Current Environment:

Academic research and teaching

As junior faculty you are expected to establish and lead an independent work group. Strong research and grant writing skills are crucial. Most academic institutions require a certain teaching commitment.

Biotechnology/pharmaceutical research

The research topic is typically directed by the company’s goals. Techniques being used are very similar to those at academic research, however the emphasis is usually on high-throughput and on efficacy and less on mechanism.

Clinical research

After development of a new drug or medical device, clinical research determines efficacy and safety for human use. Clinical researchers have to:

  • Design clinical trials (determine what symptoms or endpoints should be tested)
  • Manage clinical trials

This is primarily done by companies, but some trials are also funded by large governmental grants.


Advising non-scientist on scientific matters can be done in major consulting firms, venture capital firms, or larger biotech/pharma companies (typically medical affairs departments). The activities can be overlap with scientific writing.

Science policy, regulatory affairs, patents

To ensure that companies comply with regulations, regulatory affairs personnel needs to understand the science as well as the laws regulating the technologies.

Scientific writing and editing

The generation and editing of scientific documents and illustration is done by major scientific journals or for companies.

  • deciding which scientific work is suitable to publish; contact and correspondence with peer-reviewers and authors
  • writing and summaries of scientific documents based on research done by others (e.g. R&D, clinical research), which can be either educational or for regulatory