Tools For Researchers: A Career Development Workshop

Presented by: and the Junior Faculty at the Karolinska Institute

Saturday 10th December 2005
Nobel Forum, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden


Tools for Researchers, a career development workshop, was organised by Science Careers and the Junior Faculty at the Karolinska Institute, and held at the Nobel Forum on Saturday 10th December to coincide with the proceedings of Nobel week. The event, aimed at PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, was attended by an internationally diverse audience of 100 delegates.

The morning skills workshops included an engaging insight into publishing the model journal article by Stephen Simpson, Senior Editor for Immunology, Science. He advised on how to fine tune your research paper for submission and contend with peer review. In the parallel session, Professor Ola Hermannson gave a humorous and informative guide to all aspects of the grant writing process from identifying a potential funding body to dealing with grant rejection.

Dave Jensen, Next Wave columnist and Managing Director of CareerTrax Inc – a US recruitment company for biotech, gave a motivational talk as an experienced head-hunter on how to make the break into Industry. Stephen James, who currently works at Biovitrum as the Director of R&D Biology, spoke of his personal journey into industry. He provided a pragmatic insight into the pro’s and cons of industry as a working environment.

In the following session, the focus was back firmly back on academia as Anna Valstedt, having recently completed her PhD successfully, provided useful tips and hints on how to keep a balance and get things done in the latter stages of your doctorate. Johan Sandberg (above, right), spoke of how to get your foot on the academic ladder with your first postdoctoral position and the prospects of going across the pond to the United States for a post.

The final session provided delegates with ideas for alternative careers away from research. Seema Sharma (left), Programme Director for Science Careers, opened the session by giving an overview of the diverse options available for PhD qualified scientists. She continued, to speak about her personal career transition from research into her present role.

An insight into the life of a management consultant was provided by Justain Bracken, consultant at Boston Consulting Group, London. He spoke of his transition from research in astrophysics to the city. Hanna Valenta, the founder of SensusOnline, a medical translation company spoke of the trials and tribulations of setting up and running her own enterprise.

Our thanks goes to all of the speakers who took time out of their busy schedules to take part. The feedback from the day shows that 99% of all of those who completed evaluation forms would recommend the event to colleagues and 97% would attend the event in the future. A sizeable percentage of the audience (89%) said they find the workshop very or quite useful for career information.

Common requests included having smaller workshops set up, focussing specifically on morning session topics of grant writing and publishing. We will take this into consideration at future events.

The workshop represents the second event of its kind in an ongoing collaboration with the Junior Faculty. A full report from last year’s event is available online. Further collaborations are planned for next year due to the popularity of the workshop.

Participants at the Tools for Researchers workshop (credit: Seema Sharma)

Workshop Programme

09:00 - Registration

09:30 - Skills Workshop/Concurrent Track Sessions

Session A1:
A Guide to Writing the Model Article
After the hours of painstaking research you are finally ready to write and submit your work for publication. Gain a unique insight from an expert at Science who makes the decisions, on what to do and what definitely not to do when submitting your paper for publication. What constitutes the ideal article layout? What are the common flaws in those papers rejected? Join us for the answers to these and other questions.

Stephen Simpson, Senior Editor, Science Magazine

Session B1:
Submitting a Successful Application
Take this unique opportunity to gain some first-hand advice from experienced grant writers about submitting a successful application. Bring along your questions or even your half-written grant application, for some immediate feedback.

Ola Hermannson, Professor of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute

10:30 - Refreshment break

11:00 - Skills Workshop/Concurrent Track Sessions (continued)

Session A2:
A Guide to Writing the Model Article

Repeat of 09:30 session, see description of session A1
Stephen Simpson, Senior Editor, Science Magazine

Session B2:
Submitting a Successful Application

Repeat of 09:30 session, see description of session B1
Ola Hermannson, Professor of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute

12:00 - Lunch

13:30 - Session C

Crossing the Academia-Industry Divide
What are the opportunities and benefits of working in industry? What is expected of you when working in a commercial environment? How can academics set up collaborations with industry researchers or start their own company? What skills do Industry look for? Our speakers provide an insight into making the move from academia into a commercial job setting.

Dave Jensen (left), Managing Director, CareerTrax Inc, and Next Wave columnist
Stephen James, Director of Biology, Biovitrum

14:30 - Session D

Forge Your Academic Career Path
How do you navigate the path to a successful research career in academia? Whether you need advice about getting through your doctorate, finding your first postdoctoral position or gaining a permanent lectureship, our panel members will be here to offer their expert advice.

Anna Vallstedt, Completing your PhD
Johan Sandberg, Finding Your Postdoctoral Position

15:15 - Refreshment break

15:45 - Session E

What is the Alternative?
Non-Academic Careers for Scientists
So, you've got your PhD but what if know don't want, or can't find a permanent post in academia. Many doctorate-qualified scientists make the move away from research in academia, either through choice or as a consequence of permanent posts being scarce. Invited experts from fields as diverse as finance and publishing will provide an insight into the plethora of alternative careers on offer.

Seema Sharma, European Programme Director, Science’s Next Wave
Justain Bracken, Consultant, Boston Consulting Group, London UK
Hanna Valenta, Owner, SensusOnline, Scientific Translation Company

17:00 - Workshop adjourns


For more details e-mail Seema Sharma.

Photos courtesy of Michael Brannäs, Karolinska Institute (unless otherwise noted).


Junior Faculty at the Karolinska Institute

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