11 January 2021
By Shane M Hanlon
As someone who transitioned out of academia (mostly), I get asked this question a lot: Where should I look for scicomm/policy jobs and fellowships? Well, I have some suggestions.
My most surprising (to the questioner) advice is to use generic job-search sites like Indeed and Monster. Folks posting science-related jobs use these sites just as any other profession does. The trick is getting the search terms. When I was job searching prior to my role with AGU I mostly used indeed. Among my search terms were: science, communication, policy, environmental, ecology, biology, STEM, education, outreach. When it came to position titles, that was all over the map and included descriptors like specialist, coordinator, manager, program/project manager, and more. I fine-tuned my search terms and eventually ended up with a process the returned mostly relevant results (using “environmental” got me lots of custodial positions). There are some really great online resources as well in scicomm/sciopol space:
- #SciCommJob & #SciPolJob on Twitter
- The SciComm Board
- Science Communication Jobs on Facebook
- Use LinkedIn to get personalized job opps
- Where to Find Science Communication Jobs
I led with jobs because the second question I get asked most frequently is, “Do I need to get a fellowship prior to a job if I’m coming straight out of academia?” The answer is no. While it is a common path to bridge the gap between academia and the non-academic sector, it by no means is required. Having said that…there are lots of options out there. I’ve been compiling a list here and there but I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel so here are some good aggregated lists/sites I’ve come across:
- THE LIST of U.S. Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
- FASEB Science/Health Policy Fellowship Board
- Where to Find Science Communication Internships (Note: “Internship” is not a bad word denoting inexperience. Positions are paid and a great opp to get experience in a new area/field).
- Transitioning out of Academia (an earlier version of this current post by me)
Finally, below is a list of fellowships that I hadn’t seen in the aggregate:
- Maryland Sea Grant State Science Policy Fellowships
- COMPASS Policy Engagement Fellow
- NAS Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship
- The Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowship
- The Science and Technology Policy Institute Science Policy Fellowship
- Research!America Science Policy Fellowship
- National Marine Fisheries Service – Sea Grant Joint Graduate Fellowship
- J. Philip Keillor Flood Resilience – Wisconsin Sea Grant Fellowship
- Hellman Science and Technology Policy Fellowship
- ARVO Science Communication Training Fellowship
To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list. I do hope that this is a helpful start for those of you who have never gone through this process before but are looking for a career in science communication/policy. And (and I mean this), if you every have any questions about transitioning out of academia, please feel free to contact me.
P.S. I wanted to add that I often talk to folks about the “transferable skillset”, i.e. the skills we gain as researchers that are taken for granted in academia but greatly valued in the broader workforce. I came across this article, Transferable skills for industry, that dives into this perfectly.