Industry Research

There are many pathways for scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields. Drug discovery and preclinical research jobs focus on initial screening and testing of potential therapeutic compounds. Clinical research positions involve human testing and draw on skills developed through research training such as experimental design, data analysis and report composition. Process development scientists work in protocol and manufacturing design and optimization. Speaker and networking events sponsored by the University of Chicago Biotech Association (UCBA), Postdoctoral Association (PDA) and Graduate Student Affairs offer excellent opportunities for exposure to organizations and professionals working in the field, while externships and internships will provide more in-depth contacts with specific companies.

  • Industry Research Careers Panel (Autumn 2014)
  • Clinical Research Careers for Basic Science PhDs (Winter 2015)
  • Drug Development: The Nexus of Research, Invention and Industry (Winter 2015)
  • From Bench to Bedside: Cancer Immunotherapy in Big Pharma (Winter 2015)
  • Industry Technical Roles: Supporting Scientific Products and Applications (Spring 2015)
  • Careers in Industry: A Conversation With Abbvie Professionals (Autumn 2015)
  • From Bench to Bedside: Cancer Immunotherapy in Big Pharma (Winter 2016)
  • Careers in Conservation and Sustainability (Spring 2016)
  • Careers in Food Science and Technology (Autumn 2016)
  • How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Career: Perspective From a Scientist in Industry (Autumn 2016)
  • AbbVie Newbies Panel and Networking Reception (Joint PDA Seminar) (Autumn 2016)
  • What Is Translational Science? (Winter 2017)
  • From Concept to Clinic: Mixing innovation and pragmatism to address unmet medical need (Spring 2017)
  • Disrupting the Status Quo: Creating the Impossible Burger (Autumn 2017)
  • Careers in Clinical Service Laboratories (Winter 2018)
  • Reverse Translation in Industry: Breast Cancer and Immunotherapy (Spring 2018)
  • The Path to Industry Through Clinical Services (Spring 2018)
  • Abbie Visit Day (Spring 2019)
  • Prototyping for Research and Beyond: An Introduction to the Polsky Fab Lab (Autumn 2019)
  • Green Science & Sustainability Series: Research & Development in Food Ag Industry (Autumn 2020)
  • Material Scientists in Industry (Autumn 2020)
  • Industry Postdoctoral Programs for Physical Scientists (Winter 2021)
  • Product Development in Industry Shepherding Products through the Life Cycle (Spring 2021)
  • Conducting Research in Chemical Companies (Autumn 2021)
  • Manufacturing & Specialty Materials: Industry Careers for Materials Scientists (Autumn 2021)
  • Conducting Research in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical (Autumn 2021)
  • Careers in Computational Biology (Winter 2022)
  • Careers in Quantum Engineering & Computing (Spring 2022)
  • Industry Careers in Food & Nutrition Science (Spring 2022)

Mini-Courses

Internships

Treks

Examples of institutions where you could work in this field:

Pharmaceutical Companies
Chemical Companies
Biotech Start-Ups

Examples of job titles that you might find at those institutions:

Senior Scientist, Field Application Scientist, Technical Support Specialist

Professional societies that are relevant to this career category:

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Biotechnology Innovation Association, Drug Information Association, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists

Follow Us

Alumni in Industry Research

Julian Boggiano

PhD Development, Regeneration & Stem Cell Biology 2011
Senior Scientist, Ventana Medical Systems

What did you do as a trainee to prepare for your current career?
As a trainee, I tried to focus on developing skills that would be applicable to an industrial research setting (e.g. PCR techniques, microscopy, protein purification, enzymology, recombinant DNA technology, etc.) and highlighted these in my CV.

What are the typical things your job entails each day?
My current job as an R&D scientist involves a blend of project management, benchwork and supervisory activities. Some days it can be very labwork-heavy, whereas other days I will spend most of the day at my desk writing reports or design specifications for new products.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is mentoring younger scientists and launching products that fill unmet medical needs. I try to keep the patient in mind in whatever I am working on and launch products that are of the highest quality.

Nikolai Suslov

PhD Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2012
Senior Scientist, Takeda

What did you do as a trainee to prepare for your current career?
First and foremost, I acquired technical expertise (antibody discovery) that is directly transferable to industrial research. More importantly, I learned how to approach and solve challenging problems.

What are the typical things your job entails each day?
Running experiments, analyzing data, making reports/presentations, attending project team meetings, reading papers / industrial news.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have heard several patient testimonials about their unmet medical needs (e.g. child with severe asthma, parent with early onset Alzheimer’s, etc). I am proud to play a part in an effort to transform lives of other humans in such a fundamental way.