Once you complete your postdoctoral training, your options are seemingly endless: you can pursue an academic career through a faculty position, you can lead research efforts at a biotechnology company, or you can take on a number of other positions within a scientific organization. But it’s not easy to gain all the skills you might need—beyond the technical and scientific knowledge—to transition into these roles.
As part of a new partnership, Gladstone Institutes is providing comprehensive training to postdoctoral fellows at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to address this need and help shape the next generation of life science leaders.
For the next 3 years, Gladstone’s Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Education and Research Development Affairs team will increase the professional skills and guide the career development of Genentech’s postdocs to prepare them for their future roles in academia, industry, and science.
“We selected Gladstone because they have a unique approach that truly incorporates all the different skill sets required for a successful scientific career.”
“Our program builds on over 40 years of training early-career scientists, and we’re thrilled to be sharing our expertise with a leading biotechnology company based in the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Sudha Krishnamurthy, PhD, director of postdoctoral and graduate student education and research development at Gladstone. “Our goal is to equip postdocs with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their ongoing careers.”
The curriculum combines seminars, workshops, hands-on courses, panel discussions, and individual career counseling to support every stage of the postdocs’ career development journey.
“We were looking for the best training program in the country to complement the scientific experience we provide our postdocs,” says Vishva Dixit, MD, Genentech’s vice president of early discovery research. “We selected Gladstone because they have a unique approach that truly incorporates all the different skill sets required for a successful scientific career.”
As a basis for its robust training program, Gladstone developed the Postdoctoral Milestones Curriculum, which is centered on the systematic skill-building of general professional competencies, including negotiating and networking, and also covers competencies that specifically apply to scientific careers, such as mentor training, funding, and the business of science.
A large focus of the program created for Genentech is to develop postdocs’ leadership skills, which they will need as they take on enormous scientific and interpersonal responsibilities. This training will help them learn how to craft a project and team vision, set goals for themselves and others, skillfully and inclusively manage people, create a culture of respect and productivity, and have the difficult conversations that inevitably come up in working environments.
“Postdocs are the prime engines of scientific advancement, and they will go on to be leaders and managers with high degrees of visibility and responsibility,” says Krishnamurthy. “Our training framework supports them as they transition to leadership positions and parlay their skills and knowledge across the spectrum of workplaces and career paths in the life sciences.”
“Our ultimate objective is to help as many postdocs as possible find success in their chosen career so they can make their mark on science.”
The curriculum also develops the trainees’ scientific management skills, such as writing competitive grant proposals and strong manuscripts, and covers ethical issues and responsible conduct in scientific research.
Moreover, postdocs are invited to events designed to provide insights into different career paths in science so they can make informed decisions about their future. They can learn how to seek academic independence and faculty positions through the Trainee to Tenure Track program. And, they can gain the skills, network, and resources needed to successfully transition into an industry position through the Industry Research Series and Exploring Careers in Industry and Technology (ExCITe).
In addition, Genentech postdocs will receive individual career counseling from Gladstone’s experts.
“We will provide personalized support through consultations that cover career exploration, skill development, and professional development,” says Krishnamurthy. “Our ultimate objective is to help as many postdocs as possible find success in their chosen career so they can make their mark on science.”
Photo highlights from the 2023 PUMAS InternshipPostdoctoral and Graduate Student Education and Research Development Affairs Graduate Students and Postdocs