Career Options Away from the Bench: Pharmaceutical Research
Scientists looking to diversify their skills can find career guidance from neuroscientists who are also educators, writers, and businessmen on SfN’s NeuroJobs Career Center, the site of eight personal testimonies, such as the video interview in which William Martin discusses his work experience in private sector pharmaceutical research.
Martin, a senior director at Theravance, Inc., said that private sector researchers he met as a young trainee at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting encouraged him to make the leap from academia to the private sector.
“I think the consideration to go to industry really started as an advanced postdoc,” Martin says in the interview. “It started with the nature of my work which was in trying to understand pain, the nature of pain and in part, one understands pain because you want to treat it, you want to improve it, you want to make sure that patients can live a pain-free life.”
It was this desire to create a treatment that took him to Merck Research Laboratories, where he led a team of scientists in discovery of novel analgesics, and then to his current position at pharmaceutical company Theravance, Inc.
Martin says his private sector career is a good match for him because he enjoys molding the ideas of a team into a tangible result for the public.
“Some days are very science and technical focused where I’m looking at the nuts and bolts of a project. Other days are focused maybe more on the business and strategic side where we might be considering how to best set out the clinical development strategy for a new analgesic, for example, and so that mix of science and business really suits me because it kind of keeps in the forefront of my mind, you know, there’s a patient on the other end of what we’re trying to do.”
There are many career options in STEM fields, and the NeuroJobs Career Center provides additional information about several of them, along with salary information, employment outlooks, and opportunities to specialize within the field. You can also join the mentoring program and view current job openings.
SfN members can start a conversation on this topic by signing in to the Careers Outside Academia community on NeurOnLine.