Professional Development Courses & Workshops

Professional Development for Postdoctoral Fellows Professional Development Courses & Workshops
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Professional Development for Postdoctoral Fellows Professional Development Courses & Workshops

NYU School of Medicine embraces the National Postdoctoral Association’s core competencies, which are six areas in which postdocs can develop career and professional skills: scientific knowledge base and creativity, professionalism, responsible conduct of research, research skills development, management and leadership skills, and communication skills.

All of our professional development courses, workshops, and resources, including the keystone Individual Development Plan course, are aligned with these core competencies, allowing you to develop the skills you need for a successful and rewarding career.

Not all courses and workshops are offered each semester; see our current course offerings.

Individual Development Plan Course

The Individual Development Plan course is intended for second- or third-year doctoral students and for postdoctoral scholars with some time left in their appointment at NYU School of Medicine. Participants are guided to examine their own values and interests as they relate to their careers.

Trainees are introduced to four career tracks identified for PhDs in our Scientific Training Enhancement Program (NYU-STEP): for-profit industry, nonprofit industry and government, communications, and academia. They are asked to identify skill sets they would like to develop in the NYU-STEP program. See the course syllabus.

Core Competency No. 1: Scientific Knowledge Base and Creativity

By developing scientific and technical skills, including the ability to think through pressing research problems creatively, you become a more effective scientific professional. Our advisors and mentors work with you to hone these skills, and there are specialized courses, seminar series featuring leading scientists, and opportunities to learn from and network with peers. No prior experience is necessary to participate.

NYU Health Sciences Library

The NYU Health Sciences Library is a vital resource for researchers and gives NYU School of Medicine postdocs access to data-management courses and consultations. The library can guide scholars in best practices and new regulations in data sharing, a growing trend that has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Open Government Initiative, and leading peer-reviewed journals such as Science and Nature.

Good data-management practices enhance a researcher’s productivity, ability to secure grants, and overall credibility. As part of the postdoctoral program’s Scientists Training as Academic Researchers: Lab Management Series, the NYU Health Sciences Library offers an introductory data-management class covering current regulations, data documentation, file-naming conventions, security, and storage.

The library also offers online data-management resources that many postdocs find useful. To access these resources, postdocs can log in using their Kerberos ID.

Startup Bootcamps

Startup Bootcamps for Scientists and Engineers are half-day events to introduce NYU and NYU School of Medicine faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and researchers to the basic components of research commercialization through start-up ventures. If you have an invention or product idea, or simply want to learn more about how your work could become the basis for a start-up, join this group and explore what’s possible.

Biotechnology Industry, Structure, and Strategy Course

Biotechnology started as a science, one in which living cells were used as factories to produce protein through the manipulation of genes. Today, biotechnology refers to an industry, one in which top companies can surpass major pharmaceutical companies in market capitalization. Any firm engaged in research related to the life sciences may be considered a biotechnology company—including those that are small, visionary but practical, willing to risk it all using scientific means to develop a commercial product.

Although success in a development-stage company may include the same scientific, analytic, and managerial talents as those seen in “big pharma,” a developing organization must incorporate nontraditional systems to succeed. In this course, we examine the “biotech” business model, in particular how the industry is more than merely a smaller version of “big pharma.” See the course syllabus.

Fundamentals of Technology Commercialization Course

In this course we examine the transformation of scientific and technical knowledge into commercial products and services. Cross-disciplinary teams of students assess various technologies, with a focus on the commercialization process, including licensing and new venture development. Concepts explored range from decisions made by scientists at the research bench through the development, patenting, and licensing of new technologies to the formation of entrepreneurial enterprises.

The course is led by members of NYU School of Medicine’s Offices of Industrial Liaison and Therapeutics Alliances, and various guest speakers draw on case studies from NYU School of Medicine commercialization experiences in life sciences and devices. See the course syllabus.

Core Competency No. 2: Professionalism

After you are in the scientific workforce, handling emotions and interpersonal relationships can be challenging. Scientists often face failure and rejection, and the pressure to produce results and advances in your field can be intense. We hold frequent workshops to support postdocs’ professionalism in a range of settings.

The Business of Science for Scientists Workshop

This workshop focuses on best practices in business and how these can be applied to scientific research. See the course syllabus.

Developing High-Performing Teams Workshop

This workshop can help you and your postdoc colleagues maximize your professional effectiveness. See slides from part one and part two of this presentation.

Managing Emotions at Work Workshop

This personal leadership workshop focuses on how to recognize situations in which emotions may get the best of you, how to handle such situations effectively, and how to maintain emotional balance and professionalism in order to be a productive scientist.

Networking 101 Workshop with Bernadette So

This workshop features guest speaker Bernadette So, the Director for Graduate Student Career Development at NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development. She discusses the importance of developing networking skills for PhD candidates and postdocs in scientific fields, offering practical tips for making the most of networking opportunities. See slides from her presentation.

Put Your Science to Work Workshop

This workshop features guest speaker Peter Fiske, PhD, CEO of PAX Water Technologies, and author of Put Your Science to Work: The Take-charge Career Guide for Scientists.

Young scientists entering a competitive job market may find it confusing and frustrating. Yet as postdocs consider a wider range of career options inside and outside of science, they may feel ill-prepared and uninformed. Dr. Fiske offers practical advice for postdocs interested in transitioning from academia into industry, improving your competitive edge. See the booklet Dr. Fiske created for this seminar.

Core Competency No. 3: Responsible Conduct of Research

Conducting research responsibly is required of any good scientist, and we require postdocs to attend compliance training offered by NYU Langone. The training covers medical ethics, environmental health, chemical safety, radiation safety, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA), and animal use.

Scientific Integrity and Responsible Conduct in Research Course

In addition to attending compliance training, postdocs must take our Scientific Integrity and Responsible Conduct in Research course, which is offered once a year. The course aims to familiarize predoctoral trainees, including MD/PhD candidates, and postdoctoral fellows with the ethical issues confronting biomedical scientists.

The course addresses ethical considerations surrounding the use of human and animal subjects, scientific integrity in data management, analysis, authorship, and publication. Additional topics include peer review, scientific fraud, conflict of interest, mentoring, intellectual property, collaborations (including with industry), and the role of scientists in society.

The course includes readings, lectures, and films, combined with discussion. Each student is assigned to a discussion section and must attend all nine sessions. Trainees in certain programs are required to retake the course every four years. The course is designed to meet or exceed all National Institutes of Health requirements for instruction in the responsible conduct of research, as updated in NOT-OD-10-019 November 24, 2009. See the course syllabus.

Core Competency No. 4: Research Skills Development

We encourage our postdocs to meet regularly with their faculty advisors and mentors to find support in meeting the demands of completing postdoctoral research and navigating the job market. We also offer quarterly career-planning workshops to help you identify and build the skills you need to succeed as a scientist.

Translating Cancer Discovery into Clinical Practice Course

This course focuses on the importance of translational research in oncology, from both diagnostic and therapeutic standpoints. Emphasis is placed on collaboration across oncology disciplines and between basic scientists and clinicians. Participants review new therapeutic approaches to cancer and discuss how clinicians can formulate ideas through basic science research collaborations.

The first half of the course explores general principles of oncology (cancer biology, pathology, principles of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and drug discovery) and ends with a multiple-choice midterm exam. The second half focuses on specific cancers, using an interdisciplinary approach.

The course meets twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30PM to 7:00PM. See the course syllabus.

Drug Development Course

Bringing a new chemical entity, drug, or device to the consumer market is a necessary but complex, expensive, and time-consuming process. Our exploration of the many avenues of drug discovery and product development (industry versus. academic) focuses on satisfying requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

This course provides an overview of this multidisciplinary process and surveys the elements of drug and device discovery and development that are important for researchers. These include preclinical, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, stability, and toxicity trials; clinical trials, from phase I through phase IV (postmarketing surveillance).

Also, protocol planning, safety monitoring, and data and cost analysis involve various disciplines, including basic and clinical sciences, statistics, management, law, and marketing. Core tenets involve the integration of resources within the global economy and public health domain.

Lecturers are invited from the academic and private sectors. See the course syllabus.

Core Competency No. 5: Management and Leadership Skills

As postdoctoral fellows transition to careers in science, management and leadership skills are crucial to maintaining mutual respect among colleagues. We encourage you to take advantage of the following opportunities designed to develop these skills while you are at NYU School of Medicine.

Scientists Training as Academic Researchers

This short course introduces the academic career path, beginning with applying for jobs, after which negotiations, setting up and running a laboratory, obtaining funding, and dealing with people in your laboratory are addressed. Each of the six one-hour sessions covers one topic.

Participating in the class gives you priority access to related career development sessions held over the next year, including sessions on the Myers–Briggs personality inventory and conflict resolution. See course syllabus.

The Business of Science for Scientists: Preparing for Leadership Positions in Your Professional Career Course

Traditional graduate and postdoctoral programs often focus on training scientists to think analytically but neglect the business and social aspects of scientific work. Communications, performance management, and team building are critical to success outside academia. See the course syllabus.

Core Competency No. 6: Communication Skills

Expressing ideas and needs clearly can significantly improve productivity and ensure a peaceful workplace environment among colleagues, and communicating scientific results—and demonstrating their significance—is vital to being published and securing grants.

To help you develop your communication skills, we offer workshops in research writing, grant writing, teaching, publishing, and more throughout the academic year.

Grant Writing for Scientists Course

This course is designed to introduce every aspect of grant writing, from abstract to submission. It also covers selecting funding mechanisms, writing individual grant sections, and understanding administrative policies.

The course is taught primarily by experienced faculty members and representatives of the NYU School of Medicine Institutional Review Board. Outside speakers come from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. This full-semester class is offered twice a year. See the course syllabus.

Academic Writing Bootcamp

This three-part workshop covers the fundamentals of good writing and focuses on helping postdocs improve their ability to write compelling papers, grants, and abstracts. See the course syllabus.

Fundamentals of Teaching Course

This course is designed to help graduate students and postdocs become better educators and land full-time teaching positions. It uses both large-group lectures and small-group workshops to help you develop practical skills while you accumulate the knowledge needed to be a great educator. See the course syllabus.

Best Practices in Teaching and Learning Course

Teaching is both an art and a science. A teacher’s skillfulness can be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively through the assessment of student performance. Each teacher develops the craft of teaching in his or her own way, but certain techniques and strategies are instrumental to effective pedagogical practices. This three-day workshop discusses these best practices. See the workshop syllabus.

Confident Communicators of Science Course

Communicating effectively and delivering engaging presentations are essential skills for scientists working at the forefront of innovation, yet in today’s increasingly dynamic world, holding an audience’s attention requires more skill than ever.

Actors have been finding ways to engage audiences large and small in compelling stories, night after night, for 3,000 years. They do so by making the audience their sole focus.

This eight-day, arts-based instructional workshop, led by actor Susanna Baddiel, explores practical tools scientists can use to understand what an audience needs from them—whether it’s an audience of 1 or of 1,000—so that their message can be heard. See the course syllabus.

Science Diplomacy Course

This course introduces the main concepts of science and technology intersect with issues of international affairs and diplomacy. It gives students an understanding of the analytical and ethical skills required to apply science in diplomatic and international frameworks. Expert speakers use specific case studies to accomplish this. The course focuses on three themes: science policy for diplomacy, science diplomacy, and science for global development. See the course syllabus.

Medical Communication Course

The Medical Communication Course is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are curious about a nonacademic career. Participants have an opportunity to determine their interest in the field of medical communications as they take this course and, at the end, participate in a hands-on assignment. See the course syllabus.

Science Advocacy and Policy Course

Our ability as a society to support the scientific enterprise depends on a bright and dedicated group of science-trained individuals who can recommend policies to lawmakers, granting agencies, and other influential groups. Whether it is related to stem cell research or teaching science in public schools, sound policy requires thought and insight.

This course provides an opportunity to learn about science policy, why it is important, and what skills are needed to succeed in a policy career. It also provides practical experience in writing science policy. See the course syllabus.

Writing for Publication Course

This course develops scientific writing skills to support postdocs in publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals.

In this course, you learn strategies for effective scientific writing, including composing and editing the different sections of a scientific paper. You also demonstrate your understanding of the peer-review process from the perspectives of the researcher, the journal reviewer, and the journal editor and, by the end of the course, submit a research manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal. See the course syllabus.