Government Jobs for Biomedical Scientist with Higher Degrees

>> Hi, I'm Lori Conlan.

I work at the NationalInstitutes of Health as part of the Office of IntramuralTraining and Education.

I run both the Postdoc office and the career servicescenter here at the NIH.

And I'm thrilled thatyou could join us today.

This video is goingto talk about jobs with the U.


Federal Governmentfor biomedical scientists.

Mostly for PhD's but also forMD's and DDS but definitely for scientists withhigher degrees.

First, we need to talkabout the different agencies that need scientists.

Throughout the federalgovernment biomedical scientists participate in a variety of waysboth at and away from the bench.

So let's talk aboutsome of the agencies that actually doneed scientists.

I think the first one I need totalk about is the one where I am at which is the NationalInstitutes of Health.

You will notice on this list that everything isactually in acronyms.

That is one thing aboutthe federal government; we like to shorteneverything up.

So the National Institutesof Health or the NIH is made up of 27 different institutesthat do biomedical scientists for either diseasesor organ systems.

We have 2 different types ofscientists that participate in the work here at the NIH.

The first is through theIntramural Research Program.

The Intramural ResearchProgram looks a lot like a traditional academicscience environment.

We have different types ofprincipal investigators, graduate students, postdocs,other types of students who all do either basic ortranslational research in order to move the science ofhuman health forward.

The other part of ourbudget or 85 to 90% of our budget is actually part of the ExtramuralResearch Program.

The Extramural Research Programfunds grants that are written by investigators ateither universities or institutions mostlyhere in the United States but also around the world.

So there is all kindsof scientists who have to evaluate thosegrants in order to understand how weare going to fund them.

What strategic decisions weneed to make about funding and how we want to think about moving scienceforward going in the future.

Another agency, one of oursister agencies is the Center for Disease Control or the CDC.

Located mostly inAtlanta, Georgia they deal with infectious agentsand also understanding how to promote humanhealth both here in the United Statesand around the world.

The Center for Disease Controlhas a lot of lab based research that happens around infectiousdisease agents as well as different policy,epidemiology and other types of jobs that are not benchpositions to make sure that the public knowsinformation about diseases, infectious agents andother types of items that will influencetheir health.

Both the NIH and the CDCbelong to our parent agency which is Health andHuman Services or HHS.

HHS is mostly known for thingssuch as Medicare, Medicaid and the affordable care act.

There is also a lot ofbiomedical scientists that participate at theHHS both in perhaps looking at the finances behind science.

Are we spending themoney appropriately as well perhaps thereis a new initiative in biomedical research andhow are we going to make sure that that informationis put out? The Food and Drug Administrationalso has a lot of jobs.

This is the regulatoryagency that deals with all food and drugs thatgo into the market place.

There is different types ofscience that belongs here.

The first non-bench jobs is whatthey're most known for which is if a pharmaceutical companyhas a new drug that they would like to put on the market,the FDA needs to approve that drug before it can be sold.

The second part thoughis they have a lot of bench-based scienceto do toxicology reports or other types of science tomake sure that the information that we are getting fromthe companies that would like to market drugs or food inthe United States match the data that they are giving us.

The USDA actually hasbiomedical science as well.

I think this is onethat most don't think about when they think about biomedical sciencesthey think more about crops and they think aboutlivestock, etcetera.

But the AgriculturalResearch Service or the ARS actually does sciencethat matches up very well with biomedical science.

For example, how do priondiseases in our livestock or our wildlife– what arethe basic science behind that? How does proteinfolding work, etcetera.

So the USDA also hasdifferent types of positions that are non-bench basedthat are more granting– very similar to thingssuch as the NIH grants.

The Environmental ProtectionAgency does a lot of regulation around environment andhuman health and most of those non-bench basedregulatory jobs are actually here in Washington, D.


Theirlaboratories are actually around the nation with theirheadquarters located mostly in North Carolina.

But they do have labsthroughout the country to do different types of waterquality sampling and sampling of environmentaltoxins, etcetera.

The Department of Energytypically focuses more on energy based research orphysical science based research but there is some biomedicalscience that happens at the DOE at that intersectionbetween biomedical science and physical science.

The DOE labs areacross the nation and they are mostlywell-known for things such as Argonne National Lab,Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Pacific Northwest and many more.

In fact many of you may knowas a biomedical scientist if you are a crystallographer that the synchrotronsare typically located at some of the national labs.

So there is biomedicalscientists that work within this more physicalscience environment.

As well as the DOEoffers different types of granting mechanisms that biomedical scientistscan participate in.

NOAA or Oceans and Atmosphereis not one that has a lot of biomedical scientists butI am sure that there is a lot of different types ofpositions that depending on your background perhapsmay fit your particular needs.

NASA as well has 2different divisions, both bench and non-bench jobs.

There is a lot ofbench jobs in NASA which is the NationalAeronautical and Space Administration to dealwith how do biological systems that go into space– how arethey influenced by that trip? So they have 2 different–both they do their own research as well as gives grants out to understand how biologicalsystems are affected by space.

The Department of Defense hasa lot of science that happens for biomedical both as corefacility based items as well as investigative research.

For investigative researchor basic based research, you can think aboutthe Army and USAMRIID.

They're mostly located inFort Detrick here in Maryland and they do a lot of anti-biologicalwarfare based research.

The DoD, Department of Defensehas a lot of different types of positions for scientists even if you want to becomean officer.

You can either be an officerof the military or a civilian.

Both types of positionsexist for scientists.

As well as they do a lotof non-bench based jobs in the Departmentof Defense as well.

One division, forexample, is the CDMRP or the Congressionally DirectedMedical Research Program.

This a granting agencyalong with DARPA which is the nextone on the list.

These are both grantingagencies that are housed within the Department of Defense that fund science throughoutthe country that deals with more militarybased information.

The FBI has science, bothforensic based science thinking about perhaps on DNA technology and DNA sequencingand things like that.

As well as they hirescientists to be agents that work within the FBI.

The FBI often hiresPhD based scientists because of the analytical waythat we've been taught to think and then the way we solveproblems matches what the FBI needs.

The National ScienceFoundation has jobs that are entirelynon-bench based.

The NSF is a grantingagency that gives money out for mostly basic sciencebut they also do a lot of education initiatives.

And so if you are ascientist who is interested in K-12 education andhow are we funding that, the NSF often providesthe money– for example, the SesameStreet is often funded by the National ScienceFoundation.

The Smithsonian has alot of science based jobs that are typically developedin outreach or in education.

So if that is something thatyou thought would be very interesting as, "How do wetell the public about science?" The Smithsonian may be a goodplace to think about positions.

The Public Health Service is afifth commissioned core similarly to the Army, theNavy, the Coast Guard, the Marines and the Air Force.

The Public Health Servicedeals entirely with science.

So it is mostly doctors,veterinarians, dentists but they also do have positionsfor PhD based scientists that will help duringnational emergencies.

So the congressional,the legislative and the executive branches allalso have biomedical scientists but typically inpolicy based jobs.

The congressional will be–you will be a staffer perhaps in a congressman orcongresswoman's office or sitting on a standingcommittee as a staffer.

The executive branch hasbiomedical scientists mostly in the State Department or PCASTor USAMRIID that are thinking about both Nationaland International ways that we are talking about anddealing with scientific issues.

Now these are all thingsthat we've talked about, different agenciesthat need jobs but what are the jobsactually called– both bench and non-bench jobs.

Let's first take apartthe types of jobs that exist that are non-bench.

There is typically about5 different types of jobs that actually happen:Administrative and Program Policy,Education, Regulatory and even Tech Transferthat happen in all these different agencieswithin the federal government.

So even though I may havetalked about different types of positions in theearlier slide, all of the differentagencies have all of these different componentsfor non-bench based jobs.

The first is administrativeand program: this is thinking perhaps howwe are spending our scientific dollars and so howare we making sure that the grants are beingfunded and that the grants that are coming in getprocessed and things like that.

These are often calledHealth Science Administrators which is a catch-allterm for most things that are grants officersor program officers that exist perhaps here at theNIH or the USDA or other types of agencies that do a lot of administrativeof federal dollars.

These is also GrantsManagement Specialist which is usually a positionthat is more lower level.

And most PhD's will not go into a Grants ManagementSpecialist type position but they are dealingwith the moving of money through the granting agencies.

A couple of other terms weoften use are: Program Analyst and Interdisciplinary Scientist.

Again, these are more catch-allterms that you will find in different types of agencies.

The FDA for example for most of their regulatory affairs typejobs are often using the words, "Interdisciplinary Scientists".

For some agencies, such as hereat the NIH, the program side of the house and thegrant review side of the house are separate.

So there are different peopleat the NIH who deal with program which is how are we fundingdifferent types of items? As well as there isthen another group of people who deal with review.

So how are we settingup peer-review panels? Making sure the appropriatepeople are in the panels, making sure that what theysay in the room gets recorded and then sent backto the program staff.

Both sides, the programand the review side, both of them havePhD's because you have to understand the sciencein order to make sure that the right peopleare in the room.

And other agencies suchas the NSF or CDMRP or perhaps even the USDA, thatjob– the peer review process and the program side of thehouse are combined into one job.

So you just need to doperhaps a little bit of informationalinterviewing for the agency that you are most interested in to understand how thegrant process actually works.

The next set of jobs areactually based on policy.

And policy has 2 differentways that we think about it: Science for policy andpolicy for science.

And so this is really how doesscience influence the policy that is out there or how does policy influence the science that we do? So the different types ofpolicy analysts could be the legislative analyst's–so these are people who perhaps even work here atthe NIH or the NSF or the CDC that liaise with folks whoare in the legislative branch to make sure that our congressunderstands the science behind the laws that they are passing.

Or on the other sidewhich is someone who is the legislative branchgoing back towards the different agencies that doscience to make sure that they are gettingthe information they need to make informed decisions.

There is also somepolicy based items that are strategic thinking sohow are we going to fund things? What are we going tofund in the future? What is biomedical science for the next 10 yearsgoing to look like? And what are we going todo in order to make policy that we can get there? These jobs are typicallycalled Policy Analysts in every single agency.

So if you are looking atUSAjobs.

Gov, you look for jobs that are called Policy Analyst.

A lot of the different agenciesactually do do some education, although education has recentlybeen refocused into making sure that this is at the NSF,NASA and the Smithsonian.

So a lot of the education, especially in the K-12range is now located at those particular agencieswithin the U.



But there is also differenttypes of training programs so anyone who has science on their campuses often hasPostdocs, graduate students, fellowships, etcetera.

So there is different types oftraining programs such as my job that exist throughoutthe federal agencies.

The regulatory units– things such as EPA and theFDA have review officers that review the documentsthat come in.

They have inspectors thatgo out and inspect plants or inspect fields or do a lotof field based inspections and a lot of timesthey call these guys "Interdisciplinary Scientists".

It's a catch-all termfor PhD level scientists within the regulatory agencies.

Then any of the agencies thatactually do basic science that want to think about, "Howdo we move this basic science into the market place?" also have more informationabout technology transfer.

So there is jobs in TechTransfer in the NIH, the CDC, the EPA, the DoD.

So if Tech Transfer soundsinteresting there is a lot of different opportunitiesthere as well.

Now for thinking about thedifferent types of jobs that are available inthe Federal government that are bench based or researchfocused there is 3 different types of areas thatwe typically think of.

The first is Discoverybased research.

These are things such asa Principal Investigator, a Staff Scientist, aPostdoc, a Biologist, etcetera would be part of.

Most of the agencies that hirediscovery based research are the National Institutesof Health, the Food and Drug Administration, theUSDA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, Center for DiseaseControl, the EPA and NASA.

All of these havediscovery based researchers that are typicallycalled biologists, chemists, physicists, etcetera.

The regulatory based agenciesas well have testing facilities, toxicology facilities,quality assurance and quality control facilities.

This is things such as the FDA,the USDA, the CDC and the EPA.

For example, say there is a newSalmonella outbreak in lettuce, the USDA will go offand do a lot of testing, microbiology analysisto understand how that actually is movingthrough the food supply.

The FDA will go and monitordifferent pharmaceutical companies to make sure that theyare living up to FDA standards and the data that the FDA isgetting is matching what is actually happeningwithin the facilities.

And then almost allthe different agencies that have science alsohave Service Science.

Think of a core facility such as a- perhaps a DNAsequencing lab, all the agencies above have some of these corefacilities including things such as the FBI or the Veteran'sAdministration which has a lot of labs that are focused aroundhospital based laboratories.

So there is all kinds ofdifferent jobs that happen for biomedical scientists andin the federal government, both bench and non-bench.

And I hope that you've reallylearned about the types of jobs that are out there and nowcan explore what best fits your needs.

Please join us atwww.



Gov for more career relatedresources for your career searches.

You can watch our other videoon "How to Find and Apply to U.


Government Jobs"that can also be found on our websitewww.




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