Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

Research in Academia or Government

Conduct scientific research or lead a research program in an academic or government setting

Example job titles

Assistant/associate Professor* | Biostatistician* | Epidemiologist* | Core facility director | Computational scientist* | Data analyst/scientist* | Education researcher* | Lab manager | Physician scientist* | Research/medical informaticist* | Staff/research scientist*

*These job titles appear in other career pathways

Additional keywords to find more information or job postings

Faculty in a research-intensive institution | Independent researcher | Principal investigator | R1 institution | Primarily-undergraduate institution (PUI) | Liberal arts college | Masters-granting institution | Higher education | Research institute

Get up-to-speed & stay current

Look for the corresponding myIDP categories: Principal investigator in a research-intensive institution | Combined research and teaching careers | Research staff in a research intensive institution

  • If you are not familiar with the US educational system check out this brief explanation (more details about teaching in the US can be found in the book "Teaching American Students: a guide for international faculty and teaching assistants in colleges and universities" in the library collection)
  • Read within your scientific field and broadly. Make connections between your research and other areas.
  • Get additional advice on how you can prepare for this career from scientists who have recently transitioned into a new role, as well as from those who have made hiring decisions or chaired search committees.
  • 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

Build your network

  • Attend scientific conferences and present your work. Target smaller conferences focused on your research field or future research field (if different). Watch for special sessions or sub-meetings for early career researchers like the Gordon Research Seminars.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and use it strategically to expand your network.

Get training & experience

  • Demonstrate a track record of funding success. Apply for a predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowship. Search grant databases for opportunities.  Postdocs should consider applying for K-awards (particularly the K99/R00).
  • Mentor a junior scientist, applying best practices in mentoring and leadership/management (view books in our library).
  • Some positions in this pathway require significant teaching. We list ideas on how to improve your teaching skills. Visit the Science Education and Outreach pathway page for more ideas.
  • Ask to be involved in the grant writing process for projects you are working on.
  • If you aim to become an independent investigator, start thinking about your future research program well before you start your job search. Discuss with your advisor what parts (if any) of your current research you can take with you.

Deeper training opportunities & experiences

  • If you aim to become an independent investigator, most positions will require postdoctoral experience. Postdoctoral positions can focus on research or a combination of research and teaching and are offered in academic settings, as well as in government and industry. 
  • Some universities offer fellow positions, which are independent or pseudo-independent positions intended to substitute for postdoctoral experience.

Gearing up for a career transition?

Have a suggestion? Know of a great local opportunity? Let us know.