Policy, Legal & Regulatory Affairs
Develop/implement/enforce rules and regulations that govern how scientific information and technologies are generated, used, shared, and distributed
Example job titles
Executive director | Director of operations* | Manufacturing specialist | Patent/intellectual property agent/lawyer/attorney | Policy advisor/coordinator/officer/analyst/fellow | Policy/government relations | Public/government affairs officer/specialist | Technical specialist | Technology commercialization associate* | Technology licensing agent/specialist/associate* | Technology transfer agent/officer/specialist* | Regulatory/research affairs/compliance director/officer/associate | Quality control specialist
*These job titles appear in other career pathways
Additional keywords to find more information or job postings
Commercialization | Contract research organization (CRO) | Intellectual property (IP) | Quality control/assurance | Science policy | Science, technology & society (STS) | Technology transfer
Get up-to-speed & stay current
- Access resources in the "Read About Careers" section of myIDP, including curated articles, lists of professional societies, etc.
Look for the corresponding myIDP categories: Science policy | Intellectual property | Drug/device approval and production
- Attend cBCD events related to these fields
- Check out the MIT Science Policy Bootcamp course materials
- Interested in the field of Science, Technology & Society (STS)? Read more about STS. Consider joining the STSGrad Google group and subscribing to their announcements.
- Start to learn industry and regulatory terminology, acronyms, and documents
- Get additional advice on how you can prepare for this career from scientists who have recently transitioned into a role in this field, as well as from those who have made hiring decisions.
- For tips specific to government positions see the slides from the "Careers in Government for Biomedical Ph.D.s" event with representatives from the NIH, Dr. Patricia Labosky and Dr. Alison Hall
- Read articles in Issues in Science & Technology, a magazine published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that is a “forum for discussion of public policy” featuring various stakeholders, covering “science for policy” and “policy for science”.
Build your network
- Talk to faculty and staff on campus who participate actively in these fields. Contact the cBCD for recommendations of individuals with this expertise.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and use it strategically to expand your network.
Get training & experience
- Respond to public requests for comment on science policy issues (or even better: organize a group of students, postdocs, and faculty to do so). Check out the AIBS (American Institute of Biological Sciences) curated listing of notices from the Federal Register announcing requests for comment, public meetings, etc.
- Participate in a “Hill Visit” program – offered by the scientific societies that you or your research advisor is affiliated with – to speak to your elected representatives and their staff in local or Washington DC offices
- Check out the US FDA training resources offered by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)
Deeper training opportunities & experiences
- Take courses in intellectual property, commercialization of science, and economics of science
- Apply for a Virtual Student Foreign Service internship (U.S. citizenship required)
- Apply to be a satellite intern who contributes to web content for Student Pugwash USA, a non-profit organization that promotes social responsibility in science and technology.
- US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) internship program for current students (US citizenship required)
- Science policy fellowships (some of the best known programs are listed below, but there are many additional options)
- Commissioner's Fellowship in Regulatory Affairs at the FDA (US Food & Drug Administration)
- List of international opportunities for degree and certificate programs in regulatory affairs
Gearing up for a career transition?
- All transitions (even those that are positive, desired, and successful) involve some amount of stress. This article on "Understanding the Impact of Change" from the NIH OITE blog offers a practical approach for considering an upcoming transition and doing a brief self-assessment to navigate change effectively.
Have a suggestion? Know of a great local opportunity? Let us know.