Developing Skills for Industry, Nonprofit & Government, Science Communications, or Academia

Scientific Training Enhancement Program Developing Skills for Industry, Nonprofit & Government, Science Communications, or Academia
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Scientific Training Enhancement Program Developing Skills for Industry, Nonprofit & Government, Science Communications, or Academia

In a series of semester-long courses as part of NYU School of Medicine’s and NYU’s Scientific Training Enhancement Program (NYU-STEP), graduate students and postdoctoral fellows develop skills specific to four career tracks: for-profit industry, nonprofit companies and government, science communications, and academia.

We also encourage you to gain practical experience as interns with science-writing firms, biotech companies, and technology transfer offices. You may also seek work as an adjunct college or university instructor. Your research mentor supports your career training by allowing you to miss lab time to pursue these opportunities, as internships or adjunct positions may last up to a few months.

For-Profit Industry

NYU-STEP offers several courses to help you prepare for a career in for-profit industry.

Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other for-profit companies often hire people with a biomedical PhD. In addition to positions in research and development, you may pursue a nonresearch corporate career in administration, project management, regulatory affairs, technical support, and science communications.

Through NYU School of Medicine’s industry partnerships with companies including IBM, Regeneron, and Functional Genetics, you learn about a company’s organization, structure, and hiring practices. Our program also teaches you about the nuances of company start-ups, scientific entrepreneurship, and intellectual property law.

Scientific consulting is another often-overlooked career path for biomedical trainees. NYU School of Medicine partners with large firms, such as Boston Strategic Partners, and boutique firms specializing in biomedical industries, such as Catenion. You can become familiar with their positions and how to apply.

The Business of Science Course

Jobs are available in many nonacademic settings, such as industry and nonprofit organizations, making it important to understand the skills necessary for employment in these sectors. Beyond the skills traditionally taught in graduate and postgraduate programs, such as analytical thinking, business and social skills, such as communications, performance management, and team building, are critical in jobs outside academia.

Our Business of Science certificate program introduces the key skills that organizations value in their employees.

Based on the SciPhD training program, this course focuses on 24 core competencies sought by industry. You learn how these competencies are related to what you have learned and done as an academic scientist and to demonstrate how science works together with business. The course is taught over five sessions, including three hours on one Monday evening and four eight-hour Sunday sessions. See the course syllabus.

Drug Development Course

Bringing a new chemical entity, drug, or device to consumers is expensive, complicated, and time consuming. Drug discovery and product development may be led by an industry or academic institution, and many aspects of development focus on meeting requirements mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

Led by faculty at NYU School of Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, this course covers the prerequisites to product approval that researchers need to understand, including preclinical, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, stability, and toxicity trials, as well as clinical trials (phases I through IV) and postmarketing surveillance.

You also learn about protocol planning, safety monitoring, data and cost analysis, and the drug development process. The course is taught by experts in basic and clinical sciences, statistics, management, law, and marketing. See the course syllabus.

Nonprofit Industry and Government

NYU-STEP offers courses to help you prepare for a research position at a nonprofit organization or in a government program.

Scientists play an important role in public safety and public policy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state agencies, and local governments employ people with biomedical PhDs. The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Technology Policy Fellowships, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Presidential Management Fellows Program, and other postgraduate opportunities are popular routes to enter governmental roles.

Graduates with biomedical PhDs are also hired as scientific review employees and program officers for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Nonprofit institutions also hire researchers. Principal investigator positions at nonprofits can be similar to those at universities but usually don’t offer tenure. Nonprofits increasingly require that employees in administrative positions who handle biomedical issues have PhDs. They also hire people with scientific backgrounds for advocacy and outreach.

Science Diplomacy Course

Scientists frequently help define U.S. policy on science and technology. They also work internationally to design policies related to global development and to establish scientific partnerships. These activities have been coined “science diplomacy.”

In this course, local, national, and international experts in science diplomacy give you a clear picture of the concept, including its sectors, participating agencies, challenges, and potential for action. You also learn about career options in the field and how you can act as a science diplomat. During the course, you design a science diplomacy project and devise implementation strategies. See the course syllabus.

Science Policy Course

Support for science policy requires trained individuals who can recommend policies to lawmakers, granting agencies, and other influential groups, as well as teach. The science policy course outlines the skills needed to succeed in this career path. Our instructors provide practical experience in writing science policy. See the course syllabus

Science Communications

Our NYU-STEP courses emphasize career opportunities for scientific communicators and help you hone your writing skills beyond technical language.

Scientists need to be effective communicators, and those who can articulate complex scientific ideas are highly sought. Scientists who can explain basic research to medical professionals and industry executives may be good candidates for a career in medical writing. Continuing medical education, in which scientists develop curricula for medical professionals, is another possible career path. Scientists are also employed as freelance science writers or in science journalism.

Medical Communication Course

Our medical communication course is intended for those who are curious about a nonacademic career path after graduate or postdoctoral work. This course helps you decide if that is where your interests lie, especially after participating in a medical communication assignment. See the course syllabus.

Academic Writing Course

Developed in partnership with applied linguist Janet Kayfetz, PhD, our academic writing course teaches you how to prepare research papers, conference proposals, conference posters, book chapters, technical reports, and dissertations.

Class discussion focuses on the role of rhetorical positioning in the development of a clear, interesting, and rigorous scientific research paper. We discuss the significance of narrowing the problem, the construction of logical arguments, the reporting and interpretation of data, reader-oriented writing, genre, precision, tone, and strategies for redrafting and editing.

You also refine your critical reading skills as you offer feedback to colleagues. You receive detailed feedback on your writing in class and in one-on-one consultation. During all editing activities, attention is given to the structure and logic of the author’s argument, the use of detail, transitions, word choice, and flow. See the course syllabus.

Confident Communicators of Science Course

Being an effective communicator and an engaging presenter is an essential skill for all scientists. Even though smartphones give most people access to the latest news, it’s still difficult for scientists to engage audiences.

In this course, we explore how to develop impactful stories in part by understanding the unique needs of an audience. See the course syllabus.


The professional and communication skills we confer through NYU-STEP are also relevant to a career as a tenured faculty researcher, though this is not a focal point of the program.

The number of tenure-track research jobs is much smaller than the number of recent graduates with biomedical PhDs. There are, however, several careers in academic settings that utilize the same skills. For example, we provide postdocs and graduate students with specialized teaching skills and experience that go beyond PhD training.

There are increasing opportunities within academia to pursue commercialization of intellectual property. Scientists can also fill positions in university administration, including postdoctoral or graduate program director and science outreach officer. 

Fundamentals of Teaching Course

Much graduate education focuses on conducting research, with little emphasis placed on teaching and pedagogy. Since you’re often expected to demonstrate good teaching skills and have a teaching portfolio for job applications and obtaining tenure, we offer a course in the fundamentals of teaching. It covers teaching scientific content, as well as designing and implementing courses in college- and postgraduate-level education.

Topics include cognitive hierarchies; adult learning; course, lesson, and syllabus design; teaching portfolio creation; lecture hall strategies; active learning strategies; and formative and summative assessment. You implement many of the theories taught and develop a course syllabus, a one-class lesson plan, and a 15-minute teachable unit. Afterward, you are encouraged to apply for available teaching positions at NYU School of Medicine. See the course syllabus.

Scientists Training as Academic Researchers Course

This course prepares you to interview for a principal investigator position at an academic institution and helps you hone the skills required to be an independent investigator. Taught in six sessions, this course is complemented by four optional, but recommended, practical sessions throughout the year. See the course syllabus.

Grant Writing Course

This course, open only to postdoctoral fellows, covers aspects of grant writing, including selecting funding mechanisms, writing grant sections, and understanding administrative policies. This is a hands-on course, and participants need to have identified a funding mechanism they would like to pursue during the course. See the course syllabus.

Fundamentals of Technology Commercialization Course

This course focuses on the transformation of scientific and technical knowledge into commercial products and services. Teams of students assess real technologies for commercial potential, with a focus on the commercialization process. Skills in licensing and new venture development are also taught.

The course begins by examining concepts associated with technology commercialization. Concepts include those that improve and accelerate the process, including decisions made by scientists at the research bench; the development, patenting, and licensing of new technologies; and the formation of entrepreneurial enterprises and the monetization of assets.

The course is led by members of our Offices of Industrial Liaison and Therapeutics Alliances. Guest speakers present case studies on commercialization in life sciences and devices at NYU School of Medicine. See the course syllabus.

Translating Cancer Discovery into Clinical Practice Course

This course updates you on the importance of translational research in oncology. It focuses on the growing collaboration between basic science research and clinical practice in diagnosing and treating people with cancer. The objective is to stress collaboration across oncology disciplines and to foster discussion between basic scientists and clinicians. The course also reviews emerging concepts and therapeutic approaches to cancer. See course syllabus.

The Challenges of Teaching Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering by Inquiry: Introductory Modules in Pedagogy, Assessment, and Communication

This series of modules connects you as a learner and a teacher. You explore issues central to science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) education by using pedagogical, cognitive, and curriculum tools, as well as the role of communication in that process. Themes include the nature of inquiry in STEM education; the evolution of critical scientific literacy and equity; the balance between learning by doing and learning as a discourse; the integration of theory and practice; researching practice; and leadership.

Program Seminar: Best Practices in Teaching and Learning

In this course, you consider the relationship between learning outcomes and assessment and how it influences instructional decisions, especially in curriculum development. We address the roles of instructional strategies, motivation, classroom management, curriculum, and technology in sustaining learner interest and cooperation.

The certificate granted upon completion provides the credential for you to teach in private or parochial secondary schools. See the course syllabus.