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All alt-ac jobs

This week I set myself the task of rounding up all the jobs I could think of that someone with a background in biology, molecular biology, or biochemistry could do in “alt-ac” – that is, outside from academia and outside the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Work can be broadly categorized into laboratory-related work and non-laboratory work.

Laboratory work and work adjacent to the laboratory

Government agencies: One of the biggest employers of scientists in the United States is the government. The most obvious agencies for life scientists might be the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, all of which employ scientists in laboratory and other positions. The same goes for the Environmental Protection Agency (which I mentioned earlier), the United States Department of Agriculture, and even NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Energy. . The National Science Foundation is another government agency that hires many scientific experts, but not as lab researchers, since the NSF – unlike the NIH – does not do lab science.

National laboratories: The Department of Energy operates 17 national laboratories across the country. National laboratories are a bit like academia and a bit like industry. In national laboratories, scientists work full-time on research projects. Part of the DOE, many national laboratories focus on physics, but also have life science research arms. Two big differences from academia are that they generally don’t have students, although some take graduate students for short-term projects and opportunities or have programs for younger students, and chefs. research group do not spend a lot of time applying for funding.

The military: All branches of the US military have positions for scientists to some degree. Some positions require you to be or become an officer, while other positions are open to civilians. For example, US Army and US Navy research labs accept civilian applicants for research positions, which can be found on USAjobs.

Non-profit organizations: There are several non-profit organizations conducting biomedical research that hire people with scientific training. Sometimes they are closely tied to and similar to academia and industry, like the Simons Foundation or The Jackson Laboratory, and sometimes they are more militant or independent, like Ending Pandemics..

Non-pharmaceutical companies: Many companies, large and small, have research divisions or at least a few scientific positions. On the niche side, there are unique spots like the Modernist Cuisine food lab, which has scientists on staff. Food producers such as Murray’s Cheese, whose quality assurance manager has a doctorate, could be even more specialized. Bigger, closer to the pharmaceutical world, Pantene shampoo has a hair research institute.

FBI: There are many biology-related jobs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which tend not to be as research-oriented as positions at other institutions above. Most of these lab positions analyze biological evidence.

Forensics and crime labs: Likewise, state and local governments have forensic labs and medical examiners’ offices that need scientists.

Outside the lab

Policy: We need people with a strong science background to help shape our government’s science policy. This may involve working for individual lawmakers on Capitol Hill or residing outside of government at a think tank such as the Bipartisan Policy Center. Scientific societies (more on those below) also often have a political arm.

Companies: Scientific societies, such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, have scientists on their staff who hold a variety of positions to achieve the society’s goals of advancing scientific research and supporting the careers of scientists. This type of work may include organizing scientific conferences, publishing scientific journals, publishing a magazine for members, or managing fellowship and fellowship programs.

Writing and editing: There are many types of scientific writing: popular articles, podcasts, press releases, regulatory technical writing, and scientific journal editing, to name a few. All of them require different scientific and technical knowledge and are aimed at different audiences.

Patent offices: Working in a patent office is another way of using scientific knowledge. A patent examiner works with people who submit patents to understand if the invention is new and patentable. To do this, you must have an understanding of science and law. Some famous scientists have worked in patent offices!

Museums and zoos: Science and natural history museums have experts on staff to develop exhibits and educational programs. Some also have labs, as they conduct research and educate.

Scientific Council : While people with a scientific background may be suitable for many types of counseling due to their good problem-solving abilities, I am referring here specifically to medical or scientific counseling. This is when people use their scientific expertise and ability to quickly learn new things and come up with solutions for pharmaceutical or healthcare companies.

Applications, games and other fun things: Science-related smartphone apps and games, science board games, and science kits for kids all have at least a few scientists behind them. The founder and CEO of Genius Games, for example, is a former science teacher. Many of these companies also consult scientists on their product, which leads to the last category.

Pop culture creation consultant (usually part-time): Most filmmakers and screenwriters aren’t scientists, so many movies and TV shows that deal with science topics, such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Contagion,” have science advisors or consultants to help with accuracy and plausibility. This is also true for many things from pop culture, including the games and apps mentioned above. Genius Games, for example, consults dozens of scientists for each science game it creates. Most of these consultants are not consulting as a full-time job; they are mostly academics who consult as experts on the side.

Scientists who consult for pop culture have an important role because movies, television, games, and other media are how many people learn about and relate to scientific topics. An odd take here is the situation of Frederick Ordway consulting Stanley Kubrick for “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He may have done too good a job of helping Kubrick make the movie realistic. According to the book “Lab Coats in Hollywood” by David Kirby, the film “was so impressive and the visuals were so realistic that [moon landing] hoax proponents claimed that the film was the means by which NASA tested cinematic techniques to create the hoax films.

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