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Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:32 pm
by Dave Jensen
A while back our frequent poster Jim Gardner mentioned jobs in Competitive Intelligence, which he is familiar with from his career in a large pharma company. It got me thinking that there are really a wide variety of jobs in industry that aren't discussed all that much, but which could have a lot of interest.

Here are a few of them, besides the aforementioned "Competitive Intelligence," which is a market research and writing job. I hope that others are able to add to this list:

- CMC Specialist: A regulatory affairs person who works with this specific area of FDA for drug applications ("Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls"). Generally an advanced degree in the life sciences or chemistry - strong writing skills and interpersonal skills required for interactions with manufacturing and process development staff.

- Applications Scientist: A person who works in support of the sales and marketing effort with a company that sells tools to scientists. Firms that make reagents and instruments will hire Application Scientists to travel in regions and to put on seminars, do training at scientific meetings, etc, specific to the company's products. Generally PhD's.

- Metrology Specialist: Perform calibration procedures on equipment as well as write and enforce calibration and maintenance procedures on important scaleup and manufacturing equipment. Generally undergraduate degrees in the life sciences, chemistry or engineering.


Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:37 pm
by Phillip
I recently met a fellow at a meeting who is a part of his company's team in the process development area.

His card says "Process Development Scientist." He is a molecular biologist who has had experience at taking the early stage drug products and moving them up into larger processes, so that the materials can be put into the clinic and a successful manufacturing process can be identified in case it is successful. He finds his job very satisfying, and considers it as challenging a "research job" as he has ever had at the bench.


Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:50 pm
by Aimee
I am a second year graduate student, thinking about what I really want out of life. I realize that I do not want to be doing research for the rest of my life, and that I really need social interaction. Are there any careers that involve helping others, but would still allow me to utilize my degree?

Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:06 pm
by A. Sam
There are a ton of people with graduate science degrees working in quality control and quality assurance. It's possible to get these jobs without a ton of experience and they're generally a little more secure and findable than the research jobs. Installation Qualification, Operational Qualification, and Performance Verification of equipment and instruments (so called IQ/OQ/PQ) is a vital link in the quality chain and folks that specialize in compliance, validation and qualification are pretty marketable. Working for a contract organization is a good way to get started on this path, they tend to be a little more inclined to invest money in training people than a drug company would.

Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:37 pm
by Andrew
- Project Coordination Scientist
Develops leads for projects, maintains timelines, is point-person for customer communication on larger projects, manages Gannt charts for programs, hosts customer visits, performs invoicing upon project completion, liases between laboratory staff and customer. Req: BS in science and experience dealing with external customers.

Repost: Competitive Intelligence

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:01 pm
by Jim Gardner

I've had a few requests to "repost" my orginal post (made last October) on competitive intelligence. It was made in response to a question by Dave Jensen ( Here it is...

After 5+ years in medical writing at a large pharmaceutical company I decided to pursue a "lateral" opportunity and took a position in a department called Global Scientific and Business Intelligence (GSBI). I was doing very well in medical writing and was clearly on the management ladder, but I just could not imagine an entire career in medical writing. I wanted a position where I would learn more about my company and the industry. I also noticed that the few ex-writers who moved up into non-writing management positions had prior experience in other disciplines.

In my current position I am known internally as a Scientific Liaison (SL). However, my job duties are that of a competitive intelligence (CI) analyst. There are very few of these positions in the pharmaceutical industry and even fewer in biotech. Every SL in my department "lateralled" in from another position. There are currently 5 of us. Two have PharmD degrees, 1 has an RPH and an MBA, one has an engineering degree, and one (me) has a PhD. My boss has a scientific MS. I believe (from networking at the few CI conferences I've been to) that my dept is rather typical for a pharmaceutical company. CI practitioners come from a variety of educational backgrounds and usually lateral into CI from other disciplines.

So what exactly do I do? Well, it changes from week to week depending on the information needs of the many clients I serve. My job is to work with them (in Drug Discovery, Clinical, Regulatory, Marketing, Business Development, and Licensing & Acquisitions) and determine their needs. I bring these needs back to the information/search professionals in my department who then gather the information. I then organize, summarize, analyze, and communicate the information to the clients. All the information I deliver comes from external sources: biomedical literature, business news, patents, external industry and financial analysts' reports, clinical trial info, and information about drugs in development.

Among my most frequent client requests are pipeline analyses (charting all the drugs in development for a specific indication or that work via a specific mechanism of action) and reports on the competitive landscape for specific indications, mechanisms, or technologies. I regularly track competitors' drugs of interest (especially those we are considering for in-licensing) in news sources and pipeline databases. I cover (listen, summarize, and report) R&D and/or Science Day presentations that almost all the big pharmaceutical companies have once per year. I also am the content manager of a web portal page customized for the therapeutic area in which I work.

More information about CI can be found at the website of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals ( I am not sure if this treatise is going to be of much help to anyone--as I pointed out above these jobs are scarce and there is no standard path for obtaining them. At the very least this is an example of the kind of interesting and unexpected opportunities that are available within the industry once you have experience and a track record of success.

Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:13 pm
by Dave Jensen
Thanks Jim for the repost of that interesting job detail.

For Aimee's request, think seriously about a job as an Applications Scientist, where you go around helping others with their research based upon your knowledge of specialized techniques or equipment.

Here's another:

Human Resources/Recruiter: Companies in industry employ several different types of "HR people." Many are generalists, and work in areas of compensation, benefits, company communications, etc. However, some of them are technical people who use their skills in working with people and their science background to recruit new members of the team. This job can be fun, but it can be frustrating as well because while it helps to relate to scientists when you have a science background, it isn't a job that will utilize your full science degree. Thus, there are a lot of "drop outs" from this career choice. Generally requires at least a BS in science.


Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:04 pm
by Andrew
- Contract Management Scientist
Follows up on leads from Business Development, establishes the scope of work, estimates time and resources needed, and writes the quotes and contracts. Provides creatively structured contracts for longer term support. Negotiates standard terms and conditions and confidentiallity agreements with customers. Req. BS in science.

Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:15 pm
by Denise
Is the Project Coordination Scientist position the kind of job one can get into after their PhD or perhaps a year or two of postdoccing? Or is it more suited to people that have industry experience??


Less Frequently Discussed Jobs in Industry

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:34 pm
by Andrew
PC Scientist is generally someone with industry experience. Most of them have B.S. degrees with some years of experience in either project management or some position that is customer facing. A few have PhDs and lateral in from a lab position. I've not known one that came straight from school.