform research. Where can these jobs be found? How are they different from traditional academic counterparts? What do these institutions expect from candidates? The panelists will describe available options for individuals seeking an independent research position in a non-traditional research environments.
  • Session 4: Teaching Intensive Faculty
    • Do you want to inspire the next generation of scientists? Teaching at the college level may be the career path for you. Panelists will focus on how to prepare your application, find positions and excel in teaching intensive positions. The speakers represent a wide range and level of institutions and will discuss the challenges and advantages of choosing a teaching path.


  • Session 1: Staying Close to the Science
    • There are many careers that remain close to research that are often overlooked by scientists. In this panel, researchers will share their experiences working for world-class research institutes on basic and translational science. Panelists will highlight careers as staff scientists (both at the NIH and in private organizations), core directors, and working with contract research organizations.
  • Session 2: Consulting, Business Development, & Equity Research
    • In this session, you will hear from scientists now working in business strategy and company growth-from consultant, business development and equity research careers. They will talk about their positions, day-to-day routines, and their transition from the bench to business professional. You will also hear our panelists' advice regarding transferable skills you can gain now as a trainee, how to prepare for the transition, and if a business degree is necessary.
  • Session 2: Regulatory Affairs & Science Management
    • Do you want to use your scientific knowledge to bring new therapies to the market? Regulatory affairs specialists, medical science liaisons, and clinical trial managers are some of the positions that provide scientific support and assessments in pharmaceutical/biotechnology/medical device companies. These professionals offer their scientific expertise to guide product development, produce documents for FDA review, and promote product understanding for their clients. 
  • Session 3: Sales & Marketing
    • Do you want to tackle the challenge of bringing new concepts to the market and providing technical support for established products and services in basic, clinical and translational research? Careers such as field application scientist, sales representative and marketing specialist are some of the positions that work with customers to provide training, set up equipment, and showcase products. 
  • Session 4: Research & Development
    • Come hear our panelists who are currently working at large and medium sized pharmaceutical companies. They will share their stories about how they reached their current positions and what key skills helped them succeed. Learn about the qualities that you must master to take your bench career to the next level. Come gather tips on how to effectively network with R&D professionals, enhance your resume, land your first industry position, and thrive in this fast-paced environment.


  • Session 1: Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property
    • Technology transfer and patents provide scientists with career opportunities in academia, government, and the private sector. Professionals in these fields identify opportunities for commercialization of research, evaluate new technology for licensing potential, develop patent applications, and work with inventors to negotiate licensing or collaboration agreements and intellectual property documents. Panelists will discuss the differences between technology transfer and patent management and how to be competitive for these fields.
  • Session 1: Science Administration
    • Science relies on administrators to manage programs that keep research running. Panelists manage fellowships and grants, academic programs and other programs in non-profit and academic institutions. They will discuss the skills needed to take on an administrative role after years at the bench, and the impact their daily jobs have on shaping science.
  • Session 2: Federal Government
    • The government plays a fundamental role in the advancement of public health and funding basic and translational research. There is room for all types of work in the government, from FDA's regulating activities to guiding funding via grant reviews and identifying new avenues for research. If you're interested in using your degree to make an impact on how science develops at the big picture level, this panel is for you. The panelists in this session will discuss how scientists can make the jump from bench to government; see what this career path looks like from those on the other side. 
  • Session 3: Science Education & Outreach
    • There is more to science education than lecturing in a classroom and nowadays, science educators can be found almost anywhere, from schools to museums to game design. Regardless of their backgrounds or positions, educators all work to support scientific literacy, advance research, and inspire future generations. Do you have a passion for science and the ability to translate research to the general public? Come hear this diverse group of science educators discuss their experiences working in this unique field and the opportunities available.
  • Session 3: Science Policy & Advocacy
    • Policy and advocacy are necessary cornerstones for growth and development in science. Scientists in this field provide evaluations on existing and proposed regulations and policies that impact every aspect of the scientific community including allocation of resources and navigating public scientific issues. The panelists in this section will discuss exciting opportunities in science policy and advocacy at the federal and private level. They will discuss what training opportunities are available for scientists, and what it takes to prepare for a career in this field. 
  • Session 4: Writing & Communication
    • Communication is a core tenement of a scientific career. Professionals in science communication take this component to the next level with diverse scientific knowledge and their specialized expertise. Science writers and editors present cutting-edge research and technologies to diverse audiences. How they relate new developments can influence science policy, education, advocacy and regulation. These panelists will discuss how to leverage your training to become a professional communicator. 


  • Session 1: Options for Clinicians
    • Physicians play important roles in advancing science and improving public health not only by practicing medicine and conducting translational research but also by performing other jobs away from the bedside or bench. A wide variety of career options are available for medical doctors in different sectors including academia, industry, government, and nonprofits. Panelists in this session will discuss their experiences and the career paths available to clinicians.


These short sessions are designed to give you an overview of the skills required to launch a successful job search. These will be a fast-paced, fun way to end the day. The first two sessions will be limited to twenty minutes with a five minute break between sessions. Speakers, who are our very own OITE staff and the scientific leadership of the NIH, will give you the highlights of the topics, with information about additional resources. Choose three sessions from the following offerings:

  • Career Searches Around the Globe
    • Searching for a job in a foreign country requires an additional set of job searching skills.  This session will cover tips on how to make connections, understand job packet requirements and more.  We will cover topics for visiting fellows wanting to stay in the US as well as looking for a job outside of the US (i.e. returning to your home country or another country).
  • Interviewing
    • This session will help you to navigate the interview process. We will discuss common interview questions and how to succeed using the Situation-Action-Response method.
  • The Stadtman Search
    • Come learn about the NIH Intramural Research’s program: Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator Recruitment
  • Understanding the US Academic System
    • Academic institutions come in a variety of sizes and flavors.  This session will define the spectrum of academic institutions according to their research and salary support, teaching and research expectations, tenure requirements, and student body composition.
  • Unraveling the Myths of Industry 
    • This session will debunk common questions associated with industry such as: can you return to academia, do you have intellectual freedom, do you do good science, and can your project be taken away from you? 
  • Negotiating your job offer
    • What and how do you negotiate the various parts of your job package. This session is focused on non-academic positions.
  • Finding a Postdoc
    • This session is for graduate students pondering a postdoc.  We will highlight what to look for in a postdoc, deciding if you need a postdoc, how to apply, and more.  We will also discuss how to get a postdoc at the NIH intramural research program.
  • Stress Management for Scientists
    • Combining research, job-searches, and life do not always seem to be easy for scientists.  Come learn some stress management strategies to enhance your well-being
  • Academic Job Talks
    • Learn to give an outstanding, memorable job talk for faculty positions. Learn important elements to be included, tips on giving a successful academic "chalk talk," how to structure your talk for your specific audience, and more.
  • New Job, New Mindset: Top-tips to be successful in your new position
    • The OITE director has seen many scientists transition to non-research positions—and has observed common challenges that ensue during this move. Here she will discuss strategies to leave your postdoc/grad student mentality behind and succeed in your new work environment.
  • Find the Career for You
    • Your dream job does exist! You heard about many different positions today, and perhaps are narrowing down your career choice. This session will help you map out a plan to determine how your skills, interests and values can lead you to your perfect job.
  • CV/Resumes and Cover Letters
    • These important job search documents are your first chance to make an impression on potential employers. This session will cover the general structure of these documents, how to highlight transferable skills, and how to fill gaps in your experience by gaining additional skills while in grad school/postdoc.
  • Transitioning Successfully from Postdoc to Faculty
    • You've accepted a faculty position! This seminar covers navigating the academic environment in your future department including: deciding what resources you need, finding and hiring personnel, departmental expectations of a junior faculty member, what you should expect early on and setting your early priorities. 

Please note: This is NOT a job fair; it is a place for you to gain information about the next step in your career.  There will be NO recruiting tables. 

Training Grant Director