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Cover Page Concept

‘Disha’ is a Hindi word which means

direction. We have chosen ‘Disha’ as the
title of the book as it is meant to provide
guidance to life science and biotechnology
students on choosing a career direction
and embarking upon it. The book guides
students in selecting the appropriate
course and institution, honing the requisite
skill-sets, as well as formulating and
implementing a strategy to achieve their
career goals.

DISHA : A Career Resource Book for Life

Science and Biotechnology Students

Feburary, 2020

Copyright © IndiaBioscience, Bangalore

Suman Govil & Smita Jain

Suman Govil

Shreya Ghosh, Chief Editor
Smita Jain, Associate Editor

Designer & Illustrator

Shweta Govil

IndiaBioscience, Bangalore
A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Suman Govil
Table of Contents

2.3. Creating and Maintaining

Preface..........................................................01 LinkedIn Profile........................................33
2.4. Preparing your Resume..........................37

2.5. Writing Cover Letters..............................41
2.6. Maintaining Authentic, Updated
Profile on Social Media..........................43
2.7. Obtaining Reference Letters.................43
2.8. Perfecting your Elevator Pitch.............44
2.9. Building Professional Network............45
2.10. Conducting Informational
Careers in Life Science 2.11. Preparing for Interviews......................50
and Biotechnology: 2.12. Negotiating Salary.................................59
An Introduction
1.1. Strategically Plan your Career..............06
1.2. Understand the Expectations
of Different Career Paths......................07
1.3. Make an Informed Career Choice.......10
1.4. Advice for Students.................................13
1.5. Advice for Parents...................................17
1.6. Advice for Teachers................................17
Career Options for
1.7. Resources for Students.........................18
1.8. How this Book will be Useful................18
Life Science and
1.9. Conclusion.................................................20 Biotechnology Students
3.1. Career Options..........................................64

3.2. Academic Careers ..................................65
3.2.1. Guidance for Pursuing PhD...............66
3.2.2. Guidance for Obtaining
Postdoctoral Training..........................75
3.2.3. Guidance for Taking up Faculty
Positions in Academic Institutions..82
3.3. Non-academic Careers..........................87
3.3.1. Guidance for Students Willing
Formulating and to Transition to Industry.....................88
Implementing Job Research & Development...............90
Search Strategy Product Management......................92 Quality Control and Quality
2.1. How to Make Well-informed Assurance Management.................93
Career Choice...........................................24 Human Resource (HR)
2.2. Job Search Strategy................................32 Management......................................96
05 Technical Sales and
Marketing Specialists......................97 Technical Writing...............................99 Consultancy, Business
Development & Equity Research..102
3.3.2. Bioentrepreneurship..........................104
3.3.3. Career in Intellectual
Property Rights..................................107 Indian Biotechnology Industry:
3.3.4. Technology Transfer..........................110 Status, Opportunities,
3.3.5. Regulatory Management..................112 and Challenges
3.3.6. Science Communication
& Public Outreach...............................115 5.1. Status of the Indian
3.3.7. Science Management & Biotechnology Industry........................156
Administration.....................................117 5.2. Major Growth Drivers in
3.3.8. Science Public Policy Biotechnology Sectors.........................159
Advisor/Advocate...............................120 5.2.1. Biopharmaceuticals/Healthcare...161
3.3.9. Specialised Services..........................122 5.2.2. Bioagriculture......................................165 Core Facility Management...........122 5.2.3. Bioservices...........................................168 Career in Bioinformatics...............124 5.2.4. Bioindustry...........................................171 Career in Big Data Science...........126 5.3. The Way Forward for the Clinical Trials Management.........128 Indian Biotechnology Industry...........172
3.4. Conclusion...............................................131

04 06
Learn from Leaders
Selecting an Appropriate
Course and Institute 6.1. Interviews................................................178
6.1.1. K VijayRaghavan.................................178
4.1. Selecting a College or a University...138 6.1.2. Renu Swarup.......................................180
4.2. Undergraduate Courses.......................142 6.1.3. Shahid Jameel....................................182
4.3. Postgraduate Courses.........................144 6.1.4. LS Shashidhara...................................184
4.4. Opportunities for Pursuing 6.1.5. Sudha Narayana Rao........................185
Biotechnology Courses in India........146 6.1.6. Hemalatha Reddy...............................186
4.5. Bridging Skill Gaps
in Biotechnology....................................148
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

I am extremely happy that IndiaBioscience has taken this
initiative to bring out a comprehensive book titled “DISHA:
A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology
Students”. This book is expected to be a one-stop resource for
life science and biotechnology students in India.

I am aware of many a student’s dilemma when they find

themselves at a crossroads in their career, often due to lack
of awareness or proper guidance. It is important to exercise
Satyajit Mayor an informed choice about the course one wishes to pursue
Centre Director, NCBS-TIFR, and find an appropriate college/university/institution.
Bangalore Choosing a subject which interests one and not succumbing
to peer pressure is sound advice. While specializing at the
undergraduate/postgraduate level may narrow down one’s
options, specialization at a later stage, for example at the PhD
or postdoc level, can be an appropriate course of action for
an academic career. But as we look at a changing world, there
are many exciting options available if we do not restrict ourself
to teaching or research and these career paths are equally
exciting, challenging and rewarding. For example, opportunities
are available in science policy, science administration and
management, technology transfer, intellectual property rights
management, science communication and outreach, technical
writing, industrial research and development, quality assurance/
control, marketing, technical sales and many other fields.

A sound PhD and postdoctoral experience has an immense

capacity for empowering an individual in a number of ways. In
addition to technical skills, this experience trains one in thinking
critically and rationally, multi-tasking, systematically solving
problems, navigating professional relationships, working in teams,
exercising leadership, managing time, resources and events,
compiling and analyzing data, resolving conflicts, communicating
effectively, etc. It also allows one to identify one’s strengths,
including both inborn talents and acquired skills. It also helps an
individual to identify areas in which improvement is necessary to
match the requirements of the many career options available today.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

To identify an exciting career opportunity, one may consult reliable sources of

information like Science Careers, Nature Jobs, NIH website, IndiaBioscience, Cheeky
Scientist Association, etc., although many of these are not India-centric. It is always
valuable to gain first-hand information through activities like internships, volunteering,
networking, informational interviews with experts in relevant fields, etc. Increasing
one’s social media presence on LinkedIn and other platforms also brings additional
opportunities for interaction. It is also important to master skills like preparing a resume
which can convince an employer that one is the best candidate for a job.

IndiaBioscience has been conducting interactive workshops called “Crafting your Career”
in different parts of the country and has also initiated a podcast series on the same topic
on their channel “IndiaBiospeaks” to help students navigate their careers in science.
It is out of this engagement that when Suman Govil, ex Sr. Advisor to DBT, came to us
with the idea of an up-to-date current resource book about how to access these
materials in an efficient manner, we were extremely excited to engage with her on this
important contribution.

Suman Govil has extraordinary experience in this area, having worked at the Department
of Biotechnology since its inception as the National Biotechnology Board in 1982. Over
the past 30 years, she has been responsible for curricular planning and enhancements,
and for starting the Star College scheme for strengthening undergraduate science
education. She was also responsible for numerous fellowships for doctoral and post-
doctoral research, policy and strategy formulation, and extramural research funding at
DBT. Along with Shweta, a visual designer who mainly focuses on editorial and graphic
design for print, illustration, packaging and brand identity, Suman has put together a
very important contribution. I wish to compliment my colleague Smita Jain, Executive
Director, IndiaBioscience who initially encouraged Suman to go ahead with this valuable
project, and who has been a continuous source of input and oversight at every step of the
way. Suman has used her vast experience in penning down this book and Shreya Ghosh,
Program Manager, Science Communication, IndiaBioscience, has ably edited the book. I
sincerely hope that this book would be very useful to many. Do give us your feedback to
help us improve future editions. And here’s wishing all of you a better-informed career.

Satyajit Mayor
Centre Director, NCBS-TIFR, Bangalore

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Careers in Life Science

and Biotechnology:
An Introduction
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

06 18
1.1. Strategically Plan 1.8. How this Book
your Career will be Useful

07 20
1.2. Understand the 1.9. Conclusion
Expectations of
Different Career Paths

1.3. Make an Informed
Career Choice

1.4. Advice for Students

1.5. Advice for Parents

1.6. Advice for Teachers

1.7. Resources for

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Careers in Life
Science and
An Introduction
Your career is the sum total of all the decisions that direct your
educational, social, and economic endeavours. It reflects your
personality, unique characteristics, and basic life values. Often,
the term “career” is used as a synonym for occupation, trade,
profession or vocation and refers to what a person does to earn
a living. Different people use different criteria to measure career
success. While for some, financial/material accumulation is
important, others look for recognition, and yet others strive
to make a contribution to society and help others. Successful
career development requires self-assessment, decision-making,
occupational awareness, systematic exploration, and guided

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

This book is meant to provide guidance to information on career development.

life science and biotechnology students
on choosing a career path and following Although there are diverse job roles
it successfully. We will discuss strategies currently available for students or
for assessing interests, skills, values etc. researchers with a background in life
and using this understanding to decide on science or biotechnology, many students
a career direction and a course of study. lack complete information on these roles.
We will also talk about the expectations Students today have many career options
and requirements of various career paths, that they can choose from, including bench
as well as different ways of preparing research, product development, marketing.
yourself for the job application process. policymaking, regulatory affairs, strategic
Globally, there have been concerted efforts planning, technical writing, science
in this direction and career support groups/ communication, and more. We hope
associations have been formed to provide that this book will help you evaluate your
relevant information to students. However, own strengths and weaknesses, choose
in India, such efforts are scanty and only a career path based on your interest,
scattered information is available. In this and systematically work on building a
book, we have made systematic efforts to successful career.
bridge this gap and compile India-centric

1.1. can also take up internships or voluntary

assignments to get an “insider view”. Look

Strategically at all the possibilities carefully and talk to

people from many different career paths

Plan your to get first-hand information and a wider


Career Begin with what excites you today. Your

priorities could change tomorrow and you
may change the direction of your path to
In order to build a successful career, you
what excites you then. But it is important to
have to be proactive and spend adequate
begin with something you enjoy right now.
time in planning as well as in strategically
If you feel stuck in a place which isn’t right
implementing this plan. You should begin
for you, try and look for other opportunities
with some introspection and awareness
that suit you better because you will never
of what are the things that you enjoy doing
be able to give your 100% in a job which
the most, dislike doing, or are interested
you don’t like.
in doing in the future. Interact with your
community, learn about upcoming areas Different people have different interests,
and challenges, and test the market to values, goals, beliefs and experiences that
get a feel of where you are headed. You guide their lives towards the paths they

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Evaluate your interest Network Consult authentic resources Make informed

career choice

Showcase yourself Value Add : internships, projects, List top 3 career paths
voluntary work, event management

follow. You cannot say that some of these the life science landscape in India has been
paths are right or others are wrong - they felt very strongly in recent times. Our aim
are just different. What works for one in this book is to share knowledge, tools,
person may not work for another. Each and techniques that will empower students
individual needs to figure out which path to navigate and craft their career paths.
will work best for them and make them This knowledge can also help students
happy. Don’t be afraid to deviate and find select appropriate courses and institutes
your own way. At the same time, keep in for pursuing higher education. We hope
mind that you have to strike a balance that this book will also guide students
between finding work that you love and in charting a career in the life sciences
work that will pay your bills. domain by matching their interests, skills,
and training with the requirements of
The need for credible, authentic employers.
information about career opportunities in

1.2. supervision where you don’t have to worry

about funding, timelines, etc. Once you

Understand the decide to take up a job, you will need to

understand that different career paths will

Expectations have different expectations and require-

ments. As an example, if you choose to be
of Different an academic researcher, you may end up

Career Paths
working on the same research problem for
decades as you delve deeper and deeper
into understanding a fundamental bio-
If you are a student, you are used to an logical process or principle. On the other
academic environment with adequate hand, if you choose to work in Research

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Academic Careers Intellectual Property


Faculty in Colleges, Universities,

and Autonomous Research
Institutes Technology Transfer

Scientist in Research
Regulatory Management

Non-academic Careers
Science Communication
& Public Outreach
Jobs in Industry

Science Management &

Research & Development Administration

Product Management
Science Public Policy
Quality Control and Quality
Assurance Management

Human Resource (HR) Specialized Services


Technical Sales Core Facility Management

and Marketing

Technical Writing

Consultancy, Business Career in Big Data Science

Development & Equity

Clinical Trials Management


Career Options

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

and Development (R&D) in an industry, you product management, marketing, business

will have to let go of projects once certain development and analysis, on the other
conditions change, for example if the hand, will give preference to candidates
project advances from research to clinical with experience in management, business
development, if it does not yield desired administration, and commercial acumen.
results, if the company’s focus changes, Business development may be a good
or if your expertise is required in another option for someone with a degree in
project. You will, therefore, have to be more science and interest or training in business.
flexible and adaptable in the latter case. Most companies value people with a
Likewise, expectations and requirements scientific background as customers like to
for intellectual property or regulation or sci- interact with someone who understands
ence communication will be very different. science and scientific language.
An in-depth analysis of your strengths and
weaknesses and an understanding of the Technical support roles are customer-
expectations and requirements of different oriented, meant to provide support
career paths will help you acquire or hone to customers and resolve their
the skills necessary for following the career complaints. Life sciences reagents
path of your choice. and product companies employ a
wide range of qualified researchers in
Please do not hesitate to choose a career product development, testing, product
other than academia, if your interests lie management, business development,
in that direction. Such careers can also be technical support and marketing. There
very challenging, innovative and financially are also roles in regulatory affairs,
rewarding. To be successful in an industry strategic planning, technical writing,
environment, you have to demonstrate the science communication, research
ability to lead teams, to work as a team administration, etc.
member, to be a great communicator,
and to trust others. You will need to be You are not expected to be an expert in
proactive, network and find mentors. You every pathway. Instead, you should aim for
will also have to grow your expertise in excellence in your field of science and be
different directions and keep your eyes and aware of market trends. As you go up the
ears open. ladder, you will have to acquire strategic
and leadership skills. You will have to carve
Laboratory-based research roles focus on out your own path to make sure you end
product development and quality testing up where you want to be. Therefore, don’t
and give preference to candidates with hesitate to diversify to a new area if you
experience in laboratory techniques. find yourself stuck or at a standstill.
Commercial roles in product development,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

1.3. decisions at the level of higher education.

At times, it may so happen that you don’t

Make an get admission in the subject of your choice

in top-ranking institutes and make it to

Informed middle-ranking institutes in the subject of

your choice. You should carefully evaluate

Career Choice the pros and cons of both options before

arriving at a final decision. In India, the
trend of sending children abroad for
higher studies has also picked up due
Students often find themselves perplexed
to affluence among parents. Of course,
about choosing the right career path
opportunities for learning may be better
and don’t know how to proceed. As a
in good academic institutions abroad due
young student, you may not have enough
to flexibility in subject combinations, a
experience, expertise, and information
culture of research-backed educational
about upcoming careers or clarity about
institutions, higher rates of innovation, etc.
your own interests. In today’s digital
Perhaps difficulties in securing admission
world, students are flooded with online
in good public sector institutions due
information but may not have the maturity
to unrealistic cut-off percentages for
to decide whether this information is
admission as well as rigidity in choosing
correct, complete, and relevant.
subjects from different streams in India
Career counsellors can play an important also encourage people to go abroad for
role here as they can evaluate whether you higher studies. In either case, if you are
are unsure about career choices, whether planning to join an overseas institution for
you are aware of career options and job higher studies, you should carry out proper
trends, or if there is any undue parental research about the quality of education
pressure and disconnect from parents. being imparted there before taking
Their assessment is based on scientific admission.
tools such as psychometric tests, interest-
It is important to understand market trends
based tests and personality assessments.
given that many of the top career choices
They can also provide accurate information
today did not exist a decade ago and
about career paths, skills, and training.
what is valid today may not be valid after
Career counsellors can help students
a decade. For example, with automation
refine their options by conducting proper
picking up, labour oriented jobs are likely to
research in shortlisted career choices.
be weaned out. There will be huge scope
You should also carefully evaluate the
for artificial intelligence, nanotechnology,
reputation and previous achievements of
development of mobile apps, big data
the career counsellor in helping students
management, 3D printing, etc.
make career decisions before approaching
them for an assessment. This is precisely the reason that we
decided to bring out this book. The aim
You will also need to make informed

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

of this career resource book is to provide ( to assess

guidance for students navigating through your interests, skills, values, and potential
the career exploration process. We career matches. myIDP (individual
encourage all students to go through the development plan) is a free, web-based
process of examining what they love about career-planning tool to help graduate
the careers they chose to pursue, including students and postdocs in life sciences to
those on the academic track or industry. define and pursue their career goals.
This process may simply reconfirm that a It helps you introspect, examine your skills,
faculty career or industry job is absolutely interests and values, explore different
right for you, or it may open up completely career paths which may be suitable for
different avenues that you had not been you, set realistic goals, and prepare a
previously aware of. However, if your career working plan.
choices and priorities change in the future,
or if your job preferences shift, early career It is very important to make informed
exploration will ensure that you’ll be ready career choices. Begin by shortlisting
to handle your altered professional identity possible career paths which might be
with resilience. suitable for you. Think of these options as
Plan A, Plan A’ etc. instead of delineating
Please don’t begin your job search with them as backup plans (Plan B, Plan C etc.).
preconceived notions about job roles You may ultimately decide to pursue one of
and titles. Use keywords of interest to them, but thinking about paths in this way
research and identify job titles which may will ensure that you always have options
be of interest and see if parallel roles with and choices and that you do not feel stuck
different titles exist in different settings. or like a failure if one option does not
If you are not sure what keywords to start work out.
with, please consider these questions:
The decision on choosing a career path
should be made based on awareness,
What parts of your training self-assessment, exploration, and
and research, did you enjoy implementation with sincere commitment.
the most? If you are not sure about where to start
learning about different career sectors,
Which of these, you would types and roles, check out what alumni
like to spend your time on? from your department or institute have
moved on to do and conduct a few
What skills (including informational interviews. Listen to
transferable skills) do you career-related podcasts (for example,
enjoy using? IndiaBiospeaks - https://indiabiospeaks., HelloPhD - https:// hellophd.
You can also take the help of online com) and talk to science professionals in
tools like myIDP (https://myidp. different careers to know about what they or ImaginePhD do in their role, field, company, etc. Be on

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

the lookout for career panels, professional Biocareers ( which

development events, career counselling is a career hub for postgraduate life
symposia, professional networking scientists and organizes a number of free
events etc. to learn more about all the webinars.
career possibilities. You can also look at

1.3.1. students but for all students, as different

jobs require different skills and different

Skill Analysis students have their own strengths. You

must understand that for career success,
academic brilliance alone is not enough.
Once you have narrowed down a few You need to project your strengths in
careers of interest, it is important to do a such a way that you appear to be the
skill profile analysis to understand your most suitable candidate for the job to
suitability for that field. Collect a set of the prospective employer. You should
representative job ads (3-5 per field may systematically work on your weaknesses
be good to begin with) and group similar to overcome them and convert them into
jobs in a pile. Pick one career field at a time your strengths. You will need to cultivate
and look for patterns in the data in the job social skills, communication skills, stress
ads in that pile. This will give you an idea management skills, and troubleshooting to
about common skill requirements. The next enhance your employability. Having better
step is a skill gap analysis. Pick one career insights about career opportunities will
path of interest and identify common skills, also help you in making good decisions
keywords, experience requirements in job and reducing time in undesirable job roles.
advertisements in that career field, and
then analyse how you measure up. This
will also help you identify areas where you
need more practice. Take the time to reflect
on areas where you’d like to grow more and
make a plan of action to build skills.

There is a plethora of opportunities

available not only for academically bright

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Prepare a resume that is tailored to It may so happen that somewhere along

showcase your skills and experience. the way you realize that you aren’t as
Before applying for jobs, you should also interested in a particular career as you had
consider factors like location, financial initially thought and that you are a better
remuneration, career growth etc. and draw fit for another position. This is perfectly
a list of potential employers. Next, research all right and early career exploration will
such potential employers to find out help you identify and prepare for a career
more about their activities, achievements, personalized for you. We are sure that an
existing team etc. Use this information to exciting career awaits you! Go, grab the
decide whether you want to work for these opportunity and the sky will be the limit.
employers, and if yes, how you can bring
value to their teams.

Advice for
Our beloved Hon’ble Late
President Abdul Kalam
rightly said,

“Without your
involvement, you
cannot succeed, with
your involvement,
you can’t fail.”

Plan your job search strategy and try to away from them. Plan your daily time by
achieve targets and milestones according making a “to-do list” which will also help
to a set time schedule. Periodically in reducing stress and lead to effective
evaluate your plan and take corrective functioning. Master time management
measures if required. Always remember skills by prioritising your work.
that it is hard to get what you don’t Don’t lose faith in yourself and face
even ask for. Don’t be disheartened by situations boldly, confidently and with
problems that you encounter and don’t run patience.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Identify Make a plan,
your Goals get to work,
stick to your plan
You must have a clear idea of who you
want to be and clarity on what you know,
and no one can
as well as what you need to learn and stop you from
improve. Once you pen down your dream,
it will become your goal. Your goal must be
achieving your goal.
specific, measurable, relevant and realistic
so that it can be attained in a specific time

your Strengths


You must identify your strengths and build way to build your strengths is introspecting
your success on your strengths. Work or reflecting on your experiences and
systematically on your weaknesses and learning from your past mistakes.
convert them into strengths. Have faith in Remember that every person’s situation is
your own abilities and believe in yourself. different and hence everyone’s strengths
and needs are also different. Learn to say
At the same time, keep empowering no to peer pressure and make your own
yourself with knowledge and try to apply choices on the basis of your strengths.
this knowledge wherever possible. A good

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

1.4.3. You must realise that your career path

Understand is about you. You are not the only one

your Skills
facing a difficult choice. Many others have
successfully made similar decisions before

and Value
you and you can soon join them. Choose
wisely and have faith in yourself.

Often students don’t know their own worth You should gain experience in new areas
or value as a science student, for e.g. their by volunteering for seminars/symposia/
ability to plan experiments, think critically, journal clubs, taking up internships or
solve problems, analyse data, manage fellowships, obtaining additional training in
teams and funds, etc. As a result, they don’t specialized topics like intellectual property
project their own capability while applying rights, technology transfer, management,
for jobs. They are often disillusioned after etc. You should take stock of the skills you
a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to may already have and use them to shortlist
obtain a job and end up thinking that no career options that are of interest to you.
one would hire them. This then gives rise to Try to match your skills with skills needed
myths like “Organisations only want to hire by employers and make efforts to hone
people with experience and don’t hire fresh or nurture skills in which you find yourself
postgraduates or PhDs.” They become lacking. When you face an interview panel
highly critical of themselves and start living or have to negotiate salary, be confident
in a cocoon and isolating themselves from in your abilities, and present your case
others. strongly.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

1.4.4. search strategy. You need to divide your

time between looking for jobs, preparing

Gain resumes, submitting applications, and

networking with professionals in the field.

Experience You should also understand the

importance of interdisciplinarity in today’s
If you gain experience in your chosen scientific landscape. Try to interact with
career path through relevant training or peers and experts from related fields and
internships or projects, it will demonstrate take up internships/projects or additional
your sincerity and genuine interest to courses to equip yourself with skills and
potential employers. For planning the enhance your employability. For example,
next stage of your career, you should not experience with writing for your college
wait for your studies and/or current stage magazine, being on the editorial team
to get over. In fact, you should devote a of your institute newsletter, assisting
fraction of your efforts to your personal your supervisor in conducting laboratory
and professional development and should practicals etc. can come in handy if you
be open to gaining new experience(s) decide to follow a career in teaching or
throughout your professional career. science communication/outreach. You
can consider working in the technology
You must understand that just having a
transfer office of your university to get first-
degree and posting your resume on an
hand experience in technology transfer,
online website would not get you interview
or helping your supervisor in writing and
calls or a job. You need to be proactive,
defending projects to learn the tricks of the
creative, and follow a well-planned job
trade for obtaining funding for projects.

1.4.5. support groups with volunteers and

experts who are willing to help their

Build Networks peers and juniors. This community of

talented professionals would serve as
a support system, provide easy access
Networking will help you learn about to information through informational
jobs which are not publicly advertised interviews, help in placements for an
(in fact more than 80% of the jobs are internship etc. Your peers and seniors will
filled without advertising), the culture of also be your champions, advocates, and
different companies/organisations, and anchors. They will give you psychological
skill requirements for different job roles. support in addition to technical support.
It can also generate referrals and help you Members of such career support groups
in making a career choice or landing your should have freedom of expression and
dream job. encourage each other. This can serve
as a platform for posting jobs, sharing
Students should proactively form career expertise, and learning. It can be a

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

place where professionals, who have and type of company, possible openings,
gone through the job search process expertise required, etc. Similarly, students
and are settled in their careers now, can can also collectively gather information
selflessly give back to the community. about various courses offered by different
Through such a group, students can also colleges/universities, eligibility criteria,
collectively create and update a directory important dates for applications and
of companies in different sectors, collating admissions, placement of past graduates
information on their research focus, size etc. in the form of a ready reckoner.

for Parents
Many students face tremendous parental/ should help in identifying interests,
family pressure to be in a career of their aptitude and personality of the child,
parent’s choice. Parents must understand assessing their comfort level in different
that kids should be allowed to do what subjects and activities, and if need be,
they like to do and what they are good at, taking the help of expert career counsellors
in order to be successful in any career. or scientific brain-mapping techniques.
At times, parents may not be aware of Schools, colleges and universities should
emerging career options as they are often arrange career counselling workshops
engrossed in their own careers. for students to inform them about the
courses offered, range of career options
One sincere request to parents is “Please in different subjects etc. to help students
don’t pressurize your children to follow a make informed decisions about which path
profession/business of your choice.” Let to take.
your kid follow his/her dreams. Parents

1.6. core scientific concepts, lay emphasis

on practical training, and encourage

Advice their students to apply their scientific

knowledge. They should motivate students

for Teachers to think critically, ask insightful questions,

find answers independently, and analyse
relevant information/data. They should
Teachers play a vital role in shaping the also encourage students to take up hands-
minds and careers of young students. on training, internships, projects etc. to
Teachers should introduce students to expand their skillset.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Teachers should also encourage students strengths and weaknesses so that they
to form journal clubs, career support can try to improve. Another way in which
groups, alumni associations etc. They teachers can help in their students’ career
should try to create awareness among development is to organise placement
students about different career options fairs and arrange lectures by experts from
available and help them assess their different fields.

1.7. Association for Science, Nature Jobs,

Science Careers etc. However, guidance

Resources material relevant to Indian scenario

is scattered and not easily available.

for Students IndiaBioscience has taken a lead in this

area and has been conducting a series
of “Crafting your Career (CYC)” seminars
Having a successful and rewarding career and workshops in different parts of the
requires conscious, in-depth planning, country. IndianBioscience, as part of their
and it is difficult to make rational career podcast series “IndiaBiospeaks”, has done
decisions without accurate information a series focusing on science careers.
about available career options. Many IndiaBioscience has also brought out an
career-related resources in the American e-resource booklet which deals with career
context have been brought out by the options for life science and biotechnology
National Institute of Health, Cheeky students; however, this needs further
Scientist Association, American elaboration.

Its objective is to enable and empower you

1.8. by providing you with relevant information

and helping you make informed choices.
How this Book
will be Helpful
The book will provide guidance on how
to choose a career path, how and where
to look for job openings, how to prepare
This career resource book is expected your resume and CV, how to prepare your
to provide a snapshot overview of elevator pitch, how to improve your social
different career paths for life science media presence (LinkedIn, in particular),
and biotechnology students. Its goal is and how to project yourself as the best
to provide information about tools, tips, candidate for an advertised position. We
job market and potential employers for will try to bust prevalent myths and expose
different career paths so that you can you to realities, duly substantiated by facts,
explore which option(s) is most suitable for so that you can make informed decisions.
you as per your skills, interests, and values. We will talk about how to choose a

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

course and a college/university for your analysis, troubleshooting, multi-tasking,

undergraduate/postgraduate training. fund management, etc. which one acquires
We will also discuss how to choose your while doing a PhD can come in very handy
research problem and supervisor if you in jobs outside academia as well.
choose to do a PhD/post-doc and how to
make the most of your postdoc experience This book is expected to serve as a one-
to prepare for the next stage of your career. stop resource for students in life science
We will also help you learn how to present and biotechnology as it will provide
your skills and develop needed skills while consolidated information about different
transitioning to a new career path. career options in academics, research,
industry, specialised services etc. It will
As the the percentage of science PhDs also delve into the skills needed for each
holding tenure track positions 5-6 years option, training required, and potential
after the completion of their PhD is employers for each option. We will also
declining over last several years, we have provide guidance on choosing the right
refrained from using the term “alternative” course and institution, selecting topics
or “non-conventional” or “non-traditional” for doctoral and post-doctoral research,
for careers other than academic because choosing a supervisor and institution
very few students enter faculty positions for PhD etc. We will also cover tools for
and it’s not fair to use these terms for understanding your own interests and
careers which provide employment to the strengths and using the knowledge gained
majority of students. Students are often to facilitate decision making. Networking,
not aware of available opportunities and informational interviews, navigating the job
may lack clarity about their own interests, application process, and negotiating salary
likes and dislikes. This may also lead to will be covered in substantial detail.
confusion about how to decide what to do
and even having decided, how to get there. A very important component of this
publication is “Learn from Leaders”, where
In this book, we have included information questions about employability, skill sets,
about jobs in several different sectors handling success and failures, etc. have
and fields, in addition to the traditional been answered by leaders in different fields
academic roles of teaching and research. of science. This, no doubt, would come
In case you decide to transition away very handy to prospective job seekers so
from academics, you should not feel that they can identify their own strengths
ashamed about not following the and weaknesses and hone their skills to
conventional path. In fact, you will be enhance their employability.
surprised to discover a lot of skills like
collaborating, time management, data

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

1.9. You should take your own decision

after considering all pros and cons like

Conclusion your interest, skills, availability of jobs,

expectations from job, etc. Please make
use of opportunities available to you
This is the best time to be in the Indian in your institute and acquire maximum
life science space as more opportunities hands-on training and transferable skills to
than ever, before are present today. A develop an all-rounded personality. Make
number of new universities, IITs, IISERs and connections and network.
AIIMSs have been set up by Government
of India. Several private sector universities We expect you to introspect, explore, and
have also been established. At the same make a well-informed decision. To plan
time, the Indian biotech industry is also a successful and rewarding career, you
looking up, fueled by an innovative and should consider all options and discover
entrepreneurial ecosystem, proactive what is exciting to you. You should
policies by the government, and availability make sure that in addition to scientific
of skilled manpower. training, you develop and nurture new
and transferable skills to succeed in your
Searching for jobs can often be a very chosen career path. Go and connect with
challenging and daunting task. Make mentors, learn from their experience, and
sure that you are not missing out on an do informational interviews with experts in
exciting and rewarding career path outside the fields of your interest before arriving at
academic and industrial research just a decision.
because of lack of awareness. You must
understand that while your supervisor We are confident that if you do an objective
may be a nice and well-meaning person, analysis and strategically plan your career,
he/she might encourage you to follow an a bright future awaits you. All the best for
academic career path simply because he/ all your future endeavours!
she may not be aware of other options.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Formulating and
Job Search Strategy
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

24 44
2.1. How to Make 2.8. Perfecting your
Well-informed Elevator Pitch
Career Choice

32 45
2.9. Building
2.2. Job Search Strategy Professional Network

33 48
2.3. Creating and 2.10. Conducting
Maintaining LinkedIn Informational Interviews

37 50
2.11. Preparing for
2.4. Preparing your Interviews

41 59
2.12. Negotiating Salary
2.5. Writing Cover Letters

2.6. Maintaining Authentic,
Updated Profile on Social

2.7. Obtaining
Reference Letters

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Formulating and
Job Search Strategy
In our interactions with post graduate and doctoral students
of life sciences and biotechnology in India, we have observed
that students often first acquire qualifications and then start
exploring different career options. Our objective in this book is
to help students understand their interests and identify career
paths which will be suitable for them and accordingly decide
which courses they should pursue, what kind of summer
training/internships they should take up, and what additional
skills they should acquire. In this chapter, we will discuss
strategies for choosing a career path, preparing resumes and
cover letters, networking, conducting informational interviews,
preparing for interviews and presentations, negotiating salary
etc. We hope that this information will enable students to make
informed career decisions and move ahead in their career.

How to Make
Career Choice
Life Science students often find place. However, good science and research
themselves at a crossroads where they publications alone are not enough to get
are not in a position to make an informed you a job. Although there are a number
career choice. They don’t have a clue about of vacant faculty positions in universities,
how to start, where to start, which position IITs, IISERs etc., the chances of fresh
they want, whether or not they are fit for students getting these jobs are minimal
that position, whom to approach, how as the total number of PhDs coming out
to approach and so on. This is primarily every year far exceeds the number of
due to a lack of sufficient knowledge faculty positions available. Moreover, for
about different career options and skill- these positions, one may need teaching
sets required. Students are also often experience, a requirement most fresh
confused about ways of acquiring skills students are unable to fulfil. Although
and the right time to make the first move most Ph.D. students and post-doctoral
towards looking for jobs. Students working fellows wish to pursue an academic career,
in academic institutions often have their data shows that more than 80% end up in
supervisors encouraging them to go for careers outside academia. For students
higher studies and bring out good research who have primarily worked in an academic
publications. They are assured that if they environment throughout, the transition to
do good science, everything else will fall in any other career path seems confusing and

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

scary due to the lack of correct information interest and might sometimes offer better
and mistaken perceptions about the work-life balance due to flexibility in timing.
industry environment or other career paths. In industry, you are expected to work as a
member of a team towards a common goal
As a student at crossroads, you need to as per the company’s overall agenda and
ask yourself a number of questions to objectives, and you may not be able to take
determine what is right for you in order up work on your own research interest.
to make an objective assessment and To know more about academic, research,
take a balanced view. Selecting the right and industry environments, you should
career path should not be left to chance research them online and talk to your
or availability of opportunity or feedback/ seniors who are working in universities,
inputs from others. You are the best research institutions or companies. You
judge of your true self and are the one can also talk to career counsellors and to
best-suited to make a career decision as recruiting managers. You should network
per your personality, character, interests, with experts from academia and industries
achievements, capability, skills, ambitions, and seek informational interviews to
values, etc. Your career choice should be understand their career trajectories. If you
based on an objective assessment of who are speaking to someone who’s currently
you are, what you like to do, what you don’t in an industry position, ask them how and
like to do, what you need to learn, and what why they transitioned into industry, what
you like most about research. are their job roles, what are the skill-sets
required, are they satisfied or not, and what
Let us say you want to be an active bench
you should do to add value to your resume
scientist. You like to ask questions, plan
and to match industry expectations.
experiments and search for answers.
Now, are you an original researcher who You should also try to understand
likes uncertainty or are you okay with industry trends, strategy, structure,
SOP(Standard operating procedure)-driven factors, innovations etc. and keep up
routine work? Are you an independent with breakthroughs shaping the market.
worker or a good team player? Do you Try to gather information about current
have good communication skills and products and products in pipeline, news of
interpersonal skills? Are you willing to mergers and acquisitions, etc. You should
take risks or do you want a stable job with also collect information about trends and
security? Write down the answers to these movements across the talent marketplace.
questions as it will help you recognize your Knowledge about demand and supply of
unique qualities which set you apart from trained manpower, industry trends and
your competitors. requirements in upcoming areas will
be very useful and will serve as a handy
You also need to understand the
tool to devise your strategy for acquiring
difference between academic and industry
and upgrading skills and developing and
environments. The academic environment
nurturing your talent. It will also give you an
has more independence and flexibility.
edge over your competitors.
It permits you to work on a topic of your

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Interests Expectations Capability


You must carefully evaluate and supervisor if I inform him/her about my

understand your own interests, aptitude, decision to transition to an industry job?
expectations, and capability and Will I be allowed to publish? What if I don’t
accordingly make a decision about your like the industry job or what if I lose my job,
career. If you are interested in research will I be able to come back for an academic
or are passionate about teaching, please job? And so on. You must understand
make an all-out effort to fulfil your dreams. that less than 20% of the students who
However, if you decide to work in a field complete their PhD end up in tenured
other than academia, please do not worry faculty positions. So, you are not the first
about what your supervisor or friends will candidate to move away from academia.
think about your decision. Don’t waste your time, effort and energy
on unnecessary apprehensions. Instead,
You should clearly understand the focus on your job search strategy and
difference between a career and a job. wholeheartedly implement it.
Major career decisions should not be
made simply on the basis of availability
of job opportunities. You must follow your
passion. In case you make a wrong choice
and don’t like your job, it is not the end of
the road as you can always change your
job and try out a new path.

There are also several doubts in the mind

of students who are planning to transition
into industry, like - will I disappoint my

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Principles to Make
an Informed
Career Decision
1. Follow your Passion
2. Have Clarity
3. Value-Add & Diversify
4. Match-Making
5. Create an Authentic Profile
6. Be Proactive & Network

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Principles to make an informed career with diverse people. Transferable skills

decision: that you cultivate and the network that you
1. Follow your Passion develop will be very useful when you apply
The first and most important principle for jobs.
is “Do what you like to do, what you
are passionate about”. Don’t opt for a 4. Match-Making
discipline or career option if you are not You should not feel pressured to remain
interested in it. in academia simply because most of your
peers might be exercising that option. You
2. Have Clarity don’t have to feel guilty for not being a
Reflect, introspect and understand your part of the herd and should try to transition
likes and dislikes. Clarity about what to an area of your choice if an academic
you don’t want to do is essential so that career doesn’t match your interests or
you can focus your time and energy on values. Based on your interest, your
what you do want to do. Understand your qualification, potential applications of your
personality. Are you are an introvert or an research, please identify which sector you
extrovert? Do you like to work alone or are wish to work in and what roles you are
you a team player? Do you want a stable willing to perform. Once you have done
job or are you willing to take risks, for e.g to this, you should set a goal for yourself and
set up a new enterprise or work for a start- take the necessary steps to achieve your
up? Do you like to do original, innovative goal. Make sure you define a time frame
work or are you comfortable in routine, to achieve your goal. Your goal must be
repetitive jobs which are detail oriented SMART.
(e.g., sample testing in diagnostic lab or in
production division of any company where Specific Achievable Time-bound
work involves following SOPs)? Make your
choice based on careful assessment of Measurable Relevant
your skills, capability, likes, dislikes and
requirements for different job roles.

3. Value-Add and Diversify

In addition to your MSc or PhD, take
additional courses offered by other
departments such as management,
marketing, Intellectual Property Rights
(IPR) and regulation, and take relevant
online courses to value-add to your According to your interests and preference
resume. Take part in extracurricular for geographical location, prepare a list of
activities like organising journal clubs, companies and/or research organizations
conferences or editing your college by sector, research focus, type and size,
magazine. Seek out experience beyond kind of jobs available etc. Note down
your laboratory and department. Connect the skill-sets needed for different job

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

roles. Common industry job roles include have the potential to hook a reader
R&D, Production, Business Development, instantly. Your profile should reflect your
customer facing roles such as marketing productivity, communication skills and
or science communication, outreach, innovations. Elaborate if you initiated a
intellectual property rights protection, new project, implemented a new technique,
etc. Prioritise companies and potential optimised an assay or enhanced scientific
employers in your area of interest. Do understanding in any way. List your talents
extensive research about the employers and unique attributes which set you apart
from their website and social media from other candidates. Be realistic and
pages to understand their vision and don’t exaggerate. Don’t give unnecessary,
mission. Also, gather information about irrelevant information. Don’t just tabulate
the team, present projects, upcoming your qualifications in chronological order;
projects, existing products, news about highlight how your experience will be
new products in pipeline, acquisition or beneficial to the employer.
merger etc. Other sources of information
are networks such as LinkedIn, alumni Don’t post the same profile for different
associations, current and past employees, jobs in different companies or institutes.
professionals in the field, etc. Prepare a template, then align it according
to the requirements of different employers
You can also use online resources like and change it appropriately. You must
myIDP ( realise that most companies and institutes
which match interests with abilities, and receive thousands of applications for
take courses by NIH Office of Intramural each advertised position. An HR manager,
Training & Education (OITE) (https://www. at best, will spend 5 to 7 seconds on a or FAES (Foundation for resume which has not been rejected by an
Advanced Education in the Sciences) automated Applicant Tracking Software.
( know more about Read job postings and advertisements
career options. Another great source of carefully and employ key words and
information is informational interviews with phrases (including skills needed) from the
your seniors or experts who are working job advertisement in your resume to ensure
in companies or other organizations in that your application will not be rejected by
relevant roles. You can also take the automated software.
help of career counsellors for making a
well-informed decision about your future The onus lies on you to highlight your
career path. accomplishments as well as technical and
transferable skills to suit the employer’s
5. Create an Authentic Profile requirements. Specify traits such as
Create a profile that is authentic, precise, leadership, team role, conflict resolution,
comprehensive but brief. Basically, your collaboration, resource management. If
profile should be a condensed synopsis you are transitioning into industry, you can
of your core credentials which can set use to create
you apart from the crowd. It should resume templates as this website has been

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

developed by scientists to help researchers 6. Be Proactive & Network

change their academic CV to a format Often students post their profile on sites
appropriate for industry. Make sure that such as,,
your resume is aesthetically pleasing Career builder, or even company
and easy to read with lots of white space websites and wait for interview
and ensure that it includes information calls. You must understand that lakhs of
about your significant achievements. resumes are posted on these websites
While listing your achievements, follow every week and individual companies also
STAR Principle: receive over hundreds of resumes every
Situation day and recruiting managers only spend 5
to 7 seconds per resume. Don’t be passive.
Be proactive and patient. Do not rely
Action taken completely on advice from your supervisor
Result or the career counsellor in your university
List your STAR statements in the form as they may know very little about industry
of bullets so that your resume catches requirements and expectations in a field
the attention of the hiring manager. You different from theirs. Network with relevant
must quantify your results - number of people in your chosen career for insider
publications, amount of grant received, information, guidance, mentoring and
number of events organized etc. We will referrals. Apply for specific jobs in the area
discuss creating your professional profile of your choice.
and resume-building in more detail later
in this chapter.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

You are what you imagine yourself to be. This was, in a nutshell, advice about
There are endless possibilities and you evaluating yourself and making an
should not make any compromises while informed career choice. Once you have
making career decisions and choices. clarity about which career path(s) you may
Don’t be disappointed if you do not receive wish to pursue, you need to proactively
an interview call for a job you had your formulate your job search strategy and
heart set on. Instead, re-evaluate your take steps to implement this strategy in a
application, learn from your own mistakes timely manner.
and from other people’s experience. Keep
reinventing yourself and improving your

Suggested • I lost a job offer because I didn’t apply

these 5 strategies | Cheeky Scientist


Reading • 20 effective or successful job search

strategies & techniques - https://
• Top 10 strategies for a successful strategies/
job search | The Balance Careers • How long do recruiters spend reading
- your CV? | Undercover recruiter-
top-strategies-for-a-successful-job- h
search-2060714 infographic-recruiters-spend-5-7-seconds-
• Job search skills and strategies: The reading-your-cv/
complete guide | Resume Genius • Survey of earned doctorates | National
- Science Foundation - https://www.nsf.
advice/job-hunting-tips gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/
• The 6 best ways to find a job in 2019 • Most Ph.D.s aren’t professors - https://
strategies s-arent-professors-13a741ef6868
• Why it is not a failure to leave • If your resume isn’t 6-second worthy -
academia, Nature 560, 133-134 (2018)
- resume-isnt-6-second-worthy-studies-reveal-
018-05838-y recruiters-will-toss-it.html
• A roadmap to successful career • Top 10 reference websites for PhDs
exploration - https://www.insidehighered. transitioning out of academia into
com/advice/2018/07/30/tool-help-grad- industry jobs. - https://cheekyscientist.
students-strategically-plan-their-careers- com/top-reference-websites-for-phds-
opinion leaving-academia/

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Job Search
Having defined your goals, you should
proactively formulate a job search
strategy. Applying for jobs online and
simply posting your resume and waiting
for an interview call may not lead you
anywhere. In this highly competitive job
market, you have to employ various job-
search strategies to stand out in the
crowd and find an appropriate job. You
will have to adopt a multi-pronged
strategy and learn how to multi-task.
Some steps that you can take are:


Conducting research Browsing various Seeking the help Locating hidden
about job options in your job boards to find of professionals markets through
area of interest using suitable jobs such as recruitment insiders
search engines with agencies
appropriate keywords


Networking with Attending career Checking company Identifying your
relevant people events or organization dream companies
websites for and organizations


Using your network to Creating your Completing Tracking your job Customizing
get recommendations/ personal brand internships search process your resume and
referrals cover letter to the
advertised posts

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

You will also need to improve your ready to focus with your full attention.
social media presence to enhance your Each resume and cover letter needs to
search engine ranking so as to stand out be tailored to the post you are applying
from your peers and to get your resume for. Establish a good quality template and
noticed by your dream companies. You make quick modifications according to
should set daily, weekly, monthly goals the post advertised. You might have to go
to your job search process and review through several interview rounds including
your progress frequently. Once you get telephonic and video interview, behavioural
selected for an interview, take time to and in-person interviews with HR, hiring
prepare and research the company. Dress managers and supervisors and on-site
appropriately and practice answering interview. You will have to stay positive and
probable questions. Also prepare for learn to deal with rejections.
asking questions from your interviewers
and for giving a presentation as per the In the next section, we will discuss some
topic identified by the organization. of the necessary steps in the job-search
process in more detail.
Applying for jobs is an iterative process
and you need to be patient, persistent and

Creating and
a LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a business and employment with experts, share your expertise, and
oriented service which operates via its get information about vacancies from
mobile apps and website. It is the largest its job portal. Similarly, recruiters, hiring
virtual professional business networking managers, consultancy firms and potential
site with over 500 million members. It is a start-up owners also use LinkedIn to
powerful platform to find and connect with identify strong, prospective candidates for
peers, get in touch with old colleagues, filling vacant positions. Companies also
prospective employers, experts, suppliers, use LinkedIn pages for promoting their
clients, investors, partners etc. LinkedIn brand and building their online marketing
also makes it possible to get introductions strategy. It is an excellent resource for
and referrals, and find jobs. You can job seekers and people looking for a
identify potential collaborators, network career change.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.3.1. 2. Create Customised URL

You should have your customised URL with

How to Prepare name. Go to the Edit

Profile screen and click Edit next to your

your LinkedIn Public Profile URL. Specify your desired

address and then click Set Custom URL.

3. Choose a Professional Photo

Choose a clear, high resolution,
Your LinkedIn summary should be professional image. You can also use an
creative, interesting and genuine. It should image showing you delivering a lecture or
showcase your accomplishments as well working in the lab as your profile picture.
as list your technical and transferable
skills. You should narrate your professional 4. Choose an Appropriate Tagline
background in a way that makes you come Use a headline that highlights you and
across as a subject expert to the reader. sets you apart from your competitors. You
You must remember that you are targeting can use your elevator pitch in 10-12 words
recruiters and hiring managers, so the (maximum 120 characters) as your tagline.
summary should project you in the
best light. 5. Target Job Descriptions
Go through job descriptions of sample
Your profile should demonstrate your positions in the sector of your interest and
passion and establish your credentials and find out keywords. Use these keywords
credibility. Try to demonstrate your problem intelligently in your summary and
solving skills and substantiate with experience sections to grab the attention
examples. Highlight your personality by of recruiters.
listing what you are best at, what you enjoy
doing, etc. If you are already in a job, then 6. Use the “Summary” Section Wisely
narrate the rewarding aspects of your job. Your summary should cover your key
If you are working for a company, you can skills, qualifications, work interest,
list what do you love about your employer past experience and your significant
and how your company makes customers’ achievements. You can add photos, videos
lives easier, better or more enjoyable. You and slideshows to your summary. Go to
can follow the following simple rules to Edit Profile , scroll down to Summary,
make your profile different from that of click on the Upload or Link buttons
your competitors, allowing it to stand out. to add multimedia files such as photos,
videos, powerpoint presentations etc. to
show yourself in action.
1. Complete Profile
Your profile must give complete details
7. Quantify
about your skills, your past experience and
Wherever possible, use numbers such as
your previous jobs, if any.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

number of publications, number of papers 12. Work Experience

presented, number of events organised, You can highlight your contributions by
number of seminars attended, amount of adding your important publications, articles
grant received, number of papers reviewed, etc. to your profile. You can also consider
number of review articles written, etc. publishing your work on the LinkedIn
platform or feeding your blog, if you have
8. Avoid Use of Generic Words one, into your LinkedIn profile.
Avoid using words like sincere,
hardworking, committed, innovative, 13. Include Only Strategic
systematic, as they are used by practically Recommendations
everyone. Be more creative. Request your supervisor or boss to write
you a specific recommendation on LinkedIn
9. Highlight Significant Achievements so as to highlight your contributions. You
You should highlight your contributions and should approach different people and
substantiate them with examples. Describe request them to highlight particular skills
the situation, the action you took, and or experiences. Please delete unsolicited
the result or impact of this action (STAR or poorly written recommendations. For
principle). Showcase yourself as a high this, select Edit Profile , go to the specific
performer by listing examples of specific position, and Click Manage. Uncheck the
assignments, out-of-turn promotions, box next to the recommendation which you
awards and honours received (e.g. best wish to delete. Click Save Changes.
paper award, best poster award, university
rank, etc). 14. Update Frequently
Update your LinkedIn status frequently so
10. Don’t Use Third Person that your contacts can see your updates.
You are describing your own achievements, Include most relevant skills only and
so use first person. Describe your delete outdated skills from your profile.
personality and your interests in your own This shows that you are a dynamic person
words so that people can get to know you. and are constantly upgrading yourself by
acquiring new qualifications and new skills.
11. Fill the “Current Job Position” Section
even if Unemployed 15. Join Relevant Groups
If you are unemployed currently, say that You should join relevant groups in your
you are “In transition” and use the job title field and actively participate in important
you wish to transition to. Alternatively, you events and discussions. You can also
can join a course and say ‘Student’. If you share interesting articles, news etc. Groups
leave “Current Position held” vacant, then are also helpful in searching for jobs.
you will be missed in searches because
recruiting professionals mostly use current 16. Be Selective
job title to search for candidates. You should be choosy in selecting your
contacts and add only people known to you
or whom you wish to know.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

17. Use Privacy Settings people can get in touch with you.
If you are in a job and are on the lookout
for a new job but do not want to disclose 19. Subscribe to Premium Features
this to your company and boss, use privacy A premium subscription allows you to
settings in order to maintain confidentiality send mails to recruiting managers, HR
. managers directly. This is optional and
18. Give Correct Contact Details you should make the decision about the
Give your correct email, twitter, blog details premium subscription only after weighing
in the “Contact information” section so that anticipated benefits vis-a-vis cost involved.

You must understand the importance of networking in finding a job as most recruitments
happen through employee referrals. LinkedIn is a great tool that facilitates professional
networking. Your networking on LinkedIn should begin as early as possible. It should be
amply clear to you that you don’t always get a job on the basis of what you know. In fact,
it’s quite likely that you may get a job on the basis of who you know or who knows you.
Therefore, if you take some time early on to make preparations for your future and have
a sound professional presence on LinkedIn, by the time you will start searching for jobs,
your network would be well established, which will definitely give you an edge over others
who start late.

Suggested • Give your LinkedIn profile a complete

makeover in under an hour. - https://


Reading •
7 creative LinkedIn summary
• 5 reasons why you need a LinkedIn examples to help you craft your own.
account. - https://www.socialmediatoday. -
com/content/5-reasons-why-you-need- summary-examples
linkedin-account • You have a new job. Here’s what to put
• 10 tips for making LinkedIn useful, on your LinkedIn profile. - https://www.
even if you already have a job. - https:// job-linkedin-profile/
• The 31 best LinkedIn profile tips for
job seekers. -
• How to network on LinkedIn like a pro.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.4. a detailed document which, in addition

to contact information, educational

Preparing qualifications and work experience,

should cover technical and academic

your Resume achievements like grants received, grants

evaluated, fellowships received, teaching/
research positions held, professional
Your resume is an essential part of your
affiliations, paper or poster presentations,
job search strategy. It is not a formality and
publications in peer reviewed journals,
should not be taken casually. Your resume
patents, technologies developed/
needs to be prepared with utmost care and
transferred/commercialised, awards
attention as out of every 250 resumes, only
and honours etc. In your CV, educational
4-5 candidates might get an interview call.
qualifications should be in reverse
Your resume must clearly demonstrate to
chronological order, i.e. from latest to first.
the hiring manager that you are the best
candidate for the advertised position and Your resume, on the other hand, should be
should be tailor-made to the advertised job brief and need not include everything you
position. On an average, an employer might have ever done. It should be aesthetically
spend only 6 to 7 seconds in pleasing and easy to read. Do not include
reviewing a resume, provided it unimportant or irrelevant information.
is not already rejected by an You should include a link to your online
automated tracking software. profile in your contact details because
data shows that 60-70% of recruiters
To avoid rejection at the first stage, you
review candidates’ online profiles to verify
must use specific keywords as per the
particulars and number of employers using
job description and roles specified by the
social media to screen candidates has
employer. Please don’t go overboard in
increased by 500% over the last decade.
use of keywords as smart hiring managers
will be able to figure this out using tools Don’t include a photo unless specifically
like keyword density checkers which can requested. Use the same name on your
easily detect the use of too many keywords resume, LinkedIn profile, Twitter or
by tracking the percentage occurrence of Facebook to avoid confusion (e.g. avoid
keywords. Your resume should showcase putting permutations like Arvind Kumar
skills, talent, and experience which make Gupta, Arvind K. Gupta, A.K. Gupta in
you the ideal candidate for the post. It different profiles). In contact details, give
has to be precise, clear, brief, succinct, the phone number and professional email
and tailored to the specific position. This address which you check regularly.
means that you can and should have more
than one resume. On the top one-third of the page, carefully
word your elevator pitch or summary
It is important to distinguish a resume from statement to describe who you are, what
a Curriculum Vitae (CV). Your CV highlights you do, what you want to do, what are
your academic accomplishments and is your strengths, interests and how you can

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

add value to the potential employer. Use what value you can offer to the company,
keywords mentioned in the advertisement your most significant accomplishments,
for the job to avoid being screened out by industry specific skills, news articles
automated applicant tracking software. covering your work etc. to capture
Use a visual centre and emphasize with attention.
graphics, textbox, bullets and bold font

Resume Sample: Postdoc Applying to Industry

Content & Design Notes
Remove hyperlinks!
Note: Resume sample shown at reduced size

ARTI SINGH Name is largest text

123 Second Floor, Presidential Tower
Mobile: +91 9900 1234 56 Email:

Run spellcheck to
avoid spelling errors !
Biostatistician with over five years experience and expertise in:
• Leading and managing complex, high-level research projects
Headers, subheads and body • Adapt at demonstrating proficiency in lab techniques
text should be same font size • Maintain Top Secret with CI Polygraph (Active)

Headers: Bold all cap EDUCATION

IIT, Mumbai
Subheads: Bold and PhD, Biostatistics, June 2015
Concentration in Epidemiology
Sentence Case Relevant Coursework: Advanced Regression, Program Evaluation Methods,
Management, Advanced Statistical Models, Comparative Biostats Processes
Thesis: Determining High-Risk Candidates for Epidemiological Measures

Gargi College, Delhi University, BSc. Statistics (Hons.)

Delhi University, Department of Mathematics, M.Sc

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Cancer......................Frederick, MD
For each entry under Postdoctoral Research Fellow..........................................................July 2015- June 2018
• Develop methods to identify type IV secretion effectors with the aim of elucidating
“Experience”, include the
role of these molecules in host-microbe interaction
• Conduct an epidemiological survey to determine overall burden and effects Use Tabs, not
name of the organisation,
cancer pathogens on population health, specifically in rural areas
• Present result findings at lab and institute-wide meetings to discuss
spaces, to set precise
position title, location, dates
research efforts alignments
and describe responsibilities • Assess compliance and efficacy under primary research aims in conjunction
with mentor Edward Jones
and accomplishments
List computer programs
Computer Skills: Proficient in Excel, Power Point, Word; Experience using SAS
Soft Skills: Public Speaking, Problem Solving or technical skills
Technical Skills: Chromatographic techniques, Spectroscopic techniques,
maintenance of laboratory equipment, Safe storage of chemicals and and professional
disposal of waste
development activities
Trainings: Workplace, Dynamics & Management Bootcamp Series
or training that you

possess or attended

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

In the summary or experience section, use irrelevant data. If you are a member of
clear, concise bullet points to focus on a team, clearly indicate so. If you held a
significant accomplishments, technical leadership role, substantiate by examples
skills/experience, soft skills, or personality of ‘how you motivated your team’.
traits relevant to the role. According to
the job description, give examples of your Use examples to demonstrate how your
experience in specific areas, such as team skills and experience are relevant to the
management, resource management, responsibilities of the job you are applying
event management, networking and to. Your resume should highlight that
collaboration, conflict resolution, you will be able to save time and money
leadership, project management, specific for your employer and/or contribute
skills, techniques, relevant training or meaningfully to their progress. Please
publications/patents etc. In the experience avoid generic descriptors such as
section, you should indicate your core hardworking, dynamic, proactive, self-
responsibilities and achievements in each motivated, etc. Instead, focus on specific
job role that you have previously occupied. skills and accomplishments that make you
As discussed earlier, use the STAR different from others. If you are already
technique to list your achievements: working in an industry position, check your
performance reviews for positive feedback
Task (challenge in order to identify your most noteworthy
Describe or problem to
the Situation be solved) accomplishments and best work attributes.
If you have specialised skills for example,
proficiency in programming languages or
fluency in a foreign language, highlight
Result or Action you took
outcome (what did you do them in your resume. If you have worked
and its R A and how did you with well-known scientists, companies,
impact. do it)
clients, please include this information
prominently, as it can help increase the
Use quantifiable parameters or targets credibility of your resume. However,
as far as possible e.g., obtained funding there is no need to include professional
worth Rs._____, involved in evaluation references in a resume.
of __ projects, improved efficiency by
A good strategy is to keep a record of
reducing cost by __ or time by __, used
your accomplishments and feedback in
automation and could reduce team size by
the form of a ‘Master Resume’. Otherwise,
__ members, effectively reducing cost by __
you may find it difficult to recall specific
per year etc.
examples at the time of resume writing. A
List your experience by relevance to few questions which may help you recall
specific position, not date. While listing your accomplishments are given below:
your achievements, be realistic and
honest. Don’t be modest but don’t make • Did you face any problems or
exaggerated claims either. Don’t include challenges in your previous job or as a

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

PhD student or post-doctoral fellow? • Did you offer an innovative solution at

What steps did you take to resolve or crucial juncture when your laboratory/
minimise the problem? company was facing a challenge/
• Did you introduce a new innovative constraint to resolve the problem?
step or technique or modify an • Were you involved in grant writing or
existing technique? reviewing articles?
• Have you standardised a new assay?
Your resume should be perfect. Proof-read
• How was your result received by your
and check for spelling and grammatical
supervisor or team leader and your
mistakes carefully as mistakes reflect very
fellow team members?
poorly about the candidate. It may also be
• Were you involved in developing/
a good idea to take help from professional
designing a new plan of action,
editors to polish your resume on services
strategy or computer program, which
such as elance or Fiverr. You may like to
led to a reduction of time/cost? Did
check the charges for these services and
you improve efficiency by substituting
decide accordingly.
raw material, different technique,
enzyme, improved strain etc.?

Suggested resources/making-your-resume-more-ats-

Further • How to write a great resume| The

complete guide| Resume Genius -

Reading •
You never have second chance to
make a good first impression! - https://
• 17 things that make this the perfect
resume - a-second-chance-to-make-a-good-first-
• Number of employers using social impression-/
media to screen candidates... - Career • Tips for editing and proofreading your
Builder - resume. - https://www.thebalancecareers.
• 18 tips to help your resume stand out com/resume-proofreading-
from the rest (infographic) - https:// checklist-2063191
• Making your resume more
ATS – friendly. - https://www.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.5. from your competitors and show that

you are worthy of consideration even if

Writing your resume is not the best out of all the

candidates. Please do not send cover

Cover Letters letters en masse. At times, students even

forget to change company, institute or PI
names when they are sending the same
A unique, well-prepared cover letter cover letter to multiple employers. This
showcases how you are the best candidate reflects very poorly on them and most
for the advertised post. Your cover letter employers don’t even want to look at such
should make your application stand out letters.

Cover Letter Sample: Postdoc Applying to Industry

Note: Cover letter sample shown at reduced size

Subhash Chand
1, Nilgiri Apartments, New Delhi-110019 · +91-9999006353 ·

September 1, 2019

Amitava Saha
Head, Human Resources, Biocon Ltd.
20th KM, Hosur Road, Electronic City,

Dear Mr. Saha,

I am writing to apply for the performance management specialist position advertised

in the As specified, I am enclosing complete job application,
certification, resume and three references for your kind consideration.

I strongly believe that my educational background and strong technical experience

make me a highly competitive candidate for this position. My key strengths that
would be extremely useful for this position are:
• I have experience in finalising plan, goal setting, implementation of
plans and seeking funding.
• I have exceptional communication (both written and oral) and leadership skills .
• I am quick learner, technology savvy and add value to the team due to
my analytical ability.

With my BTech in biotechnology, MTech in bioinformatics and MBA in

biotechnology, I have a comprehensive understanding of job requirements
of a performance management specialist.Please see my resume for additional
information on my experience.

Please contact me for additional information via email at subhashchand85@gmail.

com or phone at +91-9999006353.



Subhash Chand

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Make sure to find out the name of the sends a message that you didn’t even
person you are writing to and always bother to read the advertisement carefully.
address the letter to an individual. Don’t Please proofread carefully and check for
begin your letter with “To whomsoever it grammatical and spelling mistakes. Your
may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. Not cover letter and resume signify your brand,
making the effort to find out the name of so use the same formatting, font, etc. in
relevant person indicates casual approach cover letter and resume.
and lack of interest on your part. Try to Network on LinkedIn or in person at
be formal, but not obsequious. Don’t be conferences and make sure to put the
overconfident and please refrain from name of contact person from company
using phrases like “your company would prominently in your cover letter so as
be lucky to have me”. It is always better to catch the attention of the hiring
to let your work speak for you. Instead manager. Address your application to
of including what you haven’t done, it’s the hiring manager by name. Don’t use
always better to list and highlight what you unprofessional email addresses (e.g.
have done. Please don’t send incomplete or bigboy@
information and don’t ask for details which
are already covered in the job listing. It

Suggested • I’ve hired dozens of people during

my career- here are 8 cover letter

Further mistakes that immediately raised

red flags - https://www.businessinsider.

Reading in/ive-hired-dozens-of-people-during-my-

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.6. of manuscripts, data files, presentation

slides, documents, videos and infographics

Maintaining to have a wider reach. Social Media is

a great tool for networking and sharing

Authentic, work or ideas or views. Connections

made on these platforms can lead to

Updated academic discussions, promotions and

endorsements, scientific collaborations,
Profiles on job referrals, etc. Publons is a useful

Social Media
and novel website which allows users to
anonymously or non-anonymously take
credit for peer reviews of manuscripts
Many HR departments examine your online of academic journals. Many tools and
profiles and compare them with your academic journals are linked via ORCiD, a
application as a part of the vetting process. unique scientist’s identifier accompanying
You must ensure that your online profiles a public profile that can function as
on social media are authentic and updated. electronic CV. It may take only 2 hours per
month to update and maintain an online
Generally, researchers disseminate presence and consequently make a huge
outcome of their work via publications impact with much wider outreach. It is
and presentations in conferences but also a good idea to join relevant groups
their outreach is limited. It may be a good on social media and actively participate
idea to use ResearchGate, SlideShare, in discussions to attract the attention of
BioArxiv etc. to share pre-print versions potential employers.

2.7. selecting suitable person(s) for writing

recommendation letters for you. You

Obtaining should identify a well-known figure in the

field, who knows you reasonably well and

Reference will give an honest judgement about you

within the prescribed time frame. Brief

Letters him/her properly about the expectations

of the employer and inform him/her
gently, without giving offense, that the
When you apply for a job, in many places
recommendation letter should contain his/
you will be required to give 3-4 references
and recommendation letters. You must her realistic, accurate, fair, transparent
understand that these recommendation and honest assessment. It should provide
letters may be used as an initial decision- important insights about your character,
making tool and may seal your further scientific accomplishments, potential,
chances if not written properly. Therefore, personality and general abilities. It should
you must give utmost attention to duly substantiate his/her intentions with

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

actual data as it may be used as a de-facto personal characteristics, along with your
decision making tool. work, its relevance and context. There is
no need here to elaborate on facts and
Please provide a short brief about your specifics of individual papers. Instead,
salient achievements when you request a s/he should present the big picture but
person to give a recommendation letter. should not be superficial. It is great if s/
Follow up with him/her if s/he needs any he can discuss how you have advanced
additional information and ensure that understanding in the field and give
the deadline is met. The recommendation examples to support. It also makes a
letter should give a balanced, realistic good impression if your recommender is
opinion covering your various attributes laudatory and enthusiastic in summarising
and weaknesses or limitations - a your personality, e.g. do you get along
balanced, thoughtful and personal letter is well with others, were you an important
considered better than a general, uncritical, member of the laboratory and scientific
positive letter. The recommender should community, were you helpful and generous
reflect on your contributions and his/ etc. The recommendation letter should
her relationship with you. S/he should not reveal personal details which are not
demonstrate that s/he knows you well relevant for professional considerations
enough to make well-informed and
objective judgement. S/he should also
summarise your influence on the field,
and your most important scientific and

2.8. 6

your Elevator
Giving an elevator pitch means explaining
to someone who you are and what you
do in the time-frame of riding an elevator
(lift) - i.e. within 30 seconds to 1 minute.
You should be ready with an elevator
pitch when you go for an informational
interview, conference presentation, or panel
discussion, so that you are not caught
unawares. It is very useful to have an you to talk about yourself or when you have
elevator pitch ready when someone asks to introduce yourself to a stranger.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.8.1. 6. You may be talking to a potential

employer, a possible collaborator, or

A Few Tips colleague, or the pitch may be used to

introduce you to an audience when you

for Preparing are chairing a session or are a panelist.

So, you need to be careful, as often the

Perfect first impression is very important.

7. Speak slowly. Make your pitch
Elevator Pitch interesting to listen to and remember.
8. Keep a general elevator pitch ready at
1. Keep It Short and Simple all times as you may run into a big
(KISS principle). opportunity any time. First write down
2. Don’t use jargon or complex words. all your ideas, then remove
3. Be natural. Smile. Narrate it like a short unnecessary details and jargon.
story. If you make a positive impression Connect it like a story.
in your elevator pitch, that means you 9. Take inputs from people who don’t
have made a lasting impression. know about your work, and polish your
4. The pitch should cover who you are, write-up on the basis of this feedback.
what you do and what you want to do. 10. Make your pitch interesting for
5. Practice so that it comes naturally to someone who may not know about
you. Record and hear yourself speak. your field of work and try to involve the
Practice before a mirror and if possible, listener in conversation.
before friends and family.

2.9. LinkedIn showed that 47% of unemployed

candidates get a job through networking.

Building Research conducted by Harvard University

and cited in Forbes also showed that

Professional overall 85% jobs are achieved through

networking. This proves that networking

Network should be an important component of

your job search strategy. In fact, even
within academia, networking can help you
It is no longer possible to work in isolation with collaborations, publishing your work,
in an academic environment, especially getting referrals, as well as identifying new
if you work on interdisciplinary projects. job opportunities. For sectors other than
If you are considering transitioning to academics, networking is essential as
industry, you need to network and share you are planning to move to an unknown
the excitement of your research with territory and need to identify new job
others, as effective networking can give opportunities as well as skill-sets. In
your career a boost. A recent survey by academia, you can attend conferences,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

present your research outcome and do and try to build a valuable relationship.
develop connections with people working Networking can guide you in making the
in your field. For industry careers, you can correct career choice, tapping into hidden
visit stalls and promotional stands put up job markets, getting referrals and more. To
by industries, meet sales representatives make it meaningful, try to add value to the
who visit your institution for promotional relationships by sharing relevant articles,
activities and troubleshooting (servicing of news and pertinent information.
equipment), and collect information about
people in your area of interest. To get maximum benefits from networking,
you must focus on the following:
Try to follow the 80:20 rule while 1. Set a goal
networking. Speak less, listen more. 80% You should have clarity about what you
of the conversation should be finding out wish to accomplish by networking, i.e.
about them, while only 20% should focus whether you want to collect information
on you. For e.g., you can ask them what do about a particular profession from people
they like best about their job? What are the working in that area, find out about new
biggest challenges in their business? What job opportunities, receive mentorship, set
are the skill-sets required for job like theirs? up collaborations, start a new business,
Are there any openings in their company diversify to another area etc.. Based on
or other companies? Tell them in brief your goal, you can reach a decision on how
about what you do and what you want to to proceed further.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2. Do proper research and identify in person at a time and place convenient

individuals to him/her. Please specify the reason for
Once you are clear about your goal of meeting – collaboration, exploring job
networking, you should identify individuals options, referral, etc.
with the right skill-sets, experience,
position and connections to help you attain Highlight your skills which are of interest
said goal. You have to judiciously build to the person whom you are meeting. Be
relationships with people in your area of confident and careful about your body
interest who are willing and in a position language. Engage in the conversation,
to help or guide. It may be a good idea to ask intelligent questions and be an
begin with people from the same city or active and interested listener. Try to
alumni of the same institute to get easy develop and nurture relationships. In
access. If you do preparatory work, you will addition to company or organization-
be better equipped to network. Be ready specific questions, you can talk about
with a concise, creative elevator pitch and industry trends, recent technological
align your elevator pitch with the people advancements, etc. Once the meeting is
you will be meeting. over, follow up through email/phone. Try
to add value to the relationship by linking
Once you have shortlisted people with them to something useful like a recent
whom you wish to network, connect with publication or news in their area of interest,
them online, for example, through LinkedIn so that it is clear that you don’t view them
groups,, young professionals just as a resource. Make only one specific
groups,, Eventbrite. request at a time. Once in a while, update
com etc. Add all probable connections on them about your achievements.
LinkedIn. Send an introductory email and
follow up with a phone call. 5. Be Proactive
Networking is a strategic venture. Figure
3. Reach out and Connect
out a list of events in your area of interest
When you reach out to individuals, be
in the next three months. Try to attend one
honest, introduce yourself and specify
or two networking events per month, if
your reason for contacting. Don’t make too
possible. Keep track of relevant events and
many demands. Be patient and proactive.
people you would like to meet or have met
Don’t give up even if you don’t receive an
already. Contact conference organizers
immediate response. You can send at least
or event managers before the event and
2 reminders by email or on social media
collect details of experts, panelists, and
with a gap of 7 to 10 days between emails
participants. From these, shortlist people
as the person may be busy with official
whom you would like to meet. When you
engagements and travelling.
attend an event, challenge yourself to
4. Meet in person connect with a minimum of 3 people. Carry
If you are in touch with a person for a while your business card with your LinkedIn
and have judged his/her response and profile address. Exchange business cards
willingness to help, then seek a meeting and hold brief discussions. Write down key

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

facts gleaned from the discussion on the senior people with years of experience so
back of his/her business card and follow that you can get guidance and mentorship.
up with a mail citing the conversation you Keep your mind and options open. This
had and build on it. Expand your network would facilitate building a meaningful,
by tapping into your contact’s network as productive network which will play an
well. Ideally, your one-third of your network immensely important role in achieving
should consist of people who are just your goals.
starting their career, one-third of those at
the same stage as you, and one-third of

Suggested • 7 deadly mistakes PhDs make when

networking for a job.

Further -

Reading • 8 networking tips for PhDs to advance

their careers.- https://cheekyscientist.
• Networking your way to more and better their-careers/
referrals - https://www.therainmakerblog. • The beginners guide to professional
com/2018/08/articles/networking/ networking - https://www.brightnetwork.
referrals/ how-network-successfully-getting-started/
• Three surprising ways your network • Successful networking is all about
can help your job search - https:// having the right energy. - https://www.
surprising-ways-your-network-can-help-your- • Avoid these 5 mistakes when talking
job-search to a job recruiter. - https://cheekyscientist.
• 5 types of networking events com/mistake
actually worth your time - https://www.

Informational interviews are meant to help

2.10. you understand different career options

and skill requirements, as well as your
Conducting own aptitude and suitability for different

jobs. They can also give you information
on how to apply for jobs or get referrals,

Interviews and help you get insider information

about vacancies. They might also help
you in understanding how to prepare for

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

interviews, how to negotiate for salary, etc. can also check with him/her about any
in a specific field. The main objective of an career openings, any expansion plans in
informational interview is to seek guidance his/her company, or ask for specific advice
and information, and not to get a job. It is for a job seeker like you.
an effective and valuable tool which can
help you make the correct career choice. If the person you are interviewing is from
an industry, and depending on how much
After narrowing down your career choices, time you have for the interview, you can
you should select a few people from each also ask specific questions about the
career path. Do some online research company like promising new products,
about each of them and seek time for an area of research, culture, management
informational interview. For ease of access, style, organization of company, whether
you could choose an alumnus of the same company policies are employee friendly
university where you graduated from or ask or not etc. At the end of this conversation,
your supervisor to introduce you to some based on first hand information, you
of his contacts. You can also follow up would understand the job responsibilities,
with experts you met in a networking event. expectations, requirements for that job
position and how s/he found the job.
During the interview, you should briefly You will also understand the culture of
introduce yourself and explain your a potential future workplace. The expert
objective. Follow the 80:20 principle and might also evaluate you for your technical
let him/her do most of the talking. Put in and transferable skills. You may also
effort beforehand to research and ask the get information about organizations and
right questions, in order to get the desired names of one or two other experts to
information. Focus on learning from the contact in related fields. This exercise will
expert about his/her present position, job also improve your ability to handle a job
role, skills needed, present responsibilities, interview and build your self confidence.
growth opportunities in his/her career, You should always thank the interviewee
recruitment procedure, relevant people for sparing his/her time and sharing
in the field in his/her company and other important insights. Within 2 days of the
companies whom you can talk to. You can interview, try to send a written thank you
also ask if s/he is happy in the job, how note mentioning clearly how you benefited
does s/he strike work-life balance, how and by talking to him/her and how his/her
why s/he took up this job, what challenges guidance was valuable for you.
s/he faced and how s/he managed. You

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Suggested can boost your career. - https://www.

Further informational-interview-can-help-

Reading • Finding the information you need.

• 3 steps to a perfect informational and-network-effectively-opinion
interview. - • How to send a follow up email after
advice/3-steps-to-a-perfect-informational- no response. -
interview sales/how-to-send-a-follow-up-email-after-
• An informational interview: 10 tips no-response
to prepare. - • 50 questions that turn informational
com/career-advice/article/informational- interviews into actual interviews -
• Informational interviewing. - https:// turn-informational-interviews-into-actual- interviews/
• How an informational interview

Preparing for
The interview process can comprise of
several rounds and may take place
on-site or via telephone or video call.
Four ‘P’ principle:
Give the same importance to job interview You may also record a video of your
preparation as you would for a thesis practice interview to check for any
defence. Be patient and confident. You pronunciation mistakes and body language
should practice for the interview by framing issues (posture, facial expression, eye
questions and writing probable answers in contact, gestures). Do mock interviews
advance. Practice in front of a mirror. with friends, seniors, supervisor or career

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

counsellors, and ask for their genuine any single post and you may be one of a
feedback. Work on their suggestions. The lucky dozen who get selected for a skype
day before the interview, try to have 8 hours interview or one of 3-4 candidates for
of sound sleep and equip yourself with on-site interview. Companies spend a lot
enough energy to sustain you for a day- of money and precious time in hiring new
long interview. recruits, so you must practice enough to
bring out the best in you.
If you are transitioning to industry from
academia, during the first screening Please don’t reach late for the interview as
interview with a recruiter, they may ask this indicates poor time management and
simple questions like: lack of seriousness or respect for other
• Tell us about yourself. people’s time. Don’t dress inappropriately
• Why do you want to transition to or casually for an interview. This will
industry? convey the impression that you are
• Why do you want to work in our not taking the job seriously since your
company? appearance is often the first thing that the
• Do you have relevant experience? interviewers will notice about you. Instead,
• Are you willing to relocate? dress formally and professionally. During
• Have you worked earlier in fast- the interview, please put your phone in
paced environment with strict time silent mode. Make eye contact with panel
schedules? “How do you communicate members, smile and greet everyone.
with colleagues? Demonstrate to the interviewers that you
In the next step, you may have an interview have integrity, conviction and loyalty and
with an HR manager which primarily can handle failures and disappointments.
focuses on behavioural questions and Show your enthusiasm, excitement and
sometimes a few technical questions. For passion for the job and your willingness
skype interviews, please make sure that to integrate with the existing team.
you make proper arrangements for lighting, Highlight your troubleshooting skills
decide time of interview taking into with specific relevant examples. Please
consideration internet speed, wear proper remain alert during the interview and don’t
formal clothes as for in-person interview, get distracted, as it may signal to the
and prepare properly. If you get an on-site interviewers that your attention span is
interview call, you should discuss with the limited and you will not be able to follow
hiring manager in advance to know what strict schedules.
their expectations are and the names of
the people you will be meeting. You should Always listen to the questions carefully
also confirm whether you are required to and then respond. Avoid giving vague
make a presentation. If yes, confirm the answers. If you do not know the answer to
topic of the presentation, as well as its a question, say so clearly. Give to-the-point
focus and duration. You must understand answers. Never use foul language for your
that usually employers and organizations supervisor or past employer. Before the
receive thousands of applications for interview, read the advertisement carefully

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

to know the specific skills required for also use the interview as an opportunity
the advertised position and during the to figure out whether the job is a good
interview, demonstrate how you will bring match for you in view of your strengths
those skills to the company. You can also and weaknesses. For an industrial position,
identify skill-gaps in the existing team collect information about the company
through your prior research and talk to the before the interview by researching the
interviewers about how you may be able to company’s website about their vision,
fill that skill-gap and add value. mission, present products and products in
pipeline, competitors, team members and
Please carry your portfolio, copies of competencies, etc. Also collect information
resume, cover letter, copies of publications, from the company’s social media sites and
originals, notepad and pen. Remember that contact your connections at the company
most hiring managers know within first for insider information and industry trends.
90 seconds of the interview whether they If you know who your interviewers are
will hire a candidate or not. Therefore, how going to be, you can check their LinkedIn
you present yourself, what you say, and profiles to know more about their career
how you say it during those 90 seconds trajectories. This may help you ask
may determine your career trajectory. insightful questions and demonstrate your
Hiring managers look for critical thinking, knowledge, preparedness and seriousness
interpersonal skills, communication skills, for the job.
organisational skills and management
skills. Manners, timeliness, tidiness, Please don’t allow the interview to turn
attitude, core values, knowledge about into an interrogation. Instead, treat it as
the organization, and finally technical a professional conversation by engaging
and communication skills are usually the with the interviewers and asking intelligent
main factors for success or failure of and thought-provoking questions.
candidates at the interview. You should

2.11.1. Tell us about yourself.

Tip: You don’t have to describe everything

A few about yourself. Be precise and share

technical and transferable skills which

Sample are relevant for the advertised position.

Highlight how you are the best candidate

Interview for the position and can add value or fill

gaps in the skill-sets of the existing team.
and Tips for
Why should we hire you?
Tip: You should project your technical

and transferable skills, as well as your
past experience which is relevant to the

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

advertised position. Showcase how you Why are you interested in this position and
are uniquely qualified to help their projects our company?
given your training and experience and Tip: Based on your research about the
what value you will bring to the team or company and relevant industry trends, you
how you will fill skill-gaps in their existing should substantiate your preference with
team. data. For example, you can say - “As per the
latest Biospectrum survey, your company
What makes you believe that you are a is among the top 20 companies in the
good employee? field and company policies and culture are
Tip: You should specify your main employee-friendly”.
contributions during your career. For
example, mention if you developed a new What are the advantages of working in our
technique, product, or device, or if you company versus other companies?
standardized a new assay. Speak about Tip: Highlight the positive features of the
how your work led to better scientific company, for example, innovative nature of
understanding of the field. work, emphasis on R&D, employee friendly
policies, ethical functioning, etc.
Are you an ethical employee?
Tip: Tell the interviewers that yes, you What do you know about our company’s
are an ethical employee and will follow products, services, R&D activities,
any rules prescribed. You can also give employee strengths, background, etc?
an example from your experience. For Tip: Your research about company, its
example, you may mention that when you existing products and products in pipeline,
collect human samples like blood, you existing team and their expertise should
inform the patient and his/her relatives help you answer this question.
about the objectives of your work and only
collect samples after their consent How will you manage deadlines?
is received. Tip: Emphasize that you will be required
to multi-task and adhere to strict time
Why do you want to transition into industry schedules. For example, one way to
and leave academia (if you are applying meet deadlines is to classify your work
for an industry position)? into 4 categories: Important and Urgent,
Tip: One way to answer this can be to Important but Not Urgent, Not Important
mention any research leads that you but Urgent and Not Important, Not Urgent.
may have obtained during your PhD, and Accordingly, you can finish the most
propose that you would like to upscale important and urgent work on priority
and market them for the benefit of society. basis. At the same time, you may also
Although money is important, never say be able to delegate work to your team
that you wish to take up an industry job due members based on their capability and
to lack of opportunity in academia or for capacity and motivate them to finish the
earning money. As far as possible, don’t work as per defined deadlines.
bring in personal or family reasons.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

How will you cope with pressure and every student had to give a presentation
balance your work with personal life? about his/her research topic or any latest
Tip: Planning and systematizing work to development. By practicing first before
adhere to deadlines, delegation of work, known and then unknown audiences, I
use of technology etc. would be important am reasonably confident now.” Thus, you
in maintaining work-life balance. must demonstrate to your interviewers that
you are making efforts to overcome your
What would you do if things do not work? weaknesses.
Tip: You can mention that if you don’t get
desired results, you will analyse the results If we gave you a budget of Rs. 1 crore,
and reasons for failure and take necessary how would you spend it?
corrective measures. Talk about having a Tip: Here, you should demonstrate a clear
plan B ready in case plan A does not yield knowledge of the company’s goals and
results. Substantiate this with examples interests. You can refer to their website
of similar situations in your past research and say that you saw that they are
career. thinking of expanding into a new area (for
example, e-learning or live events) and
Please tell us your strengths and you would wish to put a good portion of
weaknesses. marketing budget into that but would need
Tip: Strengths can be attributes like to consult all stakeholders and consider
quick learner, skilled at critical and their feedback before taking a final
objective analysis etc. Describe a decision.
specific example using STAR technique.
Situation, Task, Action taken and Result How much do you expect to be paid?
achieved. If possible, substantiate with Tip: You should assess your market value
examples to demonstrate how your skills based on your qualifications, experience,
and experience can be relevant to the the city where you will be required to live,
responsibilities of the proposed job. as well as salary trends in the industry
When you are describing a weakness, for the job role you are applying to and be
make sure you mention the steps you ready with a range before the interview.
have taken to work on this weakness, Say that you will be excited to accept
and/or ways you can convert this into a reasonable, competitive offer. Only if
a strength. For example, “I was not very they insist on a specific figure should you
confident in giving presentations in front mention your desired salary range and
of a large audience but I have worked on justify, if needed, why you should be paid
it, by joining Toastmaster and initiating that amount.
a Journal Club in my department where

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• Please describe an error in judgement company’s existing product line?
that you made and its impact. • If hired, what you would wish to
• Describe the most satisfying moment change about your department in our
in your life. company?
• What tasks do you not like to do?
• What issues should the team consider
when evaluating the value of the

up with a thank you mail. If you committed

2.11.3. to send additional material during the

interview, please send the required
Questions for information as early as possible.

Interviewers Don’t stop your job search after the

interview even if one of the interviewers
• What will be my role in the company? tells you that you probably got the job
• What are the opportunities for because hiring decisions are complex
advancement in this role? processes. Keep your job strategy moving
• How will you help with my professional forward until you sign a written contract.
development? In fact, if you have more than one job offer,
• Who will be my supervisor and what it not only acts as a big morale booster
is his/her style of functioning? What but also leaves you in a better position to
team projects does s/he supervise negotiate salary and benefits. Sometimes,
and how many team members in his you may have to do behavioural interview
team and their expertise? over the phone after the onsite interview
• What is the typical career trajectory of and another phone interview with team
people working in this company? leader with whom you would be working
directly. Once the company takes the
Next Steps: decision to give you the job offer, thec
Don’t leave the interview without asking HR manager may call you for salary
about the next step in the process. Follow negotiations and other logistics.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2.11.4. presentation as this is often the final

step of the selection process. You must

How to check with the hiring manager about

the topic for presentation as well as its

Prepare for a focus and duration. Clarify any doubts

you may have beforehand, and ask about

Presentation their expectations. You can also enquire

about the names of the panel members,
During the if not confidential. Make sure to gather

this information beforehand, because
depending upon the job role, sometimes
your presentation for an industry position
will not be about your own research work,
Once you get shortlisted for on-site
but about one of the company’s products.
interview, please make sure to prepare
Please keep in mind the following:
and practice well for the technical

Dress Make about
formally checklist employer,

Be presentable
punctual and

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

1. Introduce yourself make sure that you do not sound rehearsed.

While introducing yourself, you can briefly
highlight your transferable skills and extra- 7. Practice your presentation
curricular interests to demonstrate to your Practice your presentation in front of a
potential employer that you are a talented, mirror. You can also record a video of
multi-faceted person and would add value yourself giving the talk and later watch and
to the company. listen. You can also practice before your
friends, seniors, supervisor, etc. Give it
2. Tailor your presentation according to the same importance you would give your
the audience thesis defence or other scientific talks.
If you are presenting to a mixed audience
with differing levels of scientific 8. Don’t overload the presentation with data
background, then present appropriately. Remember that you don’t have to show all
Don’t use scientific jargon and explain in your data in the presentation. Too much
simple language. text and data can be very distracting for the
audience. Select important, relevant data
3. Explain the relevance of your work and highlight them.
Since your audience is most likely going to
be mixed and may not necessarily have the 9. Format your presentation carefully
same research background as you, please Use legible font and readable font size.
describe the background and relevance of Choose colour carefully. Use good quality
your work before proceeding to outcomes images. Cite the source, if you use images
or results. or data from someone else. Check your
presentation from a distance to verify its
4. Understand the purpose of the readability.
Based on your discussion with hiring 10. Watch your body language
manager, you must have clarity about the Don’t fiddle with your hands, fingers,
objective of your presentation. Accordingly, hair, pen or the laser pointer. Be calm,
highlight yourself or your research or the composed and confident.
company’s products.
11. Follow STAR Principle
5. Highlight important results You need to make an effort to persuade
Decide one important thing which you your employer to hire you. Follow the STAR
would like them to remember and take principle to highlight your most significant
away from your presentation e.g., a contribution(s) while presenting your data.
research result, specific skill, etc. and Describe the Situation, Task in hand, Action
communicate accordingly. you took and Result or outcome. This can
help you explain how you handled difficult
6. Don’t read from slides situations and achieved the desired results.
Show data, images on slides to engage
audience and capture their attention. 12. Highlight the relevance of your work
Don’t read out text from slides, instead talk to the Company’s focus (for an industry
extempore. Practice the talk beforehand, but position)

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Research the company, their existing addition to tools such as Spell check or
products, products in pipeline, techniques Grammarly, take help from friends, seniors,
employed and team expertise beforehand. or a professional editor.
During the presentation, show the
relevance of your work, experience and 14. Highlight your skills
expertise to the audience. This would Read the job description for the advertised
demonstrate to the company that you post carefully. Highlight your relevant
are interested in the company and are technical, transferable skills such as
serious about the job as you have made leadership skills, troubleshooting skills,
substantial efforts to find out information adhering to deadlines, etc. Since you
about the company. would have already gone through several
stages of the selection process by this
13. Proofread time, be confident. Present your work in an
Be very careful while checking for spelling engaging manner and involve the audience.
mistakes and grammatical errors. In

• 14 things smart people do the night

Further before an interview - https://www.ivyexec.


Reading •
How to tell if a job interview went
well: 7 signs you rocked it- https://www.
• How to answer the 6 most common
job-interview questions - https://www. to-tell-if-a-job-interview-went-well-7-signs- you-rocked-it
interview-questions.html • 4 Crucial tips for writing the
• Ask a real recruiter: How do I prove that interview thank you note - https://www.
I’m the best candidate in an interview?
- interview-thank-you/
do-i-prove-that-im-the-best-candidate-in-an- • 23 tips to improve your public speaking
interview-question skills -
• Most Common interview mistakes public-speaking-tips
to avoid - http://www.wehirepeople. • You’re not management material until
com/2018/12/27/most-common-interview- you master these 3 interview prep
mistakes-to-avoid/ strategies. -
• Prioritize the needs of the audience master-these-3-interview-strategies-to-be-
when giving a presentation - https://www. considered-management-material/ • 5 Big-Picture Mistakes New Ph.D.s
• 10 awesome interview tips from Make on the Job Market. - https://
actual hiring managers - https:// Mistakes-New/243475

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• I didn’t get a job offer until I started • Interview questions to ask before,
asking these 7 questions in interviews. during and after - https://cheekyscientist.
- com/interview-questions-to-ask/

with similar qualifications, experience and

2.12. skill-sets. Other factors which play into the

market value are the city where the job is,
Negotiating your life-style, the company’s interest in
hiring you, etc. You should take help from
Salary your seniors, experts, and recruiters in
deciding salary range.
Negotiating salary is an important, Please do not be in a hurry to broach the
essential part of the hiring process. salary conversation with your prospective
If you don’t negotiate, it might send a employer and wait for the right stage. You
wrong signal to your employer that you should display your suitability for the job
are not confident about your worth. On an to the employer and be sure that the job
average, even if you assume a nominal is the correct choice for you. If the hiring
10% increase in salary in your first job manager asks you for salary expectation,
if you had negotiated, you may incur show your enthusiasm and passion for
cumulative loss of lakhs of rupees in your the job and opportunity and don’t give
career as it will have cascading effect in the number first. Indicate that you will
your subsequent assignments given that consider a reasonable, competitive offer
your previous salary is an important positively. You can also ask the prospective
factor in deciding your next salary. A employer for an appropriate pay range for
report by CNBC suggests that only the position. You should never signal to the
39% people negotiate their salaries, employer that the salary is your biggest
perhaps because they are either motivator for the job.
desperate and scared of losing the job
or don’t know how to go about it. Salary Also, make sure to think beyond the
is one of the most important factors in gross pay, and take into consideration the
accepting a job offer. You should receive benefits package such as medical or travel
compensation that is commensurate to allowance, flexible timings, opportunity to
your qualifications, skills and experience as learn and grow etc. If you are not happy
it will impact job satisfaction. with the salary offered, clearly mention
that you were hoping for more than the
You should practice negotiating before the offered amount. In case the hiring manager
interview. For this, you should do proper expresses difficulty in considering any
research and decide your market value raise as they have set scales and don’t
keeping in mind salary trends and market usually negotiate, then ask him/her for past
compensation range for similar job titles. precedents and circumstances in which it
Research compensation rates for people was considered. Also ask him/her that if

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• Know your Value

• Organize your thoughts
• Plan the right timing
• Start with Questions
• Project what you can do
• Stay positive
• Ask for more than
what you want
• Be firm

it is not in his/her power, who needs to be want to lose you. At the same time, don’t
brought in conversation to consider raising be rigid. Give specific examples comparing
the offer. your case to the past precedents.
Remember that it is hard to get what you
Remain positive, excited and enthusiastic don’t ask for. Evaluate alternatives and
and talk specifically about your skills, take a well-informed decision. Come to
experience and value you would bring. an amicable solution without jeopardizing
Believe in yourself. You must understand your job offer. Get a written offer and
that the company has invested a lot of convey acceptance while thanking them for
time and effort in hiring you and would not giving you an opportunity to prove yourself.

Suggested • When should you start discussing

salary in an interview? - https://www.


DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Career Options
for Life Science and
Biotechnology Students
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

64 Product
Management 115 Quality Control
3.1. Career Options and Quality Assurance 3.3.6. Science
Management Communication

& Public Outreach Human
Resource (HR)
Management 117
3.2. Academic Careers Technical
Sales and Marketing

3.3.7. Science
Specialists Management
& Administration Technical

3.2.1. Guidance for

Pursuing PhD
120 Consultancy,

Business Development
& Equity Research 3.3.8. Science Public
Policy Advisor/Advocate

3.2.2. Guidance for

104 122-128
Obtaining Postdoctoral

3.3.9. Specialised Services

107 Core Facility

3.2.3. Guidance for Taking
up Faculty Positions in Career in
3.3.3. Career in Bioinformatics
Academic Institutions
Intellectual Property

Rights Career in Big
Data Science

110 Clinical Trials

3.3. Non-academic
3.3.4. Technology

112 3.4. Conclusion

3.3.1. Guidance for
Students Willing to
Transition to Industry 3.3.5. Regulatory
Management Research &

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Career Options for
Life Science and
Biotechnology Students
In the previous chapter, we have discussed how to make an
informed career choice, how to network with professionals,
how to prepare an elevator pitch, resume and cover letter, how
to prepare for presentations and interviews, etc. In this chapter,
we shall discuss different career options available for life
science and biotechnology students in India.

Most Indian life science students are not aware of career

options outside academia as we do not have culture of joint or
adjunct faculty positions in universities and industries, public
private partnerships are relatively recent, not many people are
willing to take risk and set up their own enterprises or work
in start ups. So, supervisors and faculty members often end
up advising students to concentrate on doing good work and
publishing papers; however, this alone may not be enough to
land good jobs because of fierce competition fuelled by low
demand and increasing supply.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

A very small proportion of PhDs and Advancement of Science/career-path

postdocs are able to secure tenured faculty (, guidance
positions. Therefore, it is imperative that material relevant to the Indian scenario
students should explore careers other than is by and large lacking. IndiaBioscience
academia. previously published an e-resource
booklet (
Embarking on a successful and rewarding careers-in-science/booklet-on-careers-in-
career requires conscious in-depth indian-science) which deals with career
planning. It is difficult to make a rational options for life science and biotechnology
career decision without having access students. However, this needs further
to complete and accurate information elaboration. Details of key skills required,
about the different career options that job roles, potential employers and training
are available. While some information needed for each career option would
about career paths has been put out by empower students and facilitate decision
the National Institute of Health (https:// making. This can also help students , Cheeky scientist develop a focused strategy to secure a job
association (https://cheekyscientist. quickly in a sector of their choice.
com) and American Association for the

3.1. academic sector, jobs in biotech or

pharma industry, science administration,

Career Options management, policy, communication and

outreach, intellectual property rights (IPR),
technology transfer and regulatory jobs,
Some of the many career options setting up your own enterprise, specialised
presently available for science students services such as core facility management,
are - teaching and research in the bioinformatics, big data management,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

clinical trials etc. It is important to do work Now, we will discuss career options for
that you value and enjoy, and which suits life science and biotechnology students
your temperament and personality. in academia (teaching and research),
A carelessly made career choice can industry (R&D, production, quality analysis
result in lost years and dissatisfaction, and and control, marketing, equity research,
hence, avoid taking up a job just because technology transfer, intellectual property
an immediate opportunity is available. rights protection, etc.) and specialized
Instead, you should choose a career based services (bioinformatics, big data, etc.).
on your interest and passion and once We will try to cover skill-sets required
this decision is made, you should focus for different options, training required,
on networking, resume building, acquiring potential employers, etc. so that you can
advanced training, and supplementing select the options that are most suitable
technical knowledge. It is expected that for you. You can also try to network with
the information in this chapter will serve relevant people and acquire skills by
as a one-stop resource for students. It is doing summer/winter training, internships,
intended to help you in making the best voluntary work, online courses etc. to
choice for a career path after assessing add value to your resume. Once you have
yourself, matching your aptitude and skills narrowed down your options, you should
with the requirements of the job, and then prepare your resume, conduct
filling gaps, if any, by acquiring appropriate informational interviews, and prepare for
training. interviews and presentations, to enhance
your employability.

3.2. doctoral research. In addition, agricultural

universities and veterinary universities also

Academic award degrees. In recent years, several

new institutions of higher learning, viz. IITs,

Careers IISERs, NIPERs, AIIMS have been set by the

Government of India and several private
sector universities have also come up,
There are immense opportunities for creating a lot of opportunities for students
students who wish to pursue a career seeking faculty positions. Faculty members
in education and research. India has a play a major role in mentoring students
large network of institutions of higher and shaping young minds. If you wish to
learning. There are 47 central universities, remain in academics, you need to acquire
370 state universities, 123 deemed a PhD degree and postdoctoral experience.
universities, 282 private universities, 23 Here, we shall discuss some tips on
IITs, 31 NITs, 23 IIITs, 7 IISERs, AIIMS, and selecting your topic of research, selecting
around 35000 affiliated colleges which an appropriate laboratory and supervisor,
offer undergraduate and postgraduate and making the most of your research
courses, and conduct doctoral and post- experience.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

3.2.1. Before beginning your PhD journey, please

ask yourself a few questions. Why do you

Guidance for want to pursue a PhD? Do you have the

patience and persistence to continue for

Pursuing PhD 4-5 years? Do you have a ‘never give up’

attitude or are you easily demoralised by
small obstacles? Can you accept failures?
If you have finished your graduation/
Are you an independent-minded person
post-graduation and are interested in
or do you need constant guidance?
pursuing a PhD, you must first understand
What are your personal and professional
what is research and what is expected
expectations from a PhD? What are your
of a research student. Research is an
long term goals? What would be your ideal
original contribution to existing knowledge.
career path once your PhD is over?
Research brings advancement by verifying
old facts or discovering new facts through As a PhD scholar, you will be expected
an objective and systematic method of to identify gaps in existing knowledge,
finding solutions. Research results should critically review literature, pose useful
be replicable to ensure validity. One way to and relevant research questions, devise
think about Research is: testable hypotheses, design experiments
to prove or disprove hypotheses, collect,
Rational thinking document, analyse and interpret data from
your experiments, build new hypotheses
based on your work, find solutions to
Expert treatment problems, obtain necessary ethical
approvals, communicate your ideas and
results to specialists and non-specialists,
Search for and finally, foresee and plan short, medium
and long term goals for your research.

Exact As the number of PhDs produced is much

higher than faculty positions advertised,
you will also have to acquire transferable
Analytical skills skills during your PhD that will be useful
(Adequate data)
if you wish to later transition to a non-
academic field, such as industry. The
primary goal of a PhD program is to
prepare promising students for outstanding
Critical observation scholarly and professional achievement,
(Careful recording) to instil an ability for independent and
critical thinking/judgement, and to inspire
Hard work students to use their knowledge and
training for the betterment of society.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

During a PhD, students also receive training scholars will have to develop an ability
on current best practices in research and to clearly articulate ideas and balance
teaching, including appropriate techniques, clarity and precision so that there is no
tools, methods and use of sophisticated ambiguity. Creativity, self-motivation, focus,
equipment. Students are expected to problem-solving skills, time management,
maintain integrity, follow ethical standards, independence, self-confidence, willingness
maintain detailed, organized and accurate to accept failures, perseverance, and ability
laboratory records, as well as analyse to face uncertainty are some essential
and present research data. Research traits for success for research scholars. individual students, each of these funding

agencies also sponsor a number of

Obtaining research projects to faculty and scientists

working in universities or research

Fellowships laboratories, which have provisions for

JRF/SRF positions. Several universities and
research institutes also have a scope for
Currently, there are a number of fellowship special fellowships for pursuing research,
programmes in India to encourage that are specific to that university/
students to pursue research, including but institution.
not limited to DST-INSPIRE, DBT-JRF, CSIR-
UGC NET, ICMR-JRF, ICAR-JRF and more. Students interested in pursuing research
Details such as name of funding agency, should look at the websites of these
mode of selection, number of fellowships, funding agencies and find out how and
eligibility covering subject, academic when to apply, as well as the curriculum,
qualification, % marks, age, amount of question paper pattern, past question
fellowship and contingency are given in papers etc. in case of a written entrance
Table 1. Amount of fellowship is revised test. Make sure you prepare thoroughly and
frequently, so, please check respective wholeheartedly.
website for latest information.
An independent fellowship gives you a lot
CSIR and UGC jointly conduct the National of freedom and flexibility in choosing your
Entrance Test (NET) twice every year supervisor and topic of research. In case
(July and December) for selecting Junior you don’t get along well with the supervisor,
Research Fellows and determining many of these fellowships allow you
eligibility for lecturership. For lecturership to exercise the option of changing
applicants, there is no upper age limit. laboratories. Moreover, fellowships in
Toppers of CSIR-UGC JRF(NET) are sponsored projects often end at the
awarded Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee same time as the initial duration of the
(SPM) fellowship. project getting over (which is usually
around 3 years). In a few universities,
In addition to these fellowships granted to students working in sponsored research

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Table 1 : Details of a few fellowships for pursuing PhD


Mode of NET (National Entrance BET (Biotech- INSPIRE National ICAR-JRF,

Selection Test) nology Eligibility (Innovation in Exam AIEEA (All India
Test ) Scientific Pur- Entrance Exam for
suit for Inspired Agricultural Scienc-
Research) es) -PhD

Number 275 1000 120

- -
Eligibility BS/MS, BE/B.Tech/B. BS/MS, BE/B. All Sciences Life Sciences, Agriculture
in terms Pharma, MBBS, MSc Tech/B.Pharma, Social & Allied Sciences
of degree Chemical Sciences, MPharma, MBBS, Sciences
Earth MSc, MSc.(Ag),
Sciences, BVSc, MVSc
Life Sciences, Biotechnology,
Mathematical Sciences, Agricultural,
Physical Marine, Medical,
Sciences Environmental,
Molecular &
Human Genetics,

Maximum 28 yrs. for G 28 yrs. for G 28 yrs. for G

- -
age on cut 33 yrs. for SC, ST, PH, 33 yrs. for SC, ST, 33 yrs. for SC,
off date Women PH, Women ST, PH, Women
31 yrs. for OBC 31 yrs. for OBC 31 yrs. for OBC

Minimum 55% for G 60% for G 70% marks or 55% for G, OBC 60% marks or
marks in 50% for SC, ST, PH 55% for SC, ST, equivalent CGPA 50% for SC, ST, OGPA of 6.60/10
Qualifying PH for INSPIRE PH, VH or 3.25/5 or 2.6/4
degree fellows or first for G,OBC and
(UG Or PG) rank holders under privilege and
55% or OGPA of
5.5/10 or 2.75/5
for SC/ST/PH

Amount p.m. for 2 yrs. Rs.31,000/- p.m. Rs. 31,000/- Rs.31,000/- p.m. Rs. 8,500/- p.m.
CSIR SRF + HRA for 2 yrs. p.m. for 2 yrs. for 2 yrs. + Contingency
Rs. 35,000/- p.m. for 3yrs. DBT SRF DST SRF ICMR SRF ICAR SRF- AIEEA-
Contingency Rs. 35,000/- p.m. Rs. 35,000/- Rs. 35,000/- p.m. PhD
Rs. 20,000/- per annum + HRA for 3 yrs. p.m. for 3 yrs. for 3 yrs. Rs. 16,000 p.m.
CSIR SRF Contingency Contingency Contingency in 1st yr
Rs. 35,000/- p.m. for 3yrs. Rs. 30,000/- Rs. 20,000/- per Rs. 20,000/- per
Contingency per annum annum annum
Rs. 20,000/- per annum
Rs. 25,000/- p.m. for 2 yrs.
Rs. 12,000/- per annum

Website https://www. https://www.icar.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

projects are not permitted to register for for PhD admission. Hence, it becomes
a PhD. In many leading universities and imperative that you give priority to clearing
institutions, students who have not cleared the appropriate entrance exam for an
a fellowship exam are not eligible to apply independent fellowship.
Choosing the
Institute and

Once you have secured admission to a PhD

Your next step should be shortlisting program, you must focus your attention
universities and institutes where research on choosing a research topic. Choose
in your area of interest is being pursued. a topic that interests you and conduct
Once you have located a few such a preliminary survey of literature to
organisations, try to find out about the learn about the existing status, gaps in
admission process, eligibility, important knowledge and other researchers working
dates and mode of selection. It is very in the field. You can use this information
useful to be in touch with your seniors to shortlist narrow and focused research
and fellow students for advice and keeping questions which are interesting and
track of important deadlines. relevant. Draft a brief research proposal

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

and prepare a list of prospective impersonal emails with headings such as

supervisors who are conducting research “To whomsoever it may concern” without
in a related field by looking at university bothering to find out the name or gender
or institute websites, project listings, of the PI, which reflects very poorly on
academic profiles, research outputs such them. Many PIs may not be interested in
as publications, blogs, editorials, books, supervising students with such a casual
press articles, etc. and indifferent approach. Be proactive
and if possible, seek time for an in-person
If possible, before joining a laboratory, follow-up meeting. If the PI agrees for
talk to present and past students as well such a meeting, be sure to reach on time.
as other laboratory staff to gain more While meeting them, introduce yourself and
information about the lab atmosphere, specify why you are interested in working
integrity of the supervisor, employment in that particular area and under their
status of past students, present number supervision. Always carry a copy of your
of lab members etc. You can also ask resume and publications (if any). Discuss
about general work conditions, such the availability of fellowships in his/her
as the number of hours the supervisor laboratory, your chances of
expects you to be in the laboratory per clearing fellowship exams, and other
day, the average number of years taken relevant issues.
by students to finish their PhD, availability
of fellowship(s) and funding etc. A few Once you have joined a laboratory and
institutions allow PhD students to work selected your topic of research, conduct
for a few weeks in 3-4 laboratories (called a thorough review of the literature to
rotations) to facilitate decision making refine your research problem and learn all
regarding choice of supervisor and relevant techniques. Make sure to clearly
research project for PhD. define your goals and deadlines, and work
in a focused manner to achieve them. Try
If you receive good feedback from the to network with senior students and other
lab members and your interests match faculty members. In addition to scientific
with the potential supervisor’s, go through work, you should also take part in voluntary
their research publications in detail and activities, such as editorial work, organizing
write to them about how your research seminars/symposia, journal clubs, etc. to
interest and experience match with theirs. acquire additional skills and experience.
Please do not send the same email to This can also help you build networks both
several Principal Investigators (PIs). Even within and outside your organization. Try to
if you have a common central template present the outcome of your own research
and are copying and pasting certain to others in the field and play an active
details, please make sure that you have role during seminars by asking relevant
changed all relevant information. Keep questions. These skills would come in very
this email short and to the point and handy when you finish your PhD, even if
always address the supervisor by name you decide to transition to jobs other than
(e.g. “Dear Dr X”). Many students write those in academia.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Transferable Skills
Some of the transferable skills which PhD scholars can acquire during their tenure are listed below

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Emotional Intelligence

Creative Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution

Professional Awareness

Client Facing Skills

Leadership Skills

Legal & Regulatory Knowledge

Project Management and Strategic Planning

Communication Skills

Information Management

Teamwork and Collaboration

Negotiation Skills

Time Management

Commercial Acumen

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students handy while developing trust and good

relationships with partners/co-workers/

Transferable clients and systematically exchanging

ideas. Learning how to negotiate in a

Skills professional manner can give you an edge

over others.

Some of the transferable skills which PhD 4. Teamwork and Collaboration

scholars can acquire during their tenure are Research scholars are usually good team
listed below: players. The ability to prioritise work and
delegate tasks to team members can help
1. Commercial Acumen in achieving assigned targets. Students
You should try to take up business hoping to transition into an industry
courses if your university has a career path should learn interpersonal
business management division that skills and develop oral as well as written
offers them. You can also enroll for communication skills, as the industry
online or distance learning courses to environment is more collaborative and
understand current industry trends, teamwork is essential. You should also
making financial projections, managing try to be accommodative while working
budgets, predicting trends, assessing the with others.
strategy of competitors, regulatory laws,
etc. This would be very handy to you in 5. Information Management
managing your contingency grants or Research scholars collect, assess,
allocating budgets for consumables in your evaluate, interpret and analyse large
laboratory as a PhD student, in submitting volumes of data. Understanding all
projects to funding agencies as a PI if you the available information as well as
join a university or research institute after communicating the same is an important
your PhD, and for jobs in the industry if you part of a research scholar’s work. They also
wish to transition to an industry career. come up with ideal strategies to stay ahead
of competitors.
2. Time Management
Research requires students to be well- 6. Communication Skills
organised and efficient at multitasking and Good oral and written communication skills
time management, which can be a very are essential for explaining your proposal
handy tool to ensure timely submissions in and findings to scientists, decision-makers,
other lines of work. and funding agencies. They can also help
you obtain funds for your proposal from
3. Negotiation Skills venture capitalists, angel investors, etc.
Your technical knowledge can add to This would also be very useful during the
your confidence and enable you to recruitment process by helping you write
take well-informed decisions before your resume, prepare for the interview,
entering strategic partnerships. Your presentation, etc. You also need to learn
communication skills would come in the art of simplifying complex science

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

according to the target audience. You for recombinant research and so on. You
could consider writing blogs, newspaper have to be conscious of confidentiality
articles, review articles etc. to refine your of data, protection of your intellectual
skills. Another good practice is to present property, and the political, legal and ethical
the outcome of your research to your implications of your work. You should try
labmates and other researchers so that to empower yourself by taking up courses
you may overcome any initial reluctance or on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and
hesitation. regulations, either run by the
Law department of your university or via
7. Project Management and online courses. This would facilitate a
Strategic Planning smooth transition if you choose a career
PhD scholars get tremendous as a patent examiner or regulatory
opportunities to work on complex consultant later.
projects under limited budgets, which
helps them learn how to judiciously utilize 9. Leadership Skills
resources and efficiently manage the You should proactively try to nurture and
timely implementation of projects. They demonstrate leadership qualities. This
also learn how to manage and motivate can take the form of a small project, for
people, how to assess strengths and example, you could start a career support
weaknesses of team members, and how group, alumni association, journal club etc.
to delegate tasks based on capability and
capacity of individuals to ensure smooth 10. Client Facing Skills
and timely completion of projects. They PhD scholars get ample opportunities to
also learn how to remain calm and handle interact with a variety of people, including
unfavourable situations as science is scientists, faculty members, other research
unpredictable and one may not always scholars, undergraduate and postgraduate
get the desired results. Research scholars students, industry representatives, reagent
have to anticipate problems and find the suppliers, journal editors etc., in the course
right solutions. They also learn strategic of their day-to-day work. Through seminars
planning, visualizing the big picture, and and journal clubs, they also get used to
defining short, mid and long term goals. All cross-questioning. A few institutes also
of these skills are handy while transitioning give training in grant writing and defending.
to a different career path. This can empower students by aiding in
confidence building, minimising social
8. Legal & Regulatory Knowledge awkwardness, and preparing them to
As a PhD student, you are expected to interact with people from diverse fields
follow rules and regulations in the use of (such as funding agencies, clients etc.) in
reagents, equipment etc. Based on your an efficient and professional manner.
research area, you should also be familiar
with ethical guidelines for collection of 11. Professional Awareness
clinical samples, obtaining informed PhD scholars are often very creative
consent of patients, regulatory guidelines and innovative and have the ability to

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

handle challenging situations maturely disciplines for interdisciplinary projects),

and professionally. They also get used to can be very handy in resolving conflicts
learning continuously. Each of these traits within the team.
would be very useful in representing an
industry brand. 13. Emotional Intelligence
PhD training leads to the development of
12. Creative Problem Solving and patience, perseverance and equanimity.
Conflict Resolution With experience, research scholars
Research scholars apply innovative, out are able to predict chances of possible
of the box thinking to solve problems. conflict and take precautionary measures
They plan and anticipate problems and and preventive steps without vitiating the
probable solutions. These skills help atmosphere, resulting in developing mutual
them apply their scientific and technical trust and respect with coworkers.
knowledge to technical problem solving
and troubleshooting. They also learn 14. Entrepreneurial Mindset
conflict management strategies, and how In an academic environment, PhD scholars
to identify the root cause of problems mostly work independently and learn to
(technical, behavioural, structural, take responsibility. They function with
logistical, etc.). Their training in working minimum supervision, act decisively, and
in teams, looking at problems from respond to unexpected challenges. These
different angles, publishing joint papers, traits are very desirable if you decide to set
collaborating within the laboratory or with up your own enterprise in the future.
other laboratories (and at times with other

In light of the above transferable skills which most PhD scholars acquire in addition to
subject expertise and technical knowledge, you must realise your own worth and project
your strengths while transitioning to the next step in your career. Remember that even
in academia, doing good science alone is not enough. You need to formulate a strategy
to translate your academic credentials successfully into a career. Make wholehearted
efforts to obtain the job of your choice if you decide to transition to industry or set up
your own enterprise. Knowledge about global industry trends, prevailing regulatory laws,
and latest developments in the field would enable you to take correct career and business

Suggested • 10 skills that will give you an edge

while applying for management

Further positions. -


Reading •
List of 26 core competencies science
PhDs can leverage over other job

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

applicants. -

list-of-core-competencies-phds-can- skills-within-the-life-science-industry
leverage-over-other-job-a • What do PhD students take for
• Teach undergraduates that doing a granted.-
PhD will require them to embrace PhD-students-take-for-granted
failure.- • Is the life of a PhD easy. - https://www.
• 7 things that typical PhD scientist • 7 advantages PhDs have over other
does not know about a biotech or job candidates. - https://cheekyscientist.
Pharma job sector. - https://www. com/job-candidates/ • Top 5 list of transferable job skills
phd-scientist-doesn-t-know-about-a-biotech- biotech & biopharma companies look
or-pharma-job-search-/ for in PhDs.-
• 3 top biotechnology and top-5-list-of-transferable-job-skills-biotech-
pharmaceutical industry trends biopharma-companies-look-for-in-phds/
every PhD should know. - https:// • PhD skills that landed me my corporate job! - https://bitesizebio.
pharmaceutical-industry-trends-every-phd- com/41023/phd-skills-that-landed-me-my-
should-know/ corporate-job/
• Do you have transferable skills within
the life science industry? - https://www.

3.2.2. a postdoctoral fellowship in an academic

institution may not necessarily give you

Guidance for an added advantage. Instead, industrial

postdoctoral positions could be useful for

Obtaining students who are not ready to take up jobs

in industry directly, as these positions often

Postdoctoral have the possibility of having two mentors,

one from academia and one from industry.
Training This can help students understand the
industry environment and allow industries
A postdoctoral fellowship is not a job, to evaluate the performance of prospective
but a transitional training opportunity employees. Universities should also create
which is expected to prepare you for an training courses, certificate programmes,
independent job. It should not be taken as internships jointly with industries
a compulsory and logical step for all PhDs specifically for students planning to
as its usefulness depends on your career transition to industry so that they can get
choice. an idea of industry work environment and
If you wish to transition to a job in industry,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Postdoctoral fellows form an important of 6 months to 1 year overseas training

link in the chain of people contributing to as an integral part of postdoc fellowship
research in many parts of the world, but in could partially reduce the problem of brain
India, they are under-utilized and under- drain of postdocs from India, as well as
valued. In India (https://indiabioscience. reduce discrimination against postdocs
org/columns/opinion/the-curious-case- who chose to stay back in the country.
of-the-missing-indian-postdoc), faculty We should also consider hiring foreign
to postdoc ratio is 2.8:1 in the Indian postdocs in our institutions to increase
Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, as diversity in the research environment.
compared to 1:1 at Stanford University, Postdocs are expected to participate
USA. The figures will be further skewed in advanced research training under
for other Indian universities and research the supervision and guidance of their
institutions. There are few fellowship mentors. The training, in addition to bench
opportunities for postdocs in India but work, should involve participation in all
going by highly conservative estimates, relevant research and academic activities
there will be at least 12,500 potential such as review of literature, preparation
postdocs graduating every year out of a of manuscripts, responding to referees,
total pool of 1,25,000 students enrolled in poster or oral paper presentation at
PhD. At the same time, the number of total seminars, participation in workshops for
postdoctoral fellowships available per year grant writing/scientific presentation etc.
in India may be in the range of 400-500 Training in teaching or other activities
which is rather small for a country of this as per your career choice (e.g. scientific
magnitude. writing, technical writing, IPR, regulation,
etc) can also be really useful. Training
The problem is further compounded by acquired during your postdoc tenure can
limited number of applicants for available prepare you to establish yourself as an
postdoc positions and vacancies not being independent professional in an area of
filled due to non-availability of suitable your choice.
candidates. If utilised and encouraged
properly, postdocs could contribute Postdoctoral training should be high
tremendously to scientific research intensity and designed to refine and
output since they don’t have teaching expand skills such as analytical thinking,
commitments, don’t have to worry about research techniques, public presentation
arranging funds like faculty, and don’t and professional writing. Do not treat
have coursework commitments like PhD postdoctoral training as a stopgap
students. In developed countries, postdocs arrangement and prepare your career
are paid almost at par with young faculty, development plan early. Refine your
while in India, postdocs are paid very goals in consultation with your mentor.
poorly. Another major problem faced by Try to pursue your career objectives
Indian postdocs is a clear preference for with determination and demonstrate
overseas-trained postdocs during faculty outstanding productivity in every aspect
hiring. Perhaps, including a component of your training. A postdoc is a great

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

time to learn how to function responsibly independently. During this time, try to
and autonomously. Demonstrating interact with your supervisor and
independent thinking and action can instil other faculty members for career and
confidence that you are ready to function research advice. investigators of funded projects for project

positions. Of course, individual fellowships

Postdoctoral give you a lot more freedom and flexibility

to join a laboratory of your choice.

Fellowships in Alongside securing a fellowship, you must

India develop greater clarity about the type of

research you are going to pursue and ideas
for specific projects. You should take help
Once you have decided that you wish
from faculty members, senior and present
to take up a postdoctoral position,
students in choosing good laboratories to
your first priority should be to search
which you can apply. You must start early
for postdoctoral fellowships and find
as vacancies in good laboratories get filled
out details such as eligibility, mode of
quickly. You need not wait for submission
application, selection process, important
of your PhD thesis and can start applying
deadlines etc. Postdoctoral fellowships
as soon as you have a good paper
in India are provided by different funding
published or accepted.
agencies like DBT-RA, Wellcome Trust/DBT
India Alliance, ICMR etc. These fellowships
Depending on your career choice, you
are updated from time to time and it would
should identify your goals and assess
be best to check the website of funding
your strengths and weaknesses. Choose
agency for up-to-date details.
a mentor who can inspire you to do
For details of different post doctoral
quality work and help you overcome
fellowships, number of fellowships per
your weaknesses. Look for leaders in
year, mode of selection, eligibility, website,
your area of interest. If you are looking
etc., please refer to Table 2.
for a career other than academia, then
In addition to these fellowships granted to you should identify probable mentors
individual postdocs, DST, DBT, CSIR, ICMR, who might have expertise in helping you
Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance also navigate the transition. Have informational
sponsor a number of research projects interviews with shortlisted mentors to
to faculty and scientists working in understand their position, experience and
universities or research laboratories which willingness to accept and supervise you.
have provisions for project-based Research Also determine if your prospective mentor
Associateships (RA) . If you do not have has guided others in achieving their career
an individual postdoctoral fellowship, you goals, academic or non-academic. This
can look for advertisements by principal would ensure that they are capable, willing

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Table 2: Details of a few fellowships for post doctoral students and/or principal investigators
Heading DBT-RA DBT-Wellcome Trust DBT-Wellcome DBT-Wellcome ICMR-PDF
India Alliance Early Trust India Trust India Alli-
Career Alliance Inter- ance Senior

Application Specific research Research proposal Research Research propos- -

Process proposal, mentor, and sponsor, pre- proposal al and sponsor,
presentation liminary application, and sponsor, preliminary
full application, preliminary application, full
interview application, full application,
application, interview

Number 100 All India - - - 50

25 NER

Eligibility PhD/MD/MS, 0-4 yrs. post PhD or 4-15 yrs. post 7-15 yrs. post PhD/MD/MS
in terms of submitted thesis upto 15 yrs. PhD or upto 15 PhD or upto within 3 years
degree MD/MS/MPH yrs. MD/MS/ 15 yrs. MD/MS/ of completion

Maximum 40 years, No Age restriction No Age restric- No Age 32 years for G,

age on cut 45 yrs. for tion restriction 37 years for SC/ST/
off date Women OBC/PH/Women

Nationality Indian No Nationality No Nationality No Nationality Indian

restriction restriction restriction

Duration 2 years, extend- 5 years 5 years 5 years 2 years, extendable

able upto 2 years by 1 year

Fellowship DBT RA 1- Rs. Rs. 10,36,800/-p.a. Rs. 13,82,400/- Rs. 16,12,800/- Rs. 50,000/-p.m.+
Amount 36,000/- p.m. + basic scientists p.a. basic p.a. basic scien- HRA, NPA as appli-
HRA scientists tists cable, Contingency
Rs. 13,44,000/-p.a.
Rs. 3 lakhs p.a.
DBT RA 2- Rs. clinicians+ Rs. 16,80,000/- Rs. 19,56,000/-
38,000/- p.m. + 25% NPA p.a. clinicians+ p.a. clinicians+
HRA 25% NPA 25% NPA
DBT RA 3- Rs.
40,000/- p.m. +

Place of work Any Indian Any Indian Any Indian Any Indian Re- ICMR Research
after availing Research Research Institute/ Research Insti- search Institute/ institute or Centre
fellowship Institute/ University, upto 2 tute/University, University, upto 2
University years anywhere in upto 2 years years anywhere in
world, except first anywhere in world, except first
and final year world, except and final year
first and final

Website https://biochem. www.indiaalliance. www.india www.india org
HRA- House Rent Allowance, NPA- Non Practicing Allowance, NER- North Eastern Region, RA- Research Associate,
PDF- Post Doctoral Fellowship

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

and equipped to help you achieve your faculty member from your research
aims. advisory committee (thesis committee)
who is familiar with your work. You should
When you are contacting prospective also add contact details of 3 references
advisors, please address them by name (phone number and email) in your CV
and do not send the same email to and mention in your mail that additional
different researchers. If you are working recommendation letters can be sent upon
from a common template, please make request. Please inform the people you
sure that you have changed all the details have listed as references that you have
before you send the email. In your cover applied for a postdoctoral position in a
letter, you must mention why you are particular laboratory and given their name
interested in that lab, how your interest as reference, so that they are not caught
matches with theirs, what project you want unawares if the PI gets in touch with them.
to work on if selected, etc. Once you have a Proofread your email, CV and proposed
lead for a postdoctoral position, prepare a research proposal for content, presentation
specific proposal indicating your proposed and grammar before sending. You can
objectives, methodology, work plan with also show it to your friends, seniors and
defined timelines as well as your previous supervisor and incorporate their feedback
experience and technical skills. appropriately. If you receive an offer, try
to visit the laboratory at least once before
Your official application can be
formally accepting to avoid any mismatch
accompanied with a recommendation
letter from your PhD supervisor or a faculty members or seniors and review

past literature in the field. Talk to past

Making the and present doctoral and postdoctoral

fellows in the prospective laboratory to

Most of your learn about the laboratory environment.

You can ask questions about academic

Postdoctoral freedom, flexibility, publication record,

career trajectories of former lab members
Tenure etc. Also assess whether the geographical
location of the laboratory and surroundings
suit you and will allow you to pursue
your academic as well as extra-curricular
1. Select an exciting position
interests. Finally, do not join a laboratory
in a good laboratory
if the science does not excite you.
To get a balanced view of the kind of
research done in the laboratory you are 2. Select a laboratory and project with
planning to join, discuss the science with scope to develop new skills
your probable mentor as well as other Try to make an effort to move out of

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

your comfort zone. Do not take up 6. Duration of postdoctoral tenure

a postdoctoral position in the same You must have clarity in your mind
laboratory from where you finished your regarding approximate duration of
PhD. Try to maximise your knowledge postdoctoral tenure. 3 years is a
and experience in diverse fields as it will reasonable time to get enough experience
expand your perspectives, enhance your and secure a position. If you do not
marketability, and aid your career growth. have an independent fellowship, find
out about the source and duration of
3. Have a backup plan funding before joining the laboratory.
You should consider taking up two An independent fellowship gives you
projects, one project which will satisfy immense independence and freedom to
your intellectual curiosity and one which choose institution, laboratory and mentor.
will give you publishable results even if Otherwise, your choices will be limited
the first project fails. Research is highly and you may be compelled to work with
unpredictable and even carefully planned an investigator who has a fellowship in his
projects may not give desired results. project. Accept a one-year position only if
So, having a backup plan is essential for you are joining the laboratory to master a
securing your future. particular technique or have prior postdoc
experience and need to take up short term
4. Choose a supervisor and project
assignment to acquire the requisite skills
in line with your career goals
or years of experience to become eligible
You should carefully choose a laboratory
for certain positions.
and supervisor who will help you achieve
your career goals. If you are looking for a 7. Evaluate growth potential
faculty position, then you must study the You must perform regular reviews of the
credentials of your mentor, the track record current status of research in your proposed
of the laboratory in producing high quality project to assess scope for contribution
publications, and placement of earlier by you. In rapidly advancing areas, it may
students. If you opt for a young mentor, so happen that your proposed work has
you will have the advantage of getting already been achieved by someone else.
more time and guidance and learning from In such a case, you may be required to
his fresh experience of securing a position, change your project accordingly.
while a senior mentor may be able to help
you in securing a job due to better contacts 8. Work in an emerging area
and network. Early entrants in an emerging area will have
an edge and prior experience can help you
5. Discuss authorship before capture such opportunities.
initiating a project
Develop an understanding with your 9. Progress monitoring
mentor about authorship in the very To build accountability, you should report
beginning to avoid conflicts and your progress regularly to your mentor. You
disappointments later on. should learn from your mentor’s experience

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

as he/she may also have navigated the to have demonstrated productivity and
same challenges which you are facing at creativity, refined your problem-solving
present. and scientific thinking skills, learnt oral
and written communication skills as well
After successful completion of as skills related to teaching, supervision,
postdoctoral tenure, you will be expected networking and teamwork.

a post doctoral position. PLOS

Suggested •
Computational Biology: 2(12): e 181.
Is India ready to boost its post doctoral
Further training. -

• Postdoc or not? Natural Science
• The postdoc series: Insights, options, postdoc-or-not-2/
careers. Naturejobs. - http://blogs.nature. • To do or not to do a postdoc.
com/naturejobs/2015/03/02/the-postdoc- IndiaBioscience. - https://indiabioscience.
series-insights-options-careers/ org/columns/opinion/to-do-or-not-to-do-a-
• The postdoc series: What comes postdoc
next? Naturejobs blog. - http://blogs. • The do’s and don’t’s of finding a good postdoc. -
postdoc-series-what-comes-next/ columns/opinion/the-dos-and-donts-of-
• The postdoc series: The plight of the finding-a-good-postdoc
postdoc. Naturejobs. - http://blogs. • Are we doing enough? IndiaBioscience. -
postdoc-series-the-plight-of-the-postdoc/ opinion/are-we-doing-enough
• The postdoc series: Postdocs in • Are we doing enough for today’s
industry. Naturejobs. - http://blogs. graduate student? | Emerald Insight -
postdoc-series-postdocs-in-industry/ doi/10.1108/09513540410563103/full/html
• The postdoc series: The podcast. • The curious case of the missing Indian
Naturejobs. - postdoc. -
naturejobs/2015/03/26/the-postdoc-series- columns/opinion/the-curious-case-of-the-
the-podcast/ missing-indian-postdoc
• Muniyappa,K. 2007. The role of • Postdoctoral culture. - https://
postdoctoral training for careers
in research and higher education. postdoctoral-culture
Current Science. 92(4): 450-454. • Need for a nationwide Indian
• Bourne, P.E. & Friedberg, I. 2006. postdoctoral association. - https://
Ten simple rules for selecting

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

postdoctoral-culture 2013. PLOS ONE.

• Careers of an elite cohort in U.S. basic • 12 tips to finding postdoctoral
life science postdoctoral fellows and mentors and labs. -https://www.asm.
the influence of their mentor’s citation org/Articles/2018/December/Careers-
record. BMC Med Educ 10:80. Education-Career-Options-Planning-13
• Ten simple rules for selecting a • Young investigator perspectives:
postdoctoral position-NCBI-NIH. - teaching and the postdoctoral experience: impact on transition. Am.
pmc1664706/ J. Physiol. Gastrointest Live. - https://
• Avoiding the postdoctoral glut:
an alternative route to a career in ajpgi.00007.2014
academia. 2000. Clin. Anat. • Enhancing graduate and post doctoral
• 5 ways postdocs can become top PhD education to create a sustainable
job candidates for industry positions. biomedical workforce. - https://www.
postdocs-become-top-phd-job-candidates- graduate-and-postdoc-education-for-a-
for-industry/ sustainable-workforce/
• Bourne, PE. 2007. Ten simple • Tlsty, T.D. Career advice for life
rules for graduate students. PLOS scientists II. The American Society
computational biology.- https://journals. for Cell Biology: 172-174. • Transitioning successfully from
journal.pcbi.0030229 postdoc to faculty - NIH Office of
• Are graduate students rational? Training -
Evidence from the market for assets/CSSlides2018.pdf
biomedical scientists.

Faculty positions are highly rewarding

3.2.3. as they provide an opportunity to shape

young minds. In India, faculty positions
Guidance for are available in universities, their affiliated

Taking up
colleges, autonomous colleges, and
autonomous institutes such as IITs, IISERs,

NIPERs etc. We have universities in the
public (central and state universities)

Positions in as well as private sectors. In general,

undergraduate teaching is performed

Academic in colleges affiliated to universities and

postgraduate teaching is confined to

Institutions university departments. However, in

some states, affiliated colleges offer both
undergraduate as well as postgraduate

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

teaching. Most university departments Some necessary skills are: a passion for
conduct primarily postgraduate teaching, simplifying complex scientific
teaching, while a few of them also offer concepts, engaging students and
undergraduate teaching. answering queries, being confident, patient,
innovative, committed and technology-
Normally, teachers in undergraduate savvy, good communication and leadership
colleges bear enormous teaching loads skills, remaining updated with latest
and are not expected to perform research. developments, and being willing to
However, in universities and institutions, in inculcate a value system in your students
addition to teaching postgraduate courses, by setting a positive example.
faculty members are expected to carry You should try to acquire teaching
out research, obtain funding, supervise experience by supervising tutorials or
research scholars and postdocs, and practicals as a PhD scholar or postdoctoral
manage funds and personnel. In addition fellow. You can also accept guest/visiting/
to teaching and research, faculty members contractual faculty positions for more
also have to take part in formulating, teaching experience which will give you an
revising and updating the curriculum. They added advantage over your competitors.
also need to evaluate assignments and Students who do not wish to go for
exam papers as well as prepare question a PhD or postdoc, can also opt for
papers for exams. teaching positions in schools and play
a role in inculcating scientific spirit and
To be eligible for faculty positions, temperament in young students. For
students need to clear the lecturership this, you can go for a BEd degree after
eligibility test conducted by CSIR-UGC completing your BSc or MSc and join as
NET(National Entrance test) or SLET/ Trained Graduate Teacher(TGT) or Post
SET (State Level Eligibility Test). In the Graduate Teacher (PGT). There are a large
last few years, a large number of new number of Government funded/aided,
educational institutions have been created Central, Navodaya, Sarvodaya as well as
by the government and several new private private schools in all parts of the country.
universities have also come up. In addition, Once you have decided to try for a faculty
there are a large number of vacancies in position in a university or educational
existing universities, which means there institute, you should be on the lookout for
are a large number of faculty positions advertisements for faculty positions as
available. However, a large number of fresh well as insider information for probable
PhDs are produced every year and several vacancies, hiring criteria and expectations.
students with postdoctoral experience are You could also opt for scientist positions in
also looking for jobs. autonomous research institutions of DST,
DBT, ICMR, ICAR, CSIR laboratories which
For securing a faculty position, you need will give you a lot of freedom and flexibility
a sound track record of publications. You to pursue research without teaching
must also evaluate your skills to see if responsibility except supervising PhD and
a teaching position is a good fit for you. post-doc students.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

You should devote time for networking with how and why you are the most suitable
relevant mentors with common research candidate, what value you will add to the
interests and go through websites of department and who can be your potential
funding agencies to know their funding collaborators.
priorities and screening process. You
should try to align your research interest The research statement should cover the
with the priorities of funding agencies and novelty and importance of your work and
formulate a research proposal. In India, its applicability to the advertised post. It
in general, only faculty who hold regular should also mention your track record and
positions are eligible to apply for grants. significant contributions as well as your
Therefore you should explore, with your vision and proposed future research work.
supervisor or mentor in university where You must indicate clearly the direction your
vacancy is likely to arise, whether you research would take once you are selected
can submit joint research proposals. This for the faculty post as this would instil
experience of writing and defending a confidence in hiring committee that you
research proposal would give you an edge have the potential to be an independent
over other applicants. researcher and guide students.

Similarly, you should devote your energy The teaching statement should include
and time to gaining teaching experience, your teaching assignments as a PhD or
writing papers, reviews, blogs and popular postdoctoral fellow, e.g. involvement in
articles and learning new techniques. practicals for postgraduate students,
Keep challenging and updating yourself preparation of laboratory manuals, course
continuously so that your application work or assignment preparation and
stands out. evaluation, participation in curriculum
formulation and revision exercise, etc.
You should prepare a nice job application
which consists of five components: Cover You will need a number of
letter, CV, Research statement, Teaching recommendation letters (the numbers
statement and Letters of recommendation. may vary for different universities) to
Try to update your personal webpage (or accompany your applications. You
LinkedIn profile) with your publications, should get one letter from each of your
research interests as hiring committees supervisors, one or two letters from
might want to verify your particulars. faculty members in your research advisory
Your CV should include a summary of committee who are well conversant with
your research interests, publications, your work, and one letter preferably from
presentations, job experience, teaching outside your parent institution. Please
credentials, awards and honours, etc. brief the referees about your work, career
The cover letter should be customised choice and expectations, so that they can
to the specific post and should include a comment objectively about the impact of
statement on why you are applying for that your work.
particular post. You should also mention

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Good universities or institutes often receive postdoc also makes a difference.

thousands of applications for each post
advertised and generally they may not Research Area
shortlist more than a dozen applicants for In addition to a strong CV and excellent
the interview. Your job application should recommendation letters, factors like how
stand out and you should keep an open your research area will complement and
mind while applying for jobs. Don’t be very supplement the research already being
choosy while applying for jobs initially. If conducted in the department, whether you
you are lucky and have more than one job can teach classes in gap areas, whether
offer, you can opt for the one that suits you you have potential collaborators etc. are
best. also key to your selection.

Usually, hiring committees meet several Recommendation Letters

times a year to go through received Your recommendation letters should reflect
applications and decide important factors your technical and intellectual capability,
for shortlisting candidates for interviews. A research interests, and how you advanced
few important factors considered by hiring science in your research area through your
committees in shortlisting candidates for contributions. They can also talk about
interview are described below: your teaching style, your personality, etc.
As a job applicant, you may have very
Qualifications and Publication Record little control over the recommendation
First author publications in good journals letters. So, you should select your referees
help a lot. Conference presentations as judiciously, talk to them beforehand
first author and best poster/paper awards explaining your work and expectations
will also increase the likelihood of you from the letter (i.e. what areas it should
being considered for the position. The cover) and address their questions and
status/rank of the university or institution concerns.
from where you completed your PhD or will have a number of one-on-one meetings

with faculty, deans, director of research,

Interview vice chancellor etc, you should research

your probable interviewers beforehand.

Process Go through their personal websites, their

LinkedIn profiles, the university
website, etc.
Faculty job interviews include several steps
such as job talk/presentation, interaction If you are required to give a presentation,
with hiring committee, interactions with try to prepare your slides in a universal
faculty, deans, directors, students, etc. format like PDF to avoid any compatibility
Dress formally for the interview as this issues and in addition to having your
demonstrates your seriousness. As you presentation on your laptop, carry it on

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

a USB stick and email it to yourself so size, present number of faculty and their
that it can be accessed from anywhere. specializations, growth trajectory, new
Proofread the presentation carefully and initiatives planned by the department,
also seek feedback from your seniors, areas you will be expected to teach,
colleagues and supervisors. Your funding status, scope for expansion etc.
presentation is expected to serve the dual After the interview, send a thank you note
purpose of presenting your significant reiterating your interest and enthusiasm
research contributions and showcasing for the job. Be patient as the hiring process
your teaching ability. Your slides should be takes time and a decision will be made only
self explanatory. Try not to put too much after all candidates have been interviewed.
data or text on slides as it can be very It is a good idea to keep in touch in the
distracting. meantime.

Your talk should be tailor-made to the Sometimes you may get a direct offer,
audience as the interview committee may while at other times, if there are several
have subject specialists as well as people good candidates, employers may try to
from science management, administration ascertain your seriousness about taking
etc. Talk about the importance of your up the job before issuing an offer letter. A
research area, your key contributions, few universities also give you a time-limit
implications and impact of your work, for joining to ensure that you cannot delay
problems you faced and how you solved the decision for too long. Once you get a
them, and finally, your vision for future formal offer, find out about the salary (this
research. You should rehearse your is often standard and non-negotiable in
presentation beforehand and try to practice public sector universities and institutions
before unfamiliar audiences. Prepare a list except that you may be given a few
of probable questions and replies to them. increments), laboratory space, seed grant
You may also record your presentation and to initiate your laboratory, the number of
check your body language, pronunciation students who can register for PhD in your
mistakes, etc. lab etc. If you have several job offers and
have made up your mind not to accept a
An interview should be a conversation particular offer, politely decline to avoid
and not an interrogation. You should blocking someone else’s chance and
also prepare a few questions for the delaying the hiring process, which ends up
interviewers like teaching load, class having repercussions for the students.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Further • Academic job applications: five

mistakes to avoid. - https://www.
• 2019 Career Handbook – Science
• Academic job hunt advice: Tips
Careers by Journal Science-
for searching for and landing a
professorship. -
• 10th Annual NIH Career Symposium
• Career Services - NIH Office of
Newsletter 2017. -
Intramural Training and Education
(OITE) -
• Maximise your chances of landing a
faculty job. Science, AAAS. - https://

3.3. Moreover, you will have acquired

competencies like negotiation skills,

Non-academic experience in qualitative and quantitative

analysis, problem solving skills, ability to

Careers plan a project and adhere to time schedule,

working independently with minimum
supervision, ability to communicate
It is well known fact that most countries
effectively to diverse audiences etc. At
produce more PhDs than the number of
this point, you need to introspect and do
jobs available in the higher education and
a realistic evaluation about job prospects
research sectors. But you should not get
based on your interest, passion and
demoralised by this as there is a wealth
skills. You might have enjoyed a lack of
of rewarding job options in many fields
supervision and freedom to pursue any
outside academia and research. Some
project of your interest while in academics;
of these include industry positions such
this is something you may need to forgo
as R&D, production/manufacturing, QA/
in other professions where you would be
QC, marketing, regulation, IP, consultancy,
needed to work on projects as per your
equity research, as well as sectors such as
employer’s requirements. Believe me, you
science policy, technical writing, science
will not regret your decision to diversify and
communication, bioinformatics, core
utilise your training in a meaningful way in
facility management, etc. Upon completing
a new field.
your PhD, you will have gained knowledge
and learnt specialised techniques.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

3.3.1. and keep reinventing yourself as per your


Guidance The biotechnology industry can be

for Students broadly classified into four categories,

viz. biopharmaceuticals, bioagriculture,

Willing to bioservices and bioinformatics. The

Biopharma sector covers biosimilars,

Transition to molecular diagnostics, vaccines, natural

product based drug discovery, biomedical

Industry devices, genomic testing and regenerative

medicine. The Bioagri sector consists of
crop biotechnology (transgenic crops,
Many students do not have enough
hybrid varieties, molecular marker
knowledge about career options other than
assisted breeding, plant tissue culture,
academia because of lack of exposure
biofertilizers, biopesticides etc.), animal
and awareness. Supervisors and other
biotechnology (animal breeding, drugs,
faculty members are also often not able
vaccines, diagnostics, nutraceuticals,
to guide students into this transition given
feed, etc.), aquaculture, biofuels, etc. The
their own unfamiliarity with the industry
Bioservices sector includes clinical and
ecosystem. As a PhD, you should not
contract research services and finally,
confine yourself to only traditional careers
Bioinformatics has applications in all
in academia and research, and should also
biotechnology sectors, including creating
look at non-traditional career options. Try
and managing databases and software
to understand the opportunities available
tools, in silico drug designing, genome
and gain in-depth knowledge of different
sequencing, etc.
career options. Understanding changing
trends in industry can also help you make Career opportunities in the biotechnology
an intelligent and well informed decision industry can be broadly classified into
which suits your aptitude and goals. the sectors of Research & Development
Try to take time out to study the skill- (R&D), production/manufacturing, Quality
sets required by different career options Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC),
and see how you can best position marketing/management, technology
yourself for a particular career of your procurement/transfer, management of
choice. Make a list of your technical and intellectual property and regulatory affairs,
transferable skills (e.g. research, teaching, technical writing, etc. Career opportunities
training, handling equipment, managing under each category require general
grants, personnel, time, multi-tasking, scientific qualifications along with
troubleshooting, decision making, etc.) sector-specific training and specialisation.
and make a wholehearted effort to chase In the next section, we shall take a look
your dream career. Don’t give up until at specific requirements of each of
you succeed in finding your dream job these sectors.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Suggested skills-that-give-an-edge-when-applying-for-

Further • Advice on biotechnology career

options in India and abroad. - http://

• Break into the biotech industry. -
• PhD jobs: How to transition from
academia to business. - https:// mg21428692-800-break-into-the-biotech- industry/
• Why earning a PhD is an advantage • Top 10 list of alternative careers for
in today’s industry job market - https:// PhD Science. - https://cheekyscientist. com/top-10-list-of-alternative-careers-for-
00097-x phd-science-graduates/
• How to sail smoothly from academia • Science Careers in Industry: Top
to industry. Nature 555 : 549-551. Ten Myths | OITE Careers Blog
• Top 10 alternative biotech career - https://oitecareersblog.wordpress.
options outside the research lab. - com/2016/05/09/science-careers-in- industry-top-ten-myths/
alternative-biotech-career-options-outside- • Top 20 industry positions for Ph.D.’s
the-research-lab/ – Cheeky Scientist- 2016 edition. -
• 12 careers for life scientists outside
of the lab. - • Where do I begin? Industry careers for
article/12-careers-for-life-scientists-outside- scientists. - https://www.cheekyscientist.
of-the-lab-/ com
• Alternative careers for biotechnology • Careers in Science : Expanding
& life science graduates. - https:// the horizon. E resource book by IndiaBioscience. - https://indiabioscience.
careers-for-biotechnology-life-science- org/careers-in-science
graduates-hot-jobs-outside- • Leaving academia : How to get a job in
• Top 10 list of alternative careers industry after your Ph.D. - https://www.
for PhD science graduates. - https:// phd/
alternative-careers-for-phd-science- • From academia to industry: seven tips
graduates/ for scientists making the leap - https://
• 5 strategies to jumpstart a stagnant
career. - 00692-y
strategies-to-jumpstart-a-stagnant-career/ • How to sail smoothly from academia
• 10 skills that will give you an edge to industry. Nature 555 :549-551.
when applying for management • Research in industry: A great career
positions - choice: Naturejobs Blog - http://blogs.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students -
research-in-industry-a-great-career-choice/ future-do-you-want-scarcity-in-academia-or-
• Why it is not a failure to leave abundance-in-industry/
academia. - • 10 Signs You’ll Like Working in Biotech
articles/d41586-018-05838-y - Bitesize Bio - https://bitesizebio.
• Which future do you want? Scarcity in com/4367/10-signs-youll-like-working-in-
academia or abundance in industry. biotech/ and business trends and accordingly,

decide new projects to be initiated or

Research & prioritise existing projects. In a business

environment, timelines for completion

Development of projects and definite milestones need

to be defined and efforts to complete
project within initially stipulated budget
In the technology-intensive areas of are highly relevant (otherwise, you may
biotechnology, continuous innovation lose to your competitors and economic
including modification of existing prod- viability of product will suffer due to time
ucts and development of new products is and cost over-run). Collaboration with
essential and hence, a strong Research & product development, marketing, financial
Development (R&D) program is a must for and regulatory teams is essential, and
any company’s success. If you possess hence, excellent interpersonal skills are
hands-on skills and experience with highly valued. You are expected to multi-
specific models and techniques, have a task since you need to manage your
deep understanding of different technol- team and budget at the same time as
ogies, are a quick learner who is willing evaluating scientific data and maintaining
to work under strict time schedules, then collaboration with other groups to ensure
becoming an R&D scientist/manager could logical conclusion of your projects.
be the right career choice for you.
As a research scientist/manager, you
will be required to design/carry out Key Skills
experiments and do bench research • Hands-on experience in cutting edge
as an important component of your techniques
projects. You will also be required to • In-depth subject knowledge
align projects undertaken by your team • Being a quick learner and being
with the vision and strategy of your able to assimilate and absorb new
company and ensure judicious and developments to introduce appropriate
appropriate utilization of resources. You modifications in work plans
will have to interact with the marketing • Interpersonal skills
team to understand consumer interests • Time management skills to ensure

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

timely implementation of projects

• Team management skills - allocating
work to team members according Potential Employers*
to their capability and maintaining Biotechnology Companies
harmony in the group Biopharma: Biocon, Bangalore: Serum
• Judicious allocation and utilisation of Institute of India, Pune, Panacea Biotec
financial resources Ltd., Delhi, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Ltd., Hyderabad, Wockhardt, Mumbai,
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd.,
Mumbai, Bharat Serums and Vaccines
Key Responsibilities Ltd., Mumbai, Indian Immunologicals Ltd.,
• Organising brainstorming sessions to Hyderabad, Shantha Biotechnics Ltd.,
discuss and finalise new ideas Hyderabad
• Remaining up-to-date with advanced BioAgri: Rasi Seeds, Salem, National
R&D developments Agro Industry, Ludhiana, Poabs Organic
• Understanding customer expectations Estates, Tiruvalla, Monsanto India, Mumbai,
on to-be manufactured products Advanta India Ltd., Hyderabad, Lemken
• Planning and implementing new India Agro Equipments Pvt. Ltd., Nagpur,
programs and protocols Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd., Hyderabad, DuPont
• Performing experiments and analysing India, Gurugram, Rallies India Ltd., Akola
data Bioinformatics Companies
• Establishing project goals and (Please refer
priorities by collaborating with
marketing and production teams * The lists of companies in differents
• Overseeing development of new sectors in this chapter are illustrative and
products from the initial planning not exhaustive.They have been compiled as
guidance material for students to encourage
phase to implementation or production
them to learn about different career options
• Coordinating transfer of new
by looking at the website of some of these
technologies, products and
companies. IndiaBioscience is not in
manufacturing processes
any way connected with these companies nor
• Suggesting training tools to enhance is endorsing them.
employee performance and skill

Suggested Further Reading

Sample Job Titles • 10 In-demand biotechnology careers
Sr. Research Scientist, Sr. Scientist
shaping our future. - www.northeastern.
Analytical, Research Scientist, R&D edu/graduate/blog
Research Associate, R&D Laboratory • Research & development manager job
Technician, Technical Research Associate, description. -
Technical Service & Application research_development_manager_job_
Development Scientist, Intern-R&D description_salary.html

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students into the market. They have to boost the

commercial success of new products and

Product oversee the phasing out of older products.

Product managers serve as a bridge

Management between customers and the production

and marketing teams.

Product managers develop products

(diagnostic kits, vaccines, new drugs,
Key Skills
fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), conduct market
• Subject area knowledge
research, identify potential products,
• Coordinating with cross-functional
plan product requirements, determine
specifications, decide production
• Interpersonal skills
timetables, plan pricing and market launch,
• Communication skills (oral, written,
etc. They work with internal teams and
stakeholders to generate ideas and then
• Leadership skills
prioritise ideas as per the company’s
vision. If you are excited about taking
laboratory innovation to the market and
taking it to a logical conclusion and Key Responsibilities
commercial success, you should explore a • Generating and prioritising ideas
career as a product manager. for products
• Creating and updating roadmap
Product managers analyse market trends/
for projects
potential and identify potential products
• Planning strategy for product
by evaluating market requirements and
development and coordinating tasks
take decisions in line with the company’s
and timetables for implementation
strategy. They also collaborate with
of plan
the marketing wing of the company for
• Leading cross-functional teams and
positioning products for market launch.
keeping senior management updated
They are expected to look beyond and
• Adjusting project plans in light of
ahead of time and competitors to get them
new information and feedback and
early entrant advantage and gain insights
communicating changes to key
into future opportunities, as well as to
anticipate challenges and competitive
• Conducting customer research,
threats. They have to assimilate
analysing feedback, promotional
information from different sources and
material for new features
come up with sound strategic alternatives
to existing products. Product managers
are responsible for improving the market
penetration of existing products as well Sample Job Titles
as bringing new products and services Senior Product Manager, Technical Product

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Manager, Product Manager, Assistant

Product Manager, Manufacturing Product • Viral Marketing and How to Craft
Manager, Retail Product Manager Contagious Content - https://www.

Potential Employers*
Biotechnology Companies (Pl. refer
Biotechnology Equipment manufacturers ,
Suggested Further Reading
Biotechnology Reagent suppliers
• How to become a product manager
(please refer
in India. -
• How to get a product manager job
within life sciences | Proclinical blogs -
Relevant Online Courses
• Brand and Product Management
• Forget the MBA. Here’s the fastest way
• Strategic Leadership and Management to become a product manager -
strategic-leadership heres-the-fastest-way-to-become-a-product-
• Strategic Management and Innovation manager-b3a230a7c055
- • What does a product manager in a
strategic-management pharma/biotech company do? - https://
• Digital Product Management: Modern

Fundamentals- https://www.coursera. manager-in-a-pharma-biotech-company-d

management Quality control is a system of maintaining

standards of manufactured products by

Quality Control testing samples of the output against

prescribed quality specifications. As a

& Quality quality assurance manager, you will be

required to ensure implementation of all

Assurance the planned and systematic activities

that are prescribed by the quality system.

Management Compliance to quality control standards

provides confidence to management,
regulators, certifiers, customers and

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

government agencies about the quality of quality of produced goods, have good
product or service under consideration. interpersonal skills, and are willing to work
If you do not want to be a bench-level with cross-functional teams, you could
scientist, are ready to familiarise yourself consider a career in quality assurance and/
with rules and regulations to ensure or control.
Quality Control Key responsibilities
• Understanding specifications and

Manager •
prescribed norms and guidelines
Monitoring operations to ensure that
production standards are met
• Recommending adjustments to the
assembly or production process
Key skills • Inspecting, testing or measuring
• Critical thinking materials or products being
• Complex problem solving manufactured
• Monitoring/assessing performance • Discussing inspection results with
and taking corrective measures production team
• Systems analysis and evaluation
• Time management
• Decision making and cost-benefit
analysis Sample Job Titles
• Operations analysis and Quality control inspector, Quality control
technology design manager, Quality control analyst, Quality
• Quality control analysis, inspection control specialist, Quality supervisor,
of products, services or processes to Quality systems manager
evaluate quality and performance
Quality Key Skills

• Excellent technical knowledge & skills
• Planning and organisational skills

Manager •

Teamwork and collaboration
Problem solving and critical thinking
• Communication & interpersonal skills
• Updated knowledge about national
and international standards

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students
• PG diploma courses in quality
Key responsibilities assurance. -
• Determining, negotiating and setting • Industry Program in Pharma Quality
in-house quality procedures, standards Assurance and Quality Control - http://
and specifications for quality, health
and safety of products Quality_Assurance_and_Quality_Control
• Working with operating staff to
establish procedures, standards and
systems Potential Employers *
• Acting as a catalyst for change and Biotechnology Companies
improvement in performance and (Please refer,
quality of products Biotechnology Equipment manufacturers,
• Monitoring and ensuring compliance Biotechnology Reagent suppliers
of standards in manufacturing (Please refer
• Assessing customer requirements and
ensuring these are met
• Setting customer service standards Suggested Further Reading
• Scope of Quality Assurance and scope
of Chemistry in ... - PharmaTutor
Sample Job Titles -
Quality assurance manager, Quality question-and-answers/scope-of-quality-
assurance officer, Quality assurance assurance-and-chemistry-in-pharmaceutical-
analyst, Quality assurance associate, industry.html
Quality assurance coordinator, Reliability/ • Quality control | Biotech Careers -
safety engineer, Quality engineer, QA/QC
manager quality-control
• Quality control (QC) and quality
assurance (QA) in pharma and ... -
• Online Quality assurance courses.
• What does a quality control inspector
do? ‐ CareerExplorer - https://www.
• Top online courses in Quality
Management 2018/2019.- https:// • What Does A Quality Control Inspector Do? - Career Explorer - https://www.
• Quality assurance training and inspector/
certification online- https://www. • What is the difference between QC

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

and QA in pharmaceuticals? - Quora the-difference-between-QC-and-QA-in-

- pharmaceuticals
Human Key Responsibilities
• Ensuring that the business is legally
Resource (HR) compliant in all HR activities

• Assisting in hiring, developing
job descriptions, finalising job
advertisements, screening and
interviewing candidates
Human resource specialists are expected • Projecting company positively to new
to oversee efficient running of the recruits, carrying out orientation of
workplace, employee satisfaction and new hires, overseeing contract signing
productivity. Their responsibilities include • Processing transfers, promotions and
creating and placing job advertisements, terminations
screening applications, scheduling • Developing employee reward and
and conducting interviews as well as recognition schemes to drive
implementing programs and services such excellence
as talent acquisition, staffing, employment • Providing information about
processing, health and welfare benefits HR policies, job duties, working
for employees etc. If you love to interact conditions, wages, opportunities for
with people and enjoy improving employee promotion and benefits to present and
prospective employees
welfare and productivity, you could
• Managing and implementing an
consider a career as a human resource
effective employee performance
manager. To gain experience, you could
review system
start work as a freelance recruiter,
• Addressing and resolving employment
recruitment consultant, career adviser etc.
relations issues such as complaints,
harassment, sexual harassment
allegations etc.
• Interfacing with recruitment agencies
Key Skills
• Influencing, facilitating and
• Up-to-date knowledge of HR policy,
implementing HR policy
legal provisions
• Negotiating with a range of
stakeholders such as senior
management, experts, employees Sample Job Titles
• Positive, confident, accessible and Human Resource Manager, HR specialist,
friendly personality HR consultant, HR recruiter, Personnel

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

coordinator, Technical recruiter, Job • Postgraduate Diploma in Human

placement specialist, Employee interviewer, Resource Management - https://www.
HR assistant, Hiring manager, Talent
acquisition manager, Training and human-resources/pgdhrm.aspx
development manager, Compensation
and benefits specialist, Labour relations
manager, Employee assistance plan
Potential Employers*
Biotechnology Companies (Please refer
Placement Agencies: Radial HR Solutions,
Bangalore, ABC Consultants, Kolkata,
ARGC Manpower Consultants, Mumbai
• Post-Bachelor’s and Graduate
Certificates in Human Resource ...
Suggested Further Reading
• Distance Post Graduate Diploma in HR
• Top 10 Biotech Jobs With Good Future
Management |-
Career Opportunity - BioTecNika -
• Distance PG Diploma in Human
Resource Management - https://www.
• Changing Role of HR Managers in
• PGDM, Post Graduation Diploma in
Pharmaceutical Industry - http://
HR, Human Resource Management
management/ roles or performing active bench science,

marketing is the perfect choice. Life

Technical science students generally do not think

very highly of marketing jobs and this

Sales and mindset needs to change as marketing is

not only a financially rewarding career but

Marketing also plays an important role in bringing

innovative products to the market. In
Specialists a marketing role, you are expected to
interact with professionals such as
researchers, scale-up scientists, clinicians
For students who wish to remain in science etc. and introduce them to your company’s
and love to interact with new people but innovative products (e.g. new diagnostic
are not interested in traditional academic kits, new drug molecules, new vaccines,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

etc) so as to encourage them to use • Oral presentation and Technical

these products. The process should not, writing skills
hence, be confused with the marketing
of conventional products. In addition to
scientific and technical knowledge, training
in analysing large amounts of data and Key Responsibilities
comparing strength and weaknesses of • Facilitating product advancement from
one method or technique with another are development stage to implementation
very handy tools for students who wish to stage
transition to marketing roles. If you have • Adapting to changing scenarios within
good technical knowledge, are aware of the company and market
the latest scientific developments, have • Convincing users about latest
excellent communication skills and ability scientific advances and strengths of
to convince others, marketing could be the the product
perfect career choice for you. • Interacting with prospective clients
and suggesting appropriate products
for their needs and providing
customised solutions, whenever
Key Skills possible
• Technical knowledge of the relevant • Developing promotional material for
scientific sector and scientific medical representatives, regulatory
products agencies, general public, etc.
• Interpersonal skills to interact
with R&D, scale-up and production
teams, as well as stakeholders
such as clinicians, medical Sample Job Titles
representatives, etc. Manager- Business Development,
• Being detail-oriented Manager - Sales & Marketing, Sales Head,
• Analytical and quantitative skills for Marketing Executive, Sales Executive,
preparing techno-economic feasibility Executive- Customer Relations, Business
reports for new products, which cover Development Executive, Cluster Sales
details such as market size, other Manager, Sales & Relationship Manager,
major players, possible competitors, HR & Marketing Manager, Key Account
how to convince investors, leadership Manager (Sales & Client Relationship)
and management etc.
• Interfacing between scientists and
consumers by providing requirements
and feedback of users to scientists Potential Employers *
• Knowledge of marketing requirements Biotechnology Companies (please refer
• Understanding of commercial, Bioinformatics Companies
landscape, knowledge about business (please refer, Biotechnology
competitors and their existing and Equipment manufacturers , Biotechnology
upcoming products Reagent suppliers (please refer

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Training Suggested Further Reading

• MBA in Biotechnology by Punjab • Five ways to develop effective
University, Savitribai Phule University business communication skills. -
of Pune, Amity University, MBA in
agri-business management by UAS, five-ways-to-develop-effective-business-
Bangalore, UAS, Dharwad, MBA communication-skills
courses run by IIMs, other institutions • Top 5 List of Transferable Job Skills
Relevant Online Courses Biotech & Biopharma Companies ...
• Market Research - https://www.coursera. -
org/specializations/market-research transferable-job-skills-biotech-biopharma-
• Market Research & Consumer companies-look-for-in-phds/
Behavior - • 6 Soft Skills That Are Highly Valued in
market-research Biotech Sales & Marketing ...- https://
• Marketing Strategy -https://www. marketing-sales-skills-6-soft-skills-highly-
strategy valued-biotech-candidates/
• Business Analytics - https://www. • Skills For Successful Career In Biotech Sector - Top 10 Skill List - https://
• Business Strategies for Emerging successful-career-in-biotech-sector-top-10-
Markets - skill-list/
business-strategies Technical writers need to have a good

command over language, writing and

Technical communication skills, as well as subject

knowledge, an analytical mind and critical

Writing thinking. Proficiency in creating appropriate

visual aids is also a plus.

Technical writers are skilled wordsmiths As a technical writer, you should know
who distil complex technical information how to ask questions and who are
and produce documents in easy to the best people to be approached for
understand and simple language. They answers in order to present a balanced
have to follow a user-oriented approach to view while maintaining ethical standards.
prepare documents, keeping in mind the You will be expected to communicate
requirements of the target audience. These with subject specialists from different
documents should not have any ambiguity departments within the company (e.g.
and clarity is of utmost importance. product development team, engineering

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

team, marketing team, etc.) to understand • Critical thinking for reasoned and clear
processes, identify logical gaps and seek judgements
clarifications if there is ambiguity. You will • Creative writing and design skills
also need to manage expectations and • Interviewing and listening skills
deadlines. • Curiosity and willingness to learn new
Technical writing can have many different • Team work (collaboration with
forms, and can include developing user subject specialists), accepting and
manuals, developers guides, installation assimilating feedback
manuals, help documents, tutorials, press • Grasp of technology
releases, print ads, online ads, banners, • Usability testing
business proposals, product descriptions,
product specifications, technical reports,
documents, scientific papers, review
articles, blogs, articles, website content Key Responsibilities
and more. As a technical writer, you can be • Determining needs of end users of
involved in regulatory writing, writing and technical document
editing grant applications, manuscripts, • Studying product samples, interacting
freelance writing, etc. There are ample with subject specialists and product
employment opportunities for technical developers to make easy-to-use
or medical writing even in biotech and products
pharma companies, contract research • Writing/developing and standardising
organizations, and market research user-friendly content to meet the
companies. needs of the target audience
• Standardising content across
As a technical writer, you should ensure platforms and media
readability of your document by using • Gathering usability feedback from
proper formatting and design choices as customers, designers, manufacturers
well as validate and proofread documents and revise document as per feedback
to ensure accuracy and user-friendliness. If
you have the ability to evaluate and analyse
complex information and a willingness to Sample Job Titles
help non-technical people understand this Technical writer, Junior technical writer,
information, you could consider a career as Technical editors, Technical content
a technical writer. developer, Content editor/manager/writer,
Communication specialist, Web writer

Key Skills
• Subject area knowledge Potential Employers *
• Analytical mind and attention to Biotech Equipment Manufacturers :
details Bionics Scientific Technologies (P) Ltd,
• Research and exploration skills Delhi, ACMAS Technologies Pvt. Ltd,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Sonepat, Biotechnologies INC, Labtop NID, Ahmedabad, IIT, Mumbai, MS

Instruments Private Limited, Mumbai, University of Baroda, Pearl Academy
Advance Scientific Equipment Pvt. Ltd, Relevant Online Courses
Mumbai • Technical Writing - https://www.coursera.
Biotech Reagent Suppliers : Organo org/learn/technical-writing
Biotech Laboratories (P) Ltd., New Delhi, • Writing in the Sciences - https://www.
Recombigen Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.,
New Delhi, BR Biochem Life Sciences
Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, Sanofi India Ltd.,
Mumbai, Marion Biotech Pvt. Ltd., Noida,
Bioimagene India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai Suggested Further Reading
Advertising agencies: Lintas Media • Technical Writing in the
Group, Mumbai, Creative Media & Pharmaceutical Industry - http://www.
Marketing, New Delhi
Biotechnology Companies (Pl. refer blogs/technical-writing-pharmaceutical-
• Technical Writing for Pharmaceutical
and Biotech Companies 101 -https://
• Industry Certificate in Medical Writing technical-writing-for-pharmaceutical-
by Institute of Good Manufacturing companies-101
Practices India - https://www.igmpiindia. • Five Skills Every Technical Writer
org/MWIndustrycertification.html Needs | I’d Rather Be Writing - https://
• Advanced PG Diploma in Clinical
Research & Medical Writing by James skills-every-technical-writer-needs/
Lindt Institute - • Technical Writing for the
course/advanced-pg-diploma-in-clinical- Pharmaceutical, Medical Device
research-medical-writing/ and Biotech Industries- https://www.
• Mass communication course by Jamia
Millia Islamia University, New Delhi for-the-pharmaceutical-medical-device-and-
• Course on Graphic Design, Visual biotech-industries-webinar-training-704531-
Communication, Animation at prdw

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students impact business or investment decisions.

This also offers great opportunities to

Consultancy, network with people and build connections,

which can be very useful if you have

Business entrepreneurial aspirations and decide to

launch your own start-up at a later date.

Development This career path can also be very rewarding

as you will be instrumental in bringing new
& Equity innovations to the market for the benefit

of society. While scientific skills alone are
not enough to succeed this field, those
with a PhD degree are usually preferred for
leadership positions over MBAs without
If in addition to scientific and technical
a scientific background, since knowledge
skills, you have a flair for business, are
of the core discipline is key for success.
gifted with good communication skills
Business related skills can either be
and love to interact with people from
acquired while on the job or by taking up
diverse backgrounds, consultancy,
management-related courses.
business development and equity research
may be suitable career paths for you.
Your work will involve preparing feasibility
reports to convince investors about the
economic viability of project or product, Key Skills
evaluating new inventions/product/ • Keeping up with recent advancements
technology to determine if they are worthy in the field
of investment, identifying new investment • Ability to conduct competitive analysis
opportunities etc. • Good communication skills (oral and
You will need to be aware of the • Interpersonal skills and networking
latest technological and commercial • Multi-tasking, coordinating multiple
developments in the sector of your choice. projects and working in a time-
Potential employers may include venture sensitive environment
capital firms or large private companies
involved in corporate venture capital. You
will be expected to conduct in-depth SWOT
Key Responsibilities
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
• Assisting companies in expanding
Threats) analysis of new invention(s), in
and diversifying customer base by
order to identify its competitive advantages
acquiring new customers and selling
and predict chances of its success. This
additional products/services to
job puts a lot of responsibility on your
existing customers
shoulders as you will be generating
• Analysing financial data and public
actionable insights which will materially
records of companies to predict

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

company’s financial scenario

• Providing research support to the
investors and facilitating decision
making about best investment
• MBA, MBA with specialisation in
financial analysis, MFA (Master of
science in financial analysis), Master
Sample Job Titles of Science in Finance, Certification as
Senior business insight director, Business Chartered Financial Analyst, CA, CPA,
development officer, Manager business Ph.D and Post Doc in Life sciences
development, Business development or Biotechnology with appropriate
executive, Business executive, Business training or inclination
development manager, Research analyst, Relevant Online Courses
Equity analyst, Data analyst, Credit analyst, • Equity Research - SLA Consultants
Financial analyst, Investment advisor,
India - https://www.slaconsultantsindia.
Quantitative analyst
• Equity Research and Financial
Potential Employers * Modeling - ForeVision - http://www.
Venture Capitalists: Nadathur Holdings
and Investments Pvt. Ltd., Accel Partners managerial-skills-equity-research.php
and Karnataka Information Technology
Venture Capital Fund (Kitven), ( Karnataka
Government Backed Fund, raised funding
from Karnataka State Industrial Bank), Suggested Further Reading
APIDC Venture Capital Ltd., MPM Capital • Pharmaceutical consultancy: a view to
Consultancy Firms: Ernst & Young, a skill - Nature -
Gurugram, Mckinsey & Company, articles/nrd782.pdf?origin=ppub
Bangalore, Mumbai, L.E.K. Consulting, • Business forecasting : understanding
Mumbai, New Delhi, SGS India, Voisin the basics. - https://www.investopedia.
Consulting Life Sciences, Bangalore com/articles/financial-theory/11/basics-
Equity Research Firms : business-forcasting.asp
Indian: CLSA India, Mumbai, Motilal Oswal, • What is a business analyst? A key
India Infoline , Edelweiss, Anand Rathi, role for business-IT efficiency. - https://
SBI Capital, ICICI Securities, JM Financial,
Emkay, Axis Securities, IDFC Securities, management-what-do-business-analysts-
Kotak Securities, SPARK Capital actually-do-for-software-imple
Global Players: JP Morgan, Morgan • Biotech Consultant: Job Description
Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Requirements - https://
Goldman Sachs, Macquire, Nomura, CLSA
Biotechnology Companies (Pl. refer Job_Description_and_Requirements.html

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• Financial Analyst vs. Financial professionals/091515/career-advice-

Consultant Careers. - https:// financial-analyst-vsfinancial-consultant.asp

3.3.2. You would need strong interpersonal skills

as well as knowledge of data analysis

Bioentrepre- and interpretation to convince investors/

venture capitalists to invest in your idea.

neurship Time management is crucial for success,

hence, you need to set time-bound targets
and milestones and ensure their timely
If you have an innovative idea with implementation. Judicious utilisation of
commercial potential and you are willing financial resources and efficient personnel
to tolerate a little risk, then setting up your management are also important for
own enterprise may be a good option for success. To begin with, you will have
you. Entrepreneurship is critical to the to multi-task as your team may have
country’s economic development as well only a few members. It may be a good
as societal well-being as entrepreneurs idea to outsource specialised work to
create jobs and drive innovation. As an professionals instead of hiring so as to
entrepreneur, you are expected to prepare reduce your liability. In addition to subject
feasibility reports to assess economic knowledge, you would need to be updated
potential of your idea, competitors in with regulatory requirements.
the field, existing and future products in
pipeline, market size, etc, so that you can Many schemes to support commercialisa-
take well-informed decisions. tion of research and training of students to
set up their own enterprises have been initi-
Start-ups offer a training opportunity that ated by the Government of India, including
can teach you how to shift your thinking programmes such as ‘Innovate in India’,
from theory into practice. Learning how to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Start-up India’. Bio-
impress others and explain your project technology offers tremendous scope for
in a comprehensive and detailed manner strengthening economic growth through
is extremely important. Team work, innovative technologies with applications
developing ideas, addressing an audience, in agriculture, health, environment, energy,
executing plans are some important skills etc. Some departments involved in encour-
needed for this. If you value independence, aging bioentrepreneurship are: National
creativity, and autonomy, you could be Science & Technology Entrepreneurship
successful as an entrepreneur. Development Board (NSTEDB) and Tech-
nology Development Board (TDB) set up
To begin with, you should gather a team by Department of Science & Technology
with complementary expertise and (DST), Biotechnology Industry Research
delegate responsibility wherever needed. Assessment Council (BIRAC) set up by De-

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

partment of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry impetus to students and scientists willing

of Small & Medium Scale Enterprises, and to set up their own enterprise.
the Department of Industrial Promotion &

BIRAC alone has supported around Key Skills

500 start-ups and entrepreneurs in the • Passion and Motivation to succeed
last few years in diverse areas such as • Willingness to take risk
biomedical devices, therapeutics, specialty • Confidence, Determination, Hard work,
enzymes, plant tissue culture, biofertilizers, Dedication, Discipline
biopesticides, etc. 30 incubators have • Adaptability and Flexibility
been set up across the country which have • Knowledge of subject area, product,
resulted in the development of over 100 market, IPR, Regulatory requirements
products and technologies and generation • Effective Planning
of 150 intellectual property(IP). • Time, Money & Project Management
• Interpersonal Skills, Leadership skills
For those interested in bioentrepreneurship, • Communication Skills
competitions can serve as a “way-in”. DBT • Networking
has been organizing Best Entrepreneur
Student Teams (BEST) competition
for student teams for the last several
years. Initially, it was held jointly with Key Responsibilities
British Council, then, it was organized • Selection of ideas and technologies
by Association of Biotechnology Led • Preparation of feasibility reports
Enterprises (ABLE). Student teams come • Presentation before investors for
up with prospective ideas and present seeking funding
their ideas before experts from academia, • Communicating with stakeholders
industry, financial experts from banks, • Team selection, personnel
investors, venture capitalists, angel management
investors. Teams get lot of mentoring and • Judicious utilisation of financial
selected teams get award money as well resources
as support to take their ideas to a logical

For the last 2 years, BIRAC has been Training

organising the National Entrepreneurship • Training courses organised by DBT,
Competition inviting innovative, path BIRAC, DST
breaking ideas. The selection process • Online Course by Entrepreneurship
involves regional rounds and selected Development Institute of India,
participants undergo intense mentoring Ahmedabad, IGNOU, Symbiosis
at a residential boot camp. These university
programmes provide much desired • MBA from IIMs, IIT, FMS, University of

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• MBA Biotechnology from University org/specializations/innovation-creativity-

of Pune, Punjab University, Amity entrepreneurship
• MBA Agri- Business Management
from UAS, Bangalore; Dharwad Few start-ups with products/
• Internship in C-CAMP, Bangalore services in market*
• BEST( Biotechnology Entrepreneur Biopharmaceuticals: Axio Biosolutions
Student Teams ) Competition Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad; Cardiac Design Labs
organised by DBT through ABLE Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru; Embryyo Technologies
(Association of Biotechnology Pvt. Ltd., Pune; E-Spin Nanotech Pvt. Ltd.,
Led Enterprises), National Bio Kanpur; Wrig Nanosystems Pvt. Ltd., New
Entrepreneurship Competition Delhi; Sohum Innovation Labs India Pvt.
organised by BIRAC through C-CAMP, Ltd., Bengaluru
Bangalore . Bioagriculture: Revelations Biotech Pvt.
Relevant Online Courses Ltd., Hyderabad; Sushila Biofertilizer
• Entrepreneurship - https://www.coursera. Company Pvt. Ltd., Jaunpur; The Unati
org/browse/business/entrepreneurship Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing
• MSc in Innovation and Society Limited, Hoshiarpur
Entrepreneurship (HEC MSIE) - https:// Bioindustry: Krya Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Chennai; Sea6 Energy Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru
• Healthcare Innovation and Bio Services: Affigenix Biosolutions Pvt.
Entrepreneurship - https://www.coursera. Ltd., Chennai; Bioklone Biotech Pvt. Ltd.,
org/learn/wo-pmo-healthcareinnovation Chennai; Genext Genomics Pvt. Ltd.,
• Trading Biotech Stocks – Nagpur; LeadInvent Technologies Pvt. Ltd.,
Understanding the Healthcare Sector New Delhi; MRD LifeSciences Pvt. Ltd.,
- Lucknow; Osteo3d Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru;
biotech-stocks/ Phasorz Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Chennai,
• Technology Commercialization, Part 1: Bengaluru; Swagene Pvt. Ltd., Chennai
Setting up your Idea Filtering System
• Innovation Management - https://www. Suggested Further Reading • The entrepreneur’s guide to a biotech
• Medical Technology and Evaluation - startup, 4th edition-UCLA CTSI. - https://
medical-technology files/view/docs/EGBS4_Kolchinsky.pdf
• Healthcare Marketplace Specialization • Trailblazers: Mapping the journey
- Coursera - of young Bioentrepreneurs – The
specializations/healthcare-marketplace National Academy of Sciences, India
• Innovation: From Creativity to and Biotech Consortium India Limited
Entrepreneurship - https://www.coursera. • Here’s how you can build a startup

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

without external funding-entrepreneur. successful-biotech-entrepreneurs/

- • 6 Characteristics of Successful
article/316567 Entrepreneurs – Biosource Consulting-
• 3 top biotechnology and
pharmaceutical industry trends characteristics-of-successful-entrepreneurs/
every PhD should know. - https:// • Biotechnology Entrepreneurship | ScienceDirect - https://www.sciencedirect.
pharmaceutical-industry-trends-every-phd- com/book/9780124047303/biotechnology-
should-know/ entrepreneurship
• 6 Trends PhDs Must Know About The • Paths to entrepreneurship in the life
Biopharma Market | Cheeky ...- https:// sciences : Article : Bioentrepreneur -
know-about-the-biopharma-market/ • Afraid to join a biotech start-up?
• 4 Must Have Characteristics in -
Biotechnology Entrepreneurship -http:// biotech-start-up/

3.3.3. you are detail oriented and are interested in

learning, reading and writing about diverse

Career in scientific fields, a career in intellectual

property could be right for you.

Intellectual You will need to learn how to understand

Property legal terms, search patent databases to

determine the patentability of proposed
Rights inventions, and draft patents. You will be
instrumental in converting technological
advancements to commercial successes.
An intellectual property rights professional An understanding of legal language and
helps researchers protect their intellectual a wide knowledge of the subject area
property through filing for patents or helps IP professionals transition into
copyrights or trademarks, etc. For most consultants and advisors for start-ups. An
inventions which have a potential for IP professional has to be knowledgeable
application, completion of laboratory work in technology as well as patent laws.
is followed by patent filing for protection IP professionals can be Patent Agents,
of the inventor’s rights and possible Patent Examiners or Patent Attorneys.
commercialization. Most law firms, Students with a PhD in any science area
companies and government organizations can join law firms as scientific consultants
employ people with scientific backgrounds or patent agents to act as a bridge
to work on patent-related matters as between scientists and lawyers. Patent
technical advisors and patent examiners. If agents or patent examiners are generally

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

appointed by Govt. of India and they must

have a degree in science, engineering or
technology in addition to qualifying the Key Skills
patent agent exam conducted annually
• MSc or PhD in science with knowledge
by the Controller General of Patents. A
of intellectual property laws
degree in law is not essential to become
• Diverse knowledge of subject
a patent agent.
• Research and written communication
• Interpersonal skills for interfacing with
Patent examiners have to review patent
researchers and lawyers
applications to decide whether the patent
• Understanding of expectations of
should be granted or not. They have to
client, awareness about patent laws
search literature and patent databases
and issues in litigation, experience in
to determine patentability of invention
drafting patents
under consideration. Later on, they can
also pursue law degree to work as patent
Key Responsibilities
Patent attorneys or lawyers work for • Conducting IP due diligence, prior art
clients and IP firms and help in filing and search to determine patentability, third
maintaining IP, as well as in litigation party patent studies
and other related matters. A degree in • Collecting data from researchers,
science, technology or engineering is not compiling documents and facilitating
necessary to become a patent attorney. draft patent application, information
Instead, a degree in law and enrolment in disclosure statements, amendments
any State Bar Council is a must. Patent to claims
agents are involved in patent prosecution • Performing comparative analysis of
and practice before the Controller of inventions and patents and keeping
Patents while the role of patent attorney track of patents due to expire and to
is linked to patent litigation and practicing advise clients
before the court. Patent attorneys cannot • Facilitating commercialisation
file a patent. Instead, patent attorneys of patented products by drafting
develop strategies to protect new and industrial licensing agreement and
existing products, prepare and negotiate negotiation regarding technology
license agreements, and work on litigation transfer agreement including fee
concerning patent issues. • Protecting interests of the client in
cases of infringement of rights by
IP lawyers need interpersonal skills as filing litigation
they work with a range of professionals
from academia and companies. They also
need to have good documentation skills
to draft patents or file litigation in cases of Sample Job Titles
disputes. Patent examiner, Patent Agent, Patent

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Attorney, Patent Analyst, Patent Counsel, pillar-model-business-decisions-strategy-

Patent Associate, Patent Specialist law-ethics-coursera
Potential Employers in India • European Business Law: Doing
Indian Patent Office, Patent Cells in Business in Europe - https://www.
Government Scientific Departments
Biotechnology companies (pl. refer • WIPO’s Free Online Course on
Intellectual Property. - https://lawlex.
Few Noted IPR Firms *
• Intellectual Property 101(FREE) - IIPTA
Anand & Anand Advocates, New Delhi,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, New Delhi,
Maheshwari & Co. Advocates & Legal
Consultants, New Delhi, Remfry and Sagar,
New Delhi, Bengaluru & Chennai, Saikrish-
na & Associates, Noida, Biswajit Sarkar &
Suggested Further Reading
Associates, Kolkatta
• Career as Intellectual Property
Attorney / IPR Professional | - https://

Training law_socialscience/intellectual-property-

Relevant Online Courses attorney-as-a-career/index.htm

• Patenting in Biotechnology - https:// • Career in Intellectual property: A legal outlook to innovative science - https://
• Protecting Business Innovations

via Copyright - https://www.coursera. scenario/career-in-intellectual-property-a-

org/learn/protect-business-innovations- legal-outlook-to-innovative-science

copyright • Career In Patents & Copyright Industry

• Protecting Business Innovations via After Masters in Life Sciences - https://
Trademark | Coursera - https://www. patents-copyright-industry/

innovations-trademark • Intellectual property rights: An

• Drug Commercialization - https://www. overview and implications in ... - NCBI -

• Drug discovery - https://www.coursera. PMC3217699/

org/learn/drug-discovery • In Person: A Career in Biotech Patent

• The Three Pillar Model for Business Law | Science | AAAS- https://www.
Decisions: Strategy, Law & Ethics- career-biotech-patent-law

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

scientific community as well as

3.3.4. •
the public
Technology transfer knowledge
Technology including protection of intellectual

property by patents, copyright,
trademark, industrial licensing,
standard agreements and procedures
• Interpersonal skills for engaging
If you are excited by the idea of learning with stakeholders
about new inventions which have potential • Communications skills, both oral
for commercialization, then, a career in and written
technology transfer may be the correct • Negotiation skills
option for you. Technology transfer is the • Time management
sharing and transfer of new technology
from inventor to secondary user for
further development into practical and
commercially relevant applications and Key Responsibilities
products. Technology transfer includes • Establishing relationships with
discoveries, inventions, know-how, scientists
innovations, and intellectual property • Building relations with companies with
like patents, trademarks, copyrights, objective of forging collaborations and
and trade secrets. The work may technology licenses
also involve protection of intellectual • Reviewing disclosure of inventions,
property, preparing memorandum of identifying commercial product
understanding (MoU)s, and industrial scenario and assessing unique
licensing. Technology transfer experts features and proposed benefits
identify research with potential commercial • Evaluating market potential of
interest, find companies which work in inventions, market size, market need,
the field and would be interested in the competitive advantage and barriers to
product/technology/service, evaluate market absorption
the cost of technology/product/services • Recommending technology transfer
based on their economic potential, help in path for new inventions and
upscaling of technology from laboratory collaborating with IP management
scale to pilot and large scale, mediate in groups (IP protection, assigning rights
discussions for transfer of technology, and of inventors)
finalise agreements. • Drafting and negotiating licenses and
other related contracts

Key Skills Sample Job Titles

• Strong science background and Licensing and Patenting Associate,
understanding of the needs of the Licensing and Patenting Manager,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Technology Transfer Specialist, in Government agencies

Technology Transfer Policy Specialist, • Patent Examiner courses by Indian
Chemical Engineer- Technology Transfer Patent Office, USPTO
and Scale-up, Formulation Scientist- • Internship with Patent Agents/
Technology Transfer, Research Scientist- Attorneys (Law Firms)
Technology Transfer( Formulations), • Technology Transfer courses/
Head, Technology Transfer, Sr. Executive, certificate course
Technology Transfer, General Manager, • Law and/or Management Degree
Technology Transfer, Head, Formulations Relevant Online Courses
and R&D, Manager, Process Engineering • Online courses on IPR and Technology
& Scale-up, Process Engineer, Marketing Transfer by Supreme Court, Indian
Coordinator, Monitoring and Enforcement Patent Office, WIPO, USPTO
Officer, Senior Licensing and Patenting • Technology transfer and
Manager, Senior Advisor for Industrial commercialisation - Online course
Licensing, Senior Advisor for Intellectual
Property Transactions, Senior Technology training/technology-transfer
Transfer Policy Advisor, Senior Royalties • Online course Technology Transfer and
Administrator, Senior Monitoring and Research Commercialization - https://
Enforcement Officer, Senior Advisor for

Monitoring and Enforcement online-course-technology-transfer

• Technology Transfer and
Commercialisation - Programs and
Courses - https://programsandcourses.
Potential Employers *
Government Agencies such as Department • Fundamentals of Technology
of Science & Technology, Department of Transfer. -
Biotechnology, Department of Scientific events/training-courses-2/fundamentals-
& Industrial Research, Indian Council for technology-transfer-2/
Agricultural Research, Indian Council
for Medical Research, Department of
Industrial Policy & Promotion, Department
of Health, IITs, IISERs, Universities, Private
Suggested Further Reading
Companies, Patent Law Firms (pl. refer
• Career Options series: technology
3.3.3), Non-Governmental Organizations,
transfer. OITE careers blog. -
Biotech Consortium India Ltd., New
Delhi, BIRAC, New Delhi, Biotechnology
companies (pl. refer, Bioinformatics
companies (pl. refer
• 5 Skills You Need To Have For A Job In
Technology Transfer | Cheeky ...https://
Training job-in-technology-transfer/
• Internship in Technology Transfer Cell • Technology Transfer: a boon to the

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

developing biotechnology - https:// industry - The Pharma Innovation- http://www.thepharmajournal.
transfer-boon-developing-biotechnology- com/archives/2017/vol6issue3/
economies/ PartD/6-1-26-206.pdf
• Technology Transfer - an overview • Best Practices for Technology Transfer
| ScienceDirect Topics - https://www. | BioPharm International - http://www.
biological-sciences/technology-transfer technology-transfer
• Technology transfer in pharmaceutical

3.3.5. Framing of regulations and stringent

implementation by Government agencies
Regulatory is essential to ensure that companies

and business houses follow essential
laws and guidelines during manufacture
and marketing of products. Regulatory
Regulatory science involves developing managers employed by companies carry
new tools and standards to assess the out documentation and timely filing
of regulatory paperwork for obtaining
safety, efficacy, quality and performance or
necessary regulatory approvals. Regulatory
regulated products. Regulatory managers
affairs requires expertise from multiple
are expected to assess risk-benefit ratios
disciplines, both scientific and legal.
and facilitate sound and transparent
regulatory decision making. This is a
versatile and dynamic field and is essential
for ethical conduct of research as well Key Skills
as development, production, and sale of • Sound scientific background
products within regulated industries (food, • Documentation and data analysis
pharmaceuticals, medical devices, energy, • Knowledge of scientific regulations,
biotech, healthcare products etc). If you do and policy
not want to be limited to a single scientific • Oral  and written communication skills
problem and prefer diversity and variety, if • Analytical and organizational skills,
you can keep yourself up-to-date with the including the ability to evaluate
global scenario in scientific advancements, potential product candidates and trials
and if you would like to apply this • Capacity for quick learning
knowledge in proposing new regulations or • Project and time management skills
suggesting modifications in existing laws, • Interpersonal skills such as ability
regulations and policies, then a career in to mediate, negotiate with different
regulatory affairs may be the correct option groups and arrive at a consensus
for you.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

may hire experts.

A few examples are given below:
Key Responsibilities • Clinical Trials Regulations in India
• Interfacing with researchers, (Central Drugs Standard Control
businesses, quality control and Organisation)  – Drug Controller of
regulatory groups for method India ensures implementation of
development and validation clinical trials regulations in India,
• Substantiating claims and supporting approval of licenses of specified
product development categories of drugs, review test results
• Accurate testing of product and submitted by sponsors to decide
designing studies to meet regulatory about safety of drug for clinical
requirements trials, marketing of drugs for public
• Conducting research about existing consumption and its labelling
and future competitor companies and • Food Safety and Standards Authority
products to determine potential risk of India (Ministry of Health & Family
of financial losses in case technology Welfare) - Protecting and promoting
does not work as anticipated public health through regulation and
• Developing study material for supervision of food safety
healthcare providers and promotional • Environment Protection Act ( Ministry
material jointly with technical writers of Environment and Forests and
• Ensuring compliance of product Central and State Pollution Control
labelling and preparing promotional Boards)–  Protection and improvement
material of the human environment and
prevention of hazards to human
beings, other living creatures, plants
Sample Job Titles and property.
Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Regulatory • Regulations and guidelines of
and Quality Affairs Analyst,  Policy biosafety of recombinant DNA
Manager, Scientist, Regulatory Affairs research and biocontainment (Ministry
Associate, etc. of Environment & Forests, Department
of Biotechnology)
• National guidelines for Stem
Cell Research (Department of
Potential Employers *
Biotechnology and Indian Council for
Major Regulatory Affairs Agencies
Medical Research)
in the Central Government and State
• Human DNA Profiling Bill (Department
of Biotechnology)
Government Departments are responsible
• Guidelines for Clinical Laboratory
for framing appropriate regulations and
Practices (Indian Council for Medical
ensuring their implementation. They may
allocate this job to existing officers who
need to acquire requisite expertise and/or

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Regulatory Affairs Administrator in the

Private Sector: files/2015/03/15-3_Regulatory-Rapporteur-
These companies are responsible for specialities-skillsets-wm-Smerkanich-
collecting, analysing necessary data for Locke.pdf
timely submission to Government for • 6 Essential Skills of a Regulatory
obtaining necessary approvals. Affairs Professional - LinkedIn - https://
• Stells Biopharma Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru
• Lifecare Innovations Ltd., Gurugram  22974881-6-essential-skills-of-a-regulatory-
• Departments and Job Descriptions
in a Biotechnology Company ... -
Relevant Online Courses files/CareerInformation/biotech_job_
• Training in Biotech Regulation I descriptions_salary_ranges.pdf
Regulatory Affairs Course - http://www. • Working in Regulatory affairs: careers and trends - https://www.northeastern.
affairs-program.html edu/graduate/blog/working-in-regulatory-
• Biotechnology: Biotechnology affairs-careers-and-trends/
Regulatory Affairs, M.Sc - https:// • Career options series: regulatory affairs. OITE careers blog- https://
affairs.html career-options-series-regulatory-affairs/
• The Current Biotechnology Regulatory
System (Preparing for Future Products
of Biotechnology) - https://www.ncbi.nlm.
Suggested Further Reading
• How is it to work in regulatory affairs • Modernizing the Regulatory System
in a pharmaceutical ... - https://www. for Biotechnology Products - EPA -
affairs-in-a-pharmaceutical-company-What- files/2017-01/documents/2017_
skills-do-you-need-and-what-personalities- coordinated_framework_update.pdf
• Options in regulatory affairs –
specialties and skill-sets -

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

3.3.6. material such as models or exhibits, writing

blogs, designing web sites etc. would be

Science perfect for this field. Social media has

facilitated direct interfacing with the public

Communica- and has provided access at the same time

as lowering the need for infrastructure or

tion & Public resources.

Outreach Government funding agencies are

currently under tremendous pressure for
Science communication and public
communicating benefits of science to
outreach refers to generating public
the public so as to justify allocation of
awareness, popularising results of current
resources for science, particularly the
research, as well as educating the citizens
use of taxpayer money. To be a science
of the country about science. If you have a
communicator, you need to have a knack
passion for communicating science to the
for assessing your target audience and the
public, have strong storytelling skills, can
ability to distil complex scientific concepts
simplify complex scientific concepts and
using simple, easy to understand language
make them interesting, science outreach
for a lay audience. You should be open to
and/or communication is the perfect
feedback and criticism and follow ethical
choice for you. Science students develop
journalism practices.
writing skills while working on projects,
dissertations, research publications and
thesis, some of which can be meaningfully
utilized in this profession. Key Skills
• Communication skills, both oral and
As a science communicator, you don’t written
need in-depth knowledge of specific • Remaining updated with latest
scientific fields, but you should be able developments in the field
to understand and appreciate research. • Teaching/Education
You have to understand the implications • Writing/editing lucidly and clearly
of technology and give a fair, unbiased • Multimedia-based outreach/
picture for which you need the ability to communication
read, analyse, assimilate and describe • Web design or development (optional)
unfamiliar data as well as the capacity for • Research methods and data analysis
critical, structured and fast thought. You • Interpersonal communication skills
can arouse curiosity in students about
science by engaging with school or college
students. Candidates with undergraduate,
postgraduate, or doctoral degree in Key Responsibilities
science, and skills such as storytelling, • Communicating the excitement,
science curriculum development, teaching, importance and relevance of scientific
research, preparation of educational discoveries and technological

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

developments to society Advanced Biotech, Science Academies

• Creating awareness amongst people like INSA, NSA, NASA etc., as editor,
with non-scientific background about author, peer review expert, Media Houses
the latest scientific developments like Doordarshan, Zee, Sony, NDTV,
• Presenting complex scientific data in Colours, etc., Newspapers such as Hindu,
an easily understandable form Statesman, Times of India, Indian Express,
• Presenting an unbiased, balanced view Hindustan Times, Financial Express,
without any prejudice Economic Times, etc.

Sample Job Titles Training

Program Director/Manager/Coordinator/ • Scientific Journalism courses run
Specialist, Outreach Coordinator, Science by NCBS, IISER-Pune, DBT-Wellcome
Writer/Educator, Online Communications Trust India Alliance
Specialist, Science Editor, Science • M .Sc. Science & Technology
Journalist, Public Engagement Officer, Communication (CSIR-NISCAIR)
Communication Coordinator, Content • Internship programmes at Vigyan
Writer, Science Exhibit Developer, Learning Prasar, IndiaBioscience
Coordinator, Museum curator, Animator, • Course on Graphic Design, Visual
Graphic designer, etc. Communication, Animation,
Photography, Film making at NID,
Ahmedabad, National Film Institute
of India, IIT, Mumbai, SHRISHTI, Pearl
Potential Employers * Academy
Schools, Colleges, Universities, National • Mass communication course by Jamia
Science Museum, National Museum Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
of Natural History, National Institute Relevant Online Courses
for Science Education and Research, • Online course on science journalism
National Institute for Science & -
Mathematics Education Development, • Science communication skills for
IndiaBioscience at National Centre for journalists - https://scidevnet.teachable.
Biological Sciences, Bangalore, Vigyan com/p/communication-course-for-scientists
Prasar set up by Department of Science • Media skills for scientists -
& Technology, Directorate of Advertising
and Visual Publicity, Government of
India, CSIR National Institute for Science
• Writing in the sciences- https://online.
Communication and Information
Resources (Scientific Reporter, Vigyan
Pragati), Journals/Magazines like
• An online course on the art of science
Current science, Nature(India), Journal
communication - ASBMB - http://www.
of Scientific & Industrial research, Down
to Earth, Biospectrum, Biotechnika,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students
• Career options series: science
Suggested Further Reading education and outreach. OITE careers.
• The importance of science - https://oitecareersblog.wordpress.
communication. Naturejobs - http:// com/2016/08/08/career-options-series- science-education-outreach/
the-importance-of-science-communication/ • How to get a job in science education
• Science communication: what it and outreach. OITE careers blog. -
takes. Naturejobs - http://blogs.nature.
com/naturejobs/2017/02/10/science- • Science communication in the
communication-what-it-takes/ field of fundamental biomedical
• Life as a full-time science research (editorial) - https://www.
communicator-the scientific
basement. - https://www. S1084952117304494

3.3.7. with the latest developments in the field

and cannot be confined to a narrow area of

Science specialization.

Management As a science administrator, you will be

expected to provide day-to-day logistics,

and Adminis- i.e., administrative and financial support

to scientific teams by ensuring timely

tration submission of financial documents and

follow-up with funding agencies for timely
receipt of grants. You will also play a
As a science manager, you will be
role in judicious allocation and utilization
expected to wear multiple hats and be
of grants to different groups within the
involved in policy formulation, priority area
organization as per the institutional priority
identification, formulation and evaluation
and mandate. You will also be involved
of projects in identified thrust areas etc.
in managing contracts, MoUs, material
You will have to interact with scientists,
transfer agreements etc. following rules
bureaucrats and politicians and should
and regulations related to ethics, biosafety
possess persuasion and negotiation skills
and clinical practices.
to get the expected results. You will be
expected to read and remain up-to-date

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students in the smooth implementation of their


Science • Ensuring timely submission of

necessary documents to funding

Administrator agencies and following up to facilitate

timely release of grants
• Ensuring appropriate allocation of
budget as per institute mandate and
its judicious utilisation
Key Skills
• Facilitating compliance of rules,
• Project management and coordination
regulations and guidelines
• Knowledge of technology transfer, IP,
• Assisting with technology transfer,
regulatory affairs etc.
industrial licensing, filing of patents,
• Organization skills and time
• Acting as a bridge between funding
• Excellent communication skills
agencies, scientists and financial

Key Responsibilities
• Providing administrative, financial and
logistic support to scientists to assist • Excellent oral and written

communication skills

Manager Key Responsibilities
• Formulating policy and strategy for
implementation of policies
• Providing support to research
programmes of the organisation
Key Skills • Identifying priority areas, formulating
• Multi-tasking and coordination with project proposals, submitting to
multiple stakeholders funding agencies for consideration of
• Subject knowledge as well as financial support
knowledge about regulatory guidelines • Coordinating preparation of annual
• Knowledge about intellectual property plans, five year plan, performance
rights protection, technology transfer, budget, annual report and other
industrial licensing etc. necessary documents
• Team work, time and project • Ensuring compliance to rules and
management regulations

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Sample Job Titles

Science manager, Scientific officer, Director, Suggested Further Reading
Advisor, Consultant, Administrative officer, • Converting biotech scientists to
Grants Manager, Grants Advisor, Project managers : Article : Bioentrepreneur -
• Transforming Scientists into Managers
| The Scientist Magazine - https://www.
Potential Employers * scientists-into-managers-53974
Universities, autonomous research • Project Management for Scientists,
institutions of DST, DBT, CSIR, ICMR, ICAR, Part 1: An Overview | Science |
NGOs involved in research, DBT Wellcome AAAS -
Trust India Alliance, international research careers/2002/05/project-management-
organisations scientists-part-1-overview
• MBA Program with Biotechnology &
Life Sciences Specialization - http://
• Workshops on Science Administration
• 4 dos and don’ts for scientists
& Management organised by Newton
moving into management - Elsevier
Bhabha Fund, British Council of India
• Internships in Government
Departments like DST, DBT, BCIL,
BIRAC, TDB, SERB, Niti Aayog,
• Management for Scientists: What
Research institutions, DBT- Wellcome
Makes a Good Manager Anyway?
Trust India Alliance, IITs, IISERs
Relevant Online Courses
• Science Management and Leadership
Degree Programs | - http://www.webster.
• Master of Science in Administration -
Wikipedia -
• Science Management Degree Program
Information - https://study.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Science Public Key Skills

Policy Advisor/
• Broad knowledge of different
fields of science

• Knowledge of national and
international science policy
• Interpersonal skills
• Communication skills, both written
Science Policy involves deciding national and oral
priorities, evaluating the current status of • Analytical skills
research in a particular field, identifying • Time Management
gaps so that programmes can be • Multi tasking
formulated and supported for education • Patience, diplomacy, persuasion and
and research as per the country’s needs, negotiating skills
allocating appropriate financial resources,
formulating guidelines and regulations for
ethical conduct of science etc. Science
policy experts are expected to act as a Key Responsibilities
bridge between scientists, bureaucrats, • Collecting information, assessing
politicians and the public. Science policy data, analysing problems, suggesting
experts can be a catalyst for change in solutions and presenting the same
current science policies. In general, there in simple language which would be
is a wide communication gap between understandable for non-scientists
scientists and policymakers. Science • Coordinating with expert committee
policy experts bridge this communication members, scientists, and stakeholders
gap by providing relevant information to such as clinicians, farmers, public, non
politicians, policymakers and the general governmental organisations, etc.
public in order to facilitate decision • Conducting brainstorming sessions,
making. Science policy experts explain the seminars, conferences, expert
importance of research done by scientists committee meetings, etc.
and its relevance to society. • Writing status reports, identifying
They attempt to take a balanced view priority areas, formulating projects,
of any new technology, keeping in mind evaluating projects
ethical and safety considerations. If you • Communicating science to the
like to interact with diverse audiences and general public, scientific audience,
wish to influence policymaking or bring bureaucrats, politicians
about changes in existing science policies
based on the experience of stakeholders,
then a career as a public policy advisor/ Sample Job Titles
advocate is the perfect choice for you. (Senior) Science Policy Analyst, Public
Health Analyst, Director of Science

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Policy, Public Affairs Director, Program

Officer, Health Science Policy Analyst, science-technology/sti-systems-and-
Public Health Analyst, Scientific Program governance/
Analyst, Science and Technology Policy • Courses & Workshops - EMBO - http://
Analyst, Policy Analyst Manager, Director

of Public Policy and Government Affairs, workshops/34-funding-awards/young-

Advocate, Administrator, Health Policy
• Research integrity - EMBO - http://embo.
Advisor, Scientific Program Analyst, Policy
Specialist, Government Relations Manager,
• Workshops - EMBO -
Director, Research Programs Advocacy, etc.
• Science Policy Bootcamp — MIT
Science Policy Initiative - https://mitspi.
Potential Employers * • Workshop on Framing Evidence-based
Science academies such as Indian Science Policy - IndiaBioscience -
National Academy of Science, New Delhi,
National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad,
Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore
Govt. science departments like Department
of Science & Technology, Department of Suggested Further Reading
Biotechnology, Ministry of Environment • Chris Woolston. 2016. Science
& Forests, Indian Council for Agricultural advocacy: Get involved. Nature 540:
Research, Indian Council for Medical
• Norma Betheke, Paul Gellert &
Research, Department of Industrial
Joachim Seybold. 2018. Encourage
Promotion & Policy, DST-Center for Policy
early-career scientists to shape policy.
Research, Indian Institute of Science,
Nature 562 : 344.
Bangalore, DBT-Wellcome Trust India
• The science of science advocacy. The
Alliance, Non-Governmental Organisations
Scientist magazine.- https://www.the-
• An introduction to achieving policy
Training impact for early career researchers-
• Training and workshops in science,
technology and innovation policy by 018-0144-2
UNESCO - • Help to shape policy with your science
en/natural-sciences/science-technology/ - Nature -
sti-systems-and-governance/capacity- articles/d41586-018-06038-4
development-in-sti-policy/training-and- • Career option series: Science
workshops-in-sti-policy/ policy. OITE careers blog. - https://
• Participate in GO-SPIN - UNESCO - career-options-series-science-policy/
• Capacity Development in STI Policy • Science Policy Forum -IndiaBioscience
| United Nations ... - Unesco - http:// -

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

3.3.9. Specialised services provide an ecosystem

with sophisticated instruments, facilities,
Specialized trained manpower and reagents to

facilitate researchers in conducting
experiments in a cost effective manner. expected to recover a portion of their cost

by charging their users and generally,

Core Facility institutional core facilities charge nominal

rates from students and researchers

Management and higher rates from commercial


If you like tinkering with technology

Core facilities are centralised technology-
and have a knack for working with
based laboratories with shared research
sophisticated instruments, then working at
resources that provide access to
core facility could be a suitable choice for
sophisticated instruments, technologies,
you. You will be expected to understand
services as well as expert consultation.
the importance of customer interactions
These core facilities are highly beneficial
and should be comfortable with providing
to researchers and start-up companies
services. As a core facility director/
as they can get access to sophisticated,
manager, you will be expected to determine
expensive equipment by paying nominal
what new technology/equipment to buy or
charges. Core facilities such as next
upgrade, learn how to operate and maintain
generation sequencing, flow cytometry,
the same, oversee marketing, advertising,
mass spectrometry, FT-NMR, animal
training etc. and understand the research
imaging laboratory, genomics, proteomics
needs of your clients. To get insights into
are established within research institutions
new technologies, you will need to interact
by funding agencies to ensure optimum
with clients and vendors, as well as study
usage and democratise access to
online resources. You will need to build
expensive resources given that these
networks with researchers in research
facilities cannot be provided at each
institutions as well as R&D and marketing
university or institution. Sometimes, core
teams in technology companies You will
facilities are also established by business
have to learn to run an efficient, business-
houses to provide paid services to clients.
based model to market your services and
The facilities have dedicated personnel expand your customer base by drawing
and equipment and provide access to new users. Customer service and project
cutting-edge instrumentation. They serve management skills are crucial to core lab
as service and training centres for the scientists. At present, the market for core
research community. Core facilities are laboratory services is growing rapidly.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Sample Job Titles

Key Skills Core Facility Manager, Research Manager,
• Technical competence in handling and
Core Facility Director, Research Core
maintaining sophisticated equipment
Facility Director, Research Technologist,
• Proficiency in lab management
Research Technician
• Oral and written communication skills
• Experience in customer oriented
service facility
• Time management and adhering to Potential Employers *
deadlines Regional Sophisticated Instrumentation
• Accuracy, efficiency and cost - Centres set up by Department of Science
effectiveness & Technology, Infrastructural facilities like
National Centre for Microbial Resource
(NCMR), NCCS, Pune , Microbial Type
Culture Collection (MTCC), IMTECH,
Key Responsibilities
Chandigarh, Flow Cytometry and Imaging
• Working with the director of the
Facility at ILS, Bhubaneswar, Biotechnology
institution to promote a collaborative
Core Instrumentation Facility (BTCIF) at
research environment and deliver
efficient service to users TIDCO Centre for Life Sciences, Biosafety
• Managing and operating core Facility (level 3) for Tuberculosis Research,
facilities and serving as a focal point University of Delhi South Campus (UDSC),
for equipment repair, maintenance, Delhi, Biotech Incubators/Parks set
replacement up by Department of Biotechnology,
• Implementing operational Biotechnology Industrial Research and
modifications to improve accuracy, Assistance Council (BIRAC), Gene Bank
efficiency and cost-effectiveness at International Crops Research Institute
• Assessing needs of customers and for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT),
latest developments in the field in Hyderabad, etc.
order to develop new services and Core facilities created by Companies
technologies to assist users and
phase out obsolete equipment
• Overseeing administrative functions
such as budgeting, user charges Training
fixation, revision, etc. • International Training Courses for Core
• Promoting core services and its Facility Staff | Euro-BioImaging - http://
functions to potential stakeholders to
expand the customer base international-training-courses-core-facility-
• Providing services and organising staff
training workshops for researchers • International Training Courses for
• Negotiating with vendors for pricing of Core Facility Staff | Global BioImaging
equipment/reagents/spare parts -

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

international-training-courses-for-core- • Building a Sustainable Portfolio of

facility-staff Core Facilities: a Case Study -https://
• Leadership and Management in Core
Facilities, Short Course - https://www. PMC6078059/ • Metrics for Success: Strategies for
leadership-and-management-in-core- Enabling Core Facility Performance
facilities.html and Assessing Outcomes - https://
• Best Practices for Core Facilities:
Suggested Further Reading Handling External Customers - https://
• Julie Gould. 2015. Core facilities:
Shared support. Nature 519: 495-496. PMC3605920/
• Institutional core facilities: prerequisite • A Framework for Managing Core
for breakthroughs in the life sciences. - Facilities within the Research Enterprise -
PMC4967956/ pmc/articles/PMC2729482/ other researchers to analyse problems,

recommend technology based solutions,

Career in and devise computational strategies. If

you have a thorough understanding of

Bioinformatics biology and are familiar with statistical

and computational tools, then you could
explore a career as a bioinformatics
Bioinformaticians develop systems to
collect data, develop algorithms, and use
specialized computer software to process
and analyse data and genetic information
and design databases. They also study and Key Skills
analyse publicly accessible, commercial • Knowledge of programming languages
and proprietary genomic, proteomic or – Python, R, Matlab, Perl, Ruby, SAS
post-genomic databases for clinical or etc. and specialised software for
basic research purposes. They develop different applications
new software applications or customize • Good communication skills
existing applications to meet specific • Multitasking and project management
scientific needs. They compile data for • Working knowledge of biology/
use in fields such as gene expression genomics
profiling, genome annotation and • Data analysis and visualization
structural bioinformatics. They work with

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Information Technology (IT) service

provider, Biotechnology Companies,
Key Responsibilities Scientific Departments in Government such
• Programming, statistical modelling as Department of Science & Technology,
• Creating of data algorithms and Department of Biotechnology, Department
specialised software to identify, of Scientific & Industrial Research, National
classify and analyse components of Informatics Centre
biological systems Bioinformatics Companies: Accelrys
• Consulting with scientists and Software Solution Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore,
researchers, maintaining laboratory Premier Biosoft India Pvt. Ltd., Indore,
documents and analysing data sets Bigtec Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, Bijam
Biosciences Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad,
Bioimagene India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai,
Biobase Databases India Pvt. Ltd.,
Specializations Bangalore, CLC Bio India, Hyderabad,
• Sequence analysis Genotypic Technology, Bangalore, Jubilant
• Gene and protein expression Life Sciences, Noida, Ocimum Biosolutions,
• Structural bioinformatics Hyderabad, Siri Technologies, Bangalore.
• Network/systems biology
• Software development
• Database management/programming
• MSc Bioinformatics
Sample Job Titles • PhD Bioinformatics
Data Analyst, Systems Analyst, • BTech/MTech Biotechnology,
Bioinformatics Analyst, Bioinformatics Bioinformatics
Associate, Software Developer, Relevant Online Courses
Biostatistician/Bioinformatician, • Online Bioinformatics Courses | edX-
Computational Biologist, Bioinformatics/
Staff Scientist, Research Assistant/ • Online Courses in Bioinformatics -
Associate, Biologics Database
Programmer, Computer Analyst, Molecular • Bioinformatics Online Courses
Modelling Assistant, Post-doctoral -
Fellow, Research Scientist, Senior bioinformatics
Scientist, Professor/Assistant Professor,
Computational Genomics Specialist,
Bioinformatics Specialist
Suggested Further Reading
• Your passport to a career in
Potential Employers * bioinformatics. - https://www.springer.
Universities/IITs/IISERs, Research com/gp/book/9788132211624
Institutions, Pharmaceutical Companies, • Careers in Bioinformatics

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

- International Society for bioinformatics??? - Biostars

Computational Biology - https://www. - • Career option series:Bioinformatics.
schools/careers-in-bioinformatics OITE careers blog. - https://
• Will a masters in bioinformatics oitecareersblog.wordpress.
help me in getting a job.- https://www. com/2016/05/23/career-options-series- bioinformatics/
• How should I start my career in future predictions. Data mining, which uses

a combination of statistical and computer

Career in Big programming skills, can also allow retailers

to understand purchase patterns of

Data Science customers.

The field of data science is not new as

Big data plays a very important role computational biologists/chemists,
in driving decisions, innovation and bioinformatics experts, and geographers
productivity. It is used in areas as diverse have been using computational
as analysing sequence genomes, creating approaches to make sense of scientifically-
new combinations of pharmaceutical relevant data for a long time. However,
compounds, performing predictive exponential rise in smartphones and
diagnosis, environmental monitoring, internet use has led to an exponential
analysing social media trends to increase in demand for trained personnel
formulate election strategy, evaluating who can use computational approaches
meteorological data for predicting and power to efficiently use and analyze
weather, analysing retail data to drive sales large amounts of data.
etc. An in-depth understanding of data A significant portion of the demand
science and techniques for analysis of for data analysis can be attributed to
quantitative and qualitative data to identify clinically relevant sources. In the last two
patterns and predict trends is necessary decades, advances in scientific tools and
for success in this field. Previously, techniques have increased the volume of
business managers used to rely on their data and knowledge within the biomedical
experience, intuition, and instinct to make enterprise. Hence, we need scientists who
decisions. Nowadays, in the era of big data, can integrate their scientific background
quantitative methods used by operation and interests with computational tools
analysts and economists provide strong and approaches to tackle these vast
evidence to guide management decisions databases. If you have an understanding
on production, distribution, marketing and of statistical principles and programming
personnel management and also help in and would like to use your knowledge to
adjusting business strategies based on analyse large volumes of data, you could

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

consider a career in big data science. This Hyderabad, Strand Life Sciences
is an emerging field and offers tremendous Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, Jubilant Biosys
opportunities. Ltd., Bangalore, QBURST, Trivendrum,
Prismetric, Ahmedabad, Fullestop, Jaipur,
Softweb solutions, Ahmedabad, Simform,
Ahmedabad, Orangemantra, Gurgaon,
Key Skills Loginworks Softwares Pvt. Ltd., Noida,
• Understanding of mathematical and Classic Informatics Pvt. Ltd., Chandigarh
statistical approaches (machine and
deep learning)
• Programming ability (python, R, SAS,
Matlab, SQL, Spark etc) Training
• Basic knowledge of computer Relevant Online Courses
architecture • Big Data, Genes, and Medicine - https://
• Data visualisation
• Data acquisition, analysis and medicine
management, simulation and • Applied Data Science with Python-
• Business analytics and data mining data-science-python
• Effective communication skills • Genomic Data Science- https://www.
• Data Science Math Skills - https://www.
Key Responsibilities
• Collecting, generating, extracting,
• Python for Genomic Data Science-
analysing and/or visualizing data
• Interpreting data to provide actionable
• Statistics for Genomic Data Science-
• Developing computational tools

Sample Job Titles

Data scientist, Data analyst, Database
Specialist, Data and Analytics manager,
Suggested Further Reading
Data management, Database administrator,
• Considering a career in biomedical
Data architect, Data engineer, Machine
data science? What you need
learning engineer.
to consider. OITE careers blog.
Potential Employers * in-biomedical-data-science-what-you-
Ocimum Biosolutions (India) Ltd., need-to-consider/

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• 9 Must-have skills you need to become scientist/

a Data Scientist,updated - https://www. • Skills for Every Data Scientist - Master’s in Data Science - https://www.
• What Skills Do I Need to Become a skills/
Data Scientist? - Simplilearn - • The Most in Demand Skills for Data
- Scientists - Towards Data Science-
• What is Data Science? 8 Skills That most-in-demand-skills-for-data-scientists-
Will Get You Hired in Data | Udacity- 4a4a8db896db • What are the Skills Needed to Become
science-job-skills.html a Data Scientist in 2018 - https://
• 10 Skills To Master For Becoming A
Data Scientist | Edureka - https://www. skills-needed-to-become-a-data-scientist-in- 2018-d037012f1db2 As a clinical trials manager, you have

to recruit the appropriate number of

Clinical Trials volunteers, get consent forms signed,

write protocols for studies, create clinical

Management research forms and other key documents

used to collect clinical data, as well as
obtain approval of ethical boards. You
have to ensure the smooth functioning
Science students who are involved in
and monitoring of clinical trials while
preclinical research for new innovations in
complying with regulatory guidelines.
medical research generally have a limited
Correct interpretation of data and early
knowledge about the long and stringent
and accurate corrective measures are
clinical trials process and the regulatory
crucial for clinical trials. Proficiency in
approvals required for commercialization
communication, efficient coordination and
of such new innovations. If you are
strong interpersonal skills come very handy
interested in taking a project to a logical
for this role.
conclusion and commercializing a new
advancement, are familiar with regulatory
Clinical trials managers are involved
processes, have patience, perseverance,
in a range of activities and services
and excellent communication skills, and
like discovery of new drug molecules,
are willing to coordinate with different
formulation R&D to develop new
departments and regulatory agencies, a
formulations of existing drugs, project
career in clinical trials management may
management, monitoring of clinical trials,
be right for you.
testing safety of drugs, collaborating

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

with technical/ medical writers to necessary clinical trial approvals due

develop appropriate content, ensuring to public perception about non-ethical
that regulatory guidelines are followed conduct of trials and compensation issues,
accurately, etc. CROs in India have suffered. Hopefully,
correct and quick policy measures will be
Timely completion of clinical trials holds taken up so that a sector in which Indian
the key to getting regulatory approval companies have shown leadership and
as delays result in huge financial losses which has the potential to employ a large
and can lead to rejection. Hence, time number of students does not suffer.
management and coordination with
all team members is essential in this
assignment. Since clinical trials are held at
multiple locations, you will be required to Key Skills
travel and interact with people from diverse • Knowledge of subject area and
socio-economic, linguistic and cultural regulatory requirements
backgrounds and oversee clinical trials. • Interpersonal skills
You will also be expected to train clinical • Proficiency in communication and
research associates, data management coordination
professionals and educate regulatory • Documentation skills
officials, bureaucrats and politicians • Analytical skills and data interpretation
about the potential of your product and its • Negotiation and networking
advantages over the current products in • Time management
simple language so as to facilitate getting
timely approvals.

Clinical trial Managers are hired by Key Responsibilities

major research hospitals, contract or • Planning, conducting and overseeing
clinical research organizations and major clinical trials using good clinical
pharmaceutical companies. Knowledge practices, preparation of protocols
about patents due to expire soon and • Obtaining approvals for trials from
taking timely action for developing and ethics committee and ensuring
expediting commercialisation of new drugs conduct of trials as per prevailing
could help a company in capturing market regulations
shares. Contract research organizations • Recruiting volunteers, getting consent
offer support for pre-clinical and clinical forms signed, ensuring safety
(Phase I to IV) studies as well as provide • Determining whether the product
post-marketing activities to pharma accomplishes the goal for which it
companies, biotech enterprises and was produced
universities and research hospitals and • Monitoring trial progress to ensure
institutions. compliance with and adherence to
project plan and to identify, evaluate
Due to difficulties and delays in getting and rectify problems

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• Managing trial budgets and Vadodara

maintenance of accounts Pharmaceutical Companies:
• Coordinating with different Accenture India, New Delhi, Pfizer,
departments and prepare regulations Aurangabad, Panacea, New Delhi,
for clinical trial activities and ensure SRL Diagnostics, Gurugram, Serum
compliance Institute, Pune, Cadilla Healthcare Ltd.,
• Adhering to time-frame and maintain Ahmedabad, Jubilant Life Sciences Pvt.
accuracy in process Ltd., Noida, Eli Lilly and Co., Gurugram,
Avesthagen, Bengaluru, Sanofi Aventis,

Sample Job Titles Biotechnology Companies (Pl. refer

Clinical Research Coordinator, Clinical
Research Scientist, Clinical Research
Analyst, Clinical Research Associate,
Clinical Trial Monitor, Clinical Research Training
Consultant, Clinical Quality Assurance • Professional Diploma in Clinical Trial
Auditor, Clinical Safety Analyst, Medical Management -
Writer, Biostatistician, Data Manager, course/professional-diploma-in-clinical-trial-
Research Assistant, Regulatory management/
Coordinator, Regulatory Specialist, Senior • Global Institute of Health Science -
Regulatory Associate, Clinical Trial Clinical Trials Management Training
Management System Manager, Senior
Business Development Associate, Senior management/
Quality Assurance Specialist, Patent • Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical
Recruitment Specialist, Administrator Trial Management - https://parexel-
Clinical Systems Information

Potential Employers * • Clinical Trials Management Certificate

Contract Research Organizations (CRO) | UChicago Graham - https://
Quintiles- Global CRO with offices in

Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, New programs/professional-development/

Delhi: PPD- Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai clinical-trials

Paraxel- Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi,

Mumbai, Gurgaon, Chandigarh
Indian CROs: Siro Clinpharm, Mumbai, Suggested Further Reading
GVK Bio, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, • 4 Essential Skills for Clinical Trial
Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Clininvent, Mumbai, Project Managers - Forte Research -
CliniRX Tangent Research India Pvt. Ltd.,
Chennai, Navitas Life Sciences, Mumbai, skills-ideal-clinical-trial-project-manager/
Manas Clinical Research Pvt. Ltd.,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

• 8 Must-Have Competencies for

the Clinical Research Professional skills-clinical-trial-project-manager
- • How to get a clinical project manager
must-competencies-clinical-research- job | Proclinical blogs- https://www.
• Top Skills for Clinical Research a-clinical-project-manager-job
Associates (CRA) and Coordinators • A career in clinical research | New
...- Scientist Jobs- https://jobs.newscientist.
skills-to-boost-your-clinical-research-career/ com/en-gb/article/a-career-in-clinical-
• Top 3 Skills For Clinical Trial Project research/
Manager | Applied Clinical Trials-http://

3.4. and requisite skills for that career path.

From many years of experience based on

Conclusion interactions with students, we have seen

that students first acquire qualifications
and then start exploring career choices.
In this chapter, we have discussed various We strongly feel that it should be the other
academic and non-academic career way round and hence, we will discuss
options for life science and biotechnology options for higher education in India in the
students. For each career option, we have next chapter. However, if you have already
included details such as key skills, key obtained your educational qualifications
responsibilities, job titles, training required, (like UG, PG, PhD and postdoc), the current
courses available, potential employers, chapter as well as Chapter 2 should enable
and references for further reading. We you to formulate a strategy for making a
believe that this will help students arrive suitable career choice, attaining a desirable
at a decision about probable career position, and achieving excellence in
choice(s) and take appropriate action, for whichever path you choose.
e.g. trying to acquire the necessary training

Academic Careers Intellectual Property

Faculty in Colleges, Universities,

and Autonomous Research
Institutes Technology Transfer

Scientist in Research
Regulatory Management

Non-academic Careers
Science Communication
& Public Outreach
Jobs in Industry

Science Management &

Research & Development Administration

Product Management
Science Public Policy
Quality Control and Quality
Assurance Management

Human Resource (HR) Specialized Services


Technical Sales Core Facility Management

and Marketing

Technical Writing

Consultancy, Business Career in Big Data Science

Development & Equity

Clinical Trials Management


Career Options

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Selecting an Appropriate
Course and Institute
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

4.1. Selecting a
College or a University

4.2. Undergraduate

4.3. Postgraduate

4.4. Opportunities for
Pursuing Biotechnology
Courses in India

4.5. Bridging Skill Gaps
in Biotechnology

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Selecting an
Appropriate Course
and Institute
Crucial decisions like which subjects to major in during
undergraduate/postgraduate education can have long lasting
effects on your career goals and hence, should be well thought
out. I am sure when you opted for the science stream in
Class XI, you considered your interest, aptitude, capability and
so on. However, after completion of 10+2, you may be better
equipped with practical experience and maturity and may
like to carefully consider your decision (in consultation with
your well-wishers), keeping in mind some important factors
such as your interest and passion, availability of courses,
career options you are interested in, number of years you’ll
need to devote to higher education according to the career
path you have chosen, etc.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

It may be useful to take help and get or choosing a college or university due
psychometric testing done to analyse to financial, familial, or geographic
your personality and shortlist courses and restrictions. Just remember not to make
careers suited to the same. Psychometric this decision casually and arbitrarily, since
tests are standard scientific tests a thoughtless decision may lead you to be
which measure an individual’s mental stuck in a field which you do not like and
capabilities, intelligence, personality, skills are not passionate about. Understand and
and behavioral style. These can also test take responsibility for this decision, as
specific skills like verbal, numerical and it will involve the next several important
diagrammatic reasoning. Thus, they can years of your life and play a significant role
give you clues about the suitability of a in your happiness in your chosen career.
particular course or job role based on your
aptitude and cognitive abilities. In the absence of proper guidance and lack
of maturity or experience, students often
It may also be worthwhile to consult a first acquire educational qualifications
professional career counsellor who can and then start looking for jobs to match
facilitate decision-making by informing said qualifications. We feel that career
you about suitable career options. They decisions should be informed choices
can also help you develop a contingency based on your interests and passion,
plan, in case your first preference doesn’t and accordingly, you should acquire
work out. Career counsellors are equipped educational qualifications and experience
to offer professional advice keeping your to convert your dream into reality.
personality, educational background, Therefore, in this book, we have tried to
interests, and immediate and long term first inform you about different career
career goals in mind . options available for life science students
in India (Chapter 3). Based on which of
Sometimes, you may need to opt for a these options you are interested in and the
course which was not your first preference. skill-sets needed for the same, you should
This is all right. Do not waste time over a plan how to attain these qualifications and
lost opportunity and move on. For example, empower yourself to succeed in a field of
students who wish to pursue medicine or your choice.
engineering often make multiple attempts
at these entrance exams, and only opt In this chapter, we shall discuss broad
for pure science streams once these guiding principles to be kept in mind
options are exhausted. However, this while deciding which course to pursue,
loss of time can be disadvantageous as which subjects/courses to take up, which
several fellowships have age-restrictions. colleges/university to apply to, where to
My advice, therefore, is to be realistic and do internships and how and when to apply.
practical. Since time is crucial, try not to All of these decisions revolve around what
delay taking these decisions. you want to do after attaining a degree,
including studying further or entering a job
At times, you may have to make immediately.
compromises while selecting courses,

Expand skill-
sets by doing

at UG level

Research market
requirements for
new courses

A few golden principles you should keep In addition, specialization at undergraduate

in mind are: or postgraduate levels may not necessarily
give you any added advantage while
1. Try not to specialize too much at the applying for jobs. Many biotech companies
undergraduate level as it may narrow your may prefer candidates who have an MSc in
options. As an example, it may be easier Biotechnology as compared to specialized
for someone with a BSc in Life Sciences degrees such as marine biotechnology
or even BSc Botany or Zoology (Hons.) to or bioresource biotechnology. Domain
find a teaching job in biology at a school, knowledge in a narrow discipline will be
than someone with a BSc in Biotechnology advantageous only if you are very sure of
as very few schools may be offering continuing in that field post completion of
biotechnology while all schools with a your degree. Otherwise, this may actually
science option offer biology. Similarly, reduce your opportunities (e.g. a student
as per the present educational structure with a specialized degree in Bio-pharma
at most Universities, BSc (Life Sciences) may not be suitable for Agri-biotech
students have more options for MSc companies). Also, keep in mind that
courses (e.g. biochemistry, microbiology, colleges/universities often initiate new
genetics, plant molecular biology, courses based on the availability of funding
botany, zoology, biotechnology, etc.), but and in-house expertise and not necessarily
students with an undergraduate degree in based on demand and supply of trained
biotechnology may not be eligible for MSc manpower in that field. Keep all of these
botany or zoology at many places. factors in mind while selecting a course.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2. Do not get carried away by the hype Remember that ‘one size does not fit all’.
created when a new course is offered at Do not follow the herd-mentality and enter
a college or a university. First research a rat-race blindly without understanding
the market requirements for that course, your own strengths and interests. Do not
job availability and placement, availability join a course or a college just because
of faculty expertise to deliver the course your friends or all the “good students” are
content, etc. At times, such courses end up taking admission there. Since this is one
serving old wine in a new bottle by simply of the first major decisions of your life and
renaming existing courses without any may play an important role in your future
change in core content or structure. success and happiness, give it due time
and consideration. Make a well-informed
3. Try to expand your skill-sets and
decision after considering your interest,
experience by taking up projects,
aptitude and understanding, and do not
internships etc. while in college or
hesitate to take professional help if you
have any doubts. Once you have made
4. Actively participate in extracurricular an initial decision about which course
activities like college festivals, college you would like to pursue, try to look at the
magazines, journal clubs, etc. These course content and talk to a few senior
experiences will be invaluable and help students pursuing that course before
you build your network, improve your arriving at a final decision.
communication skills, and gain confidence.

4.1. teacher ratio, laboratory and library

facilities, alumni placements, etc. Also try

Selecting a to find out the usual cut-off percentage at

the time of admission in the course of your

College or a interest, drop-out rates, previous year’s

results etc.

University Based on this data, do a realistic evaluation

of your chance of securing an admission
and shortlist a few colleges. It may also be
Once you have an idea of which course worthwhile to look at the rankings of these
you would like to pursue, the next major colleges by various national surveys, e.g.
important decision you will need to make is those conducted by India Today (https://
which college or university to apply to. You, Outlook (https://www.
should look at the website of the college(s), National Assessment
you are proposing to join and carefully & Accreditation Council (NAAC) (www.
compile some relevant information. Some, National Institute Ranking
of the details you should look at are: Framework (NIRF) (https://www.nirfindia.
number of teachers, their educational org) etc. Check whether the college
background, number of students, student- is private/government/autonomous/

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

university-affiliated etc. and whether it first choice. Here, you may need to make
is legally recognized for providing valid a hard decision of whether you should go
degrees. for your desired subject or your desired
institute. Weigh the pros and cons of
It can help if you prepare a table both alternatives before arriving at a final
with details like important deadlines, decision as choice of subject as well as
documents required for admission etc. the reputation of the institute are both
for each of your shortlisted colleges. very important and crucial factors. Assign
Make sure your application is complete relative weightage to both factors, talk
in all respects and that you submit it in a to seniors who might have faced similar
timely manner and promptly appear for situations as well as to the faculty of both
subsequent interviews/counselling, if any. institutes, and consider carefully your
You must also keep your contingency strengths, requirements and expectations,
plan ready, in case you do not succeed in before taking a final call.
securing admission in the course/college
of your choice. Once you have secured admission in a
course of your choice in a good institution,
Sometimes, you may secure admission please make whole-hearted efforts to
in your desired institute, but not in the acquire as much knowledge, experience
course that is your first preference. Or and skills as possible in these 2-4 years.
you may get selected for a course of your Be proactive and participative.
choice, but in an institute that is not your

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Try to do projects and internships during

summers or winters. Summer projects 4.1.1.
in research institutes can give you
much needed exposure on the basics of Role of
scientific methods. Some of the things
you can learn from projects are how to
choose a scientific problem, how to design
When you decide on a college or institute,
experiments and analyse results, how to
try to collect important data about
use correct controls, how to determine
teachers, their educational background,
sample size, how to conduct literature
teaching methodology they use, how
reviews, how to prepare project reports,
updated they are with modern teaching
etc. You may also get a chance to engage
methods (as they may have acquired their
in troubleshooting and understanding why
qualification long time ago), and so on
something did or didn’t work - a valuable
as teachers play a very important role in
skill for any potential career. You may learn
shaping the future of their students. The
how to deal with real data and ambiguity,
following few paragraphs will help you in
how to critically analyse existing literature,
shortlisting a good institute on the basis of
and how to interpret results. This exposure
in-house faculty.
will help you decide whether or not you
would like to pursue research at a later The best teachers are those who cite real
date and this experience will add value life examples and make biology relevant by
to your CV. It has been observed that presenting problems in a real life context,
larger numbers of students who have had who stimulate curiosity in students,
undergraduate research exposure, go on to who demonstrate their passion for the
pursue PhDs. discipline and who take joy in sharing
their understanding of the world with
Try to maximise your learning by their students. Good teachers introduce
attending lectures by eminent scientists students to scientific inquiry, the use of
and taking online courses in related evidence, and the core biology concepts
and relevant fields. As per your interest, that will help students to apply knowledge
try to take courses in management, and make informed decisions about
intellectual property regulation, science biology-related problems in their lives.
communication, etc. offered by sister Thus, teachers have a unique opportunity
departments in your institute or nearby and responsibility to ensure that all
institutes. Learn as many techniques as students gain a basic understanding of
possible and lay a lot of emphasis on science as a way to learn about the natural
practical training. While pursuing your world.
degree, if you realize that you are not
enjoying this course and your interest and Undergraduate teachers face unique
true passion lies somewhere else, and you challenges as students come from diverse
decide to switch trajectories, try to make social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.
this decision as early as possible.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

The number of students in each class etc. They should also provide students
is large, the teachers need to finish the with opportunities to engage in research.
syllabus on time, and at the same time, Student involvement in hands-on research
strike a balance between promoting helps in cultivating scientific thinking,
understanding of concepts and applying gaining first hand experience of asking
this knowledge in real-life situations. questions, designing experiments,
Teachers need to lay more emphasis interpreting results including unexpected
on problem solving and not overload outcomes, coping with failed experiments
students with facts. For this, they should and considering alternate approaches,
devise assessment tools to measure learning new techniques, etc.
understanding of subject and ability to
apply knowledge gained, rather than just An example of a place where this strategy
testing rote-learning of factual information. has been employed successfully is
Learning outcomes should include DBT-supported star colleges, where
competencies to be developed, concepts undergraduates who have received
to be understood, and factual knowledge research experience have been observed
to be acquired. The ideal classroom should to gain a deeper understanding of the
be interactive, inquiry driven, relevant, research process and learn techniques,
cooperative, and collaborative. use of equipment, troubleshooting etc.
In the beginning, teachers cited multiple
Teachers should assess the level of reasons for not taking up project work,
knowledge and experience of their classes including insufficient training of students,
in the beginning of the session and lack of trained laboratory staff, lack of
accordingly devise their content. Based time due to the semester system, pressure
on frequent assessment and student to complete syllabus, lack of interest
feedback, faculty should identify gaps and amongst students etc. However, gradually,
misconceptions in student learning and this initial hesitation has been replaced
formulate teaching strategies accordingly. by enthusiastic participation by students
Eventually, students should be able to and teachers.
think critically, ask informed and insightful
questions, collect relevant information, Faculty should be given ample
communicate well, and work efficiently. opportunities to upgrade their knowledge
The teacher’s approach should be based and incentives to recognize and reward
on “What my students want to learn” rather good teaching. For example, IISER Pune
than “What I want to teach”. has conducted 3-tier faculty training
programmes in DBT Star colleges,
Teachers should use a combination of supported jointly by DBT and British
different evaluation strategies such as Council. Such workshops focus on
daily interaction, quizzes, mid-semester pedagogical tools and conduct training
evaluation, discussing research papers at both basic and advanced levels.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Undergraduate Once you have narrowed down your

choices, please make a list of colleges
offering the course, eligibility, admission
process like entrance test, deadline for
Students taking biology, physics, chemistry submitting application, recent cut-off
and/or mathematics at 10+2 level have percentages, fee structure, ranking of
multiple options and based on their college, placements of earlier batches etc.
interest, merit and choice of career path, and refine your choice. At the same time,
they can opt for any of the courses shown try to make a realistic assessment of your
in the figure below: chances.

BSc / BTech
Undergraduate Courses

Basic Science Medicine and Nursing, Agriculture, Veterinary, Engineering

Courses Allied Fields Physiotherapy Dairy, Animal Courses

Basic Science
Students who are inquisitive, wish to find Microbiology, Biochemistry,
answers to fundamental questions, have Biophysics, Genetics, Wild Life
keen observation skills, enjoy practical
Biology, Forestry, Environmental
training, and are willing to pursue post
Sciences, Environmental Biology,
graduation and research, should opt for
Neurobiology, Physiology,
basic science courses:
Anthropology, Food Technology,
BSc in Life Sciences, Biological Food Science & Nutrition,
Sciences, Botany, Zoology (Hons.), Biotechnology, etc.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

4.2.2. adaptability and flexibility and are willing to

work for long hours should opt for

Medicine and these courses:

Allied Fields
Diploma; BSc (Hons.) Nursing,
Physiotherapy, Diploma in Diet and
Nutrition, Food & Nutrition, Sports &
Students who have a keen interest in Nutrition, Food Technology.
understanding how the human body
functions or in the diagnosis of diseases
and treatment, who are compassionate
and willing to work long hours which would 4.2.4.
need physical and emotional strength,
and who wish to reduce the suffering of
patients, should opt for these courses:
MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and
Surgery), BHA (Bachelor of Hospital Dairy, Animal
Management), BHMS (Bachelor of
Homeopathic Medicine & Surgery), BUMS
(Bachelor of Unani Medicine & Surgery),
Students who wish to learn about
BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine breeding new plant or livestock varieties,
& Surgery), BSMS (Bachelor of Siddha increasing agricultural productivity, farming
Medicine & Sciences), BDS (Bachelor practices, grain and seed processing,
of Dental Sciences), Bachelor of dairy processing, feed manufacturing, etc.
Physiotherapy, Diploma and should opt for these courses:
Bachelors in Pharmacy (B.Pharma),
BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences),
BTech (Pharma), BSc Yoga Science,
BVSc & AH ( Bachelor of Veterinary
WBNYS (Bachelor of Naturopathy and
Sciences and Animal Husbandry),
Yoga Science).
BSc (Agriculture, Horticulture),
Diploma in dairy Technology,
Diploma in Animal Husbandry

4.2.3. and Dairying.

Students who wish to develop
competence in nursing and patient care,
have compassion, attention to detail,

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

4.2.5. I would like to reiterate that you should

avoid specializing at undergraduate level

Engineering as it can narrow your options during

post-graduation as well as while applying

Courses for jobs. It is an important decision of

your life and will have a bearing on your
future career choices. Hence, carry out
Students who enjoy mathematics and
proper research about your interests, likes
physics, are technology-savvy and wish to
and dislikes, career options for different
learn technical skills to provide solutions
courses, industry trends, job requirements
to practical problems should opt for
in different sectors etc.. If you have
engineering courses:
doubts, please do not hesitate to take
BTech (Biotechnology, Agriculture guidance from your teachers, professional
Engineering, Dairy Technology, counselors, experts.
Chemical Engineering, Polymer
For details of courses, eligibility, institutes/
Engineering, Textile Engineering, universities offering these courses, please
Biomedical Engineering, Marine refer to CBSE Compendium of academic
Engineering, Medical Electronics courses after +2 (

4.3. biochemistry, etc. may be eligible for

admission to MSc. biotechnology but

Postgraduate the reverse may not be possible. You

must carefully select your choice for

Courses postgraduate degree based on your

interests, eligibility and future career
Many Indian universities do not allow
students with an undergraduate degree As far as possible, along with your
in a different discipline to take up a core degree, you should try to take up
postgraduate degree in a specialized additional courses in topics such as
discipline. This means that in many intellectual property rights (IPR), business
places, you may be eligible only for management, or entrepreneurship
post-graduation degree in the same development, if they are being offered
discipline in which you undertook by other departments of your university/
your undergraduate degree. For college. You can also take up online
certain interdisciplinary courses, e.g. courses offered by Indian or overseas
biotechnology or bioinformatics, students universities in the field of your interest.
with undergraduate degrees in basic If you do not wish to continue post-
science fields such as botany, zoology, graduation in the same field as your
microbiology, genetics, physics, chemistry, undergraduate studies, you can diversify

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

and take up courses in the field of courses, which are good options if you
your interest. For example, you can go are considering a career in research.
for a BEd if you wish to enter teaching, Admission to IITs is through the GATE-JAM
an MBA if you are interested in business (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)
management, law/IPR courses if you exam. Candidates are admitted to IISERs
wish to be a patent attorney, or mass through different channels, namely, Kishore
communication and journalism if Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), State
you wish to diversify to science Board and Central Board. Admission to
communication and so on. NCBS and TIFR is based on Joint Graduate
Entrance Examination for Biology and
Several institutes like IITs, IISERs, NCBS, Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (JGEEBILS),
TIFR also run integrated MSc, integrated followed by interview of shortlisted
MTech as well as MSc by research candidates.

MSc / MTech
Choose stream based on university/ Institute from where graduated,
educational qualification, academic credentials, dissertation, aptitude and choice

Industrial BEd MBA IPR Course Entrepreneurship Mass NET-LS, JRF

training (Biotech, Agri Business, Dev. Programme Communication
Pharma Business

Industry Teaching Marketing/ Patent Attorney/ Setup Own Scientific

in schools Management Patent Examiner Enterprise Journalism

Research Scientist
Teaching in University &
Scientific Management
R&D Production/ QA/QC Bioinformatics Technician/ IPR Clinical Marketing/
Manufacturing Technologist Trials Management Industry

for Pursuing
in India
This section will be devoted to
postgraduate courses in biotechnology.
There are a number of universities
and affiliated colleges in India running
teaching and continuity of faculty after
postgraduate courses in biotechnology.
DBT withdrew its support, commitment
Most of the postgraduate courses
to provide faculty salaries was obtained
in biotechnology in the country have
from state governments in case of
3 semesters of coursework and one
state universities and UGC for central
semester devoted to a dissertation or
universities. These programmes exhibited
thesis. You should keep in mind the guiding
a true culture of participative, collaborative
principles discussed above while selecting
effort to impart best quality of teaching.
a course and university/college and take
the final decision based on your interest, To begin with, DBT-supported MSc courses
course content, faculty, employability of in general biotechnology were initiated in 6
students with this degree, and guidance universities, which was later expanded to
by seniors, faculty, counsellors etc. over 70 courses in general biotechnology
including specialized MTech/MVSc/MSc
India can take pride in being one of the
(Ag) courses such as agricultural, medical,
first few countries in the world to initiate
pharmaceutical, industrial, environmental,
postgraduate teaching programme in
marine biotechnology. Details like the
biotechnology back in 1985-86. These
name of university/institute, name of
courses were initiated by the Department
degree, no. of seats, eligibility, mode of
of Biotechnology (DBT) to cater to the
selection, course coordinator contact
need of trained manpower for the biotech
details for DBT-supported postgraduate
industry as well as educational and
teaching programmes are maintained
research institutions. Universities were
by DBT. For most of the participating
selected judiciously to ensure involvement
universities, students are selected through
of relevant science departments so as
a common all-India written test conducted
to impart multi-disciplinary teaching in
by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
biotechnology. To ensure quality of

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

As biotechnology is rapidly advancing area, of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore offer

curriculum revision exercise is conducted MBA in agri-business Management. India
every 3 to 5 years and feedback of present Patent Office, Supreme Court of India
and past students, faculty, potential and Bangalore Law College have courses
employers is taken into consideration. on intellectual property law in distance
Based on feedback, new courses such as learning mode.
communication skills, IPR and regulation,
statistics and latest bioinformatics tools Maximise Learning
have also been added by many universities In the above sections, we have discussed
in recent years, along with some remedial undergraduate and postgraduate courses
courses. in life sciences and biotechnology being
run by universities and institutes in India
Realizing the immense potentialof and different factors to be kept in mind for
bioinformatics in analyzing,recommending, selection of course and institute. After you
predicting and designing new products, have enrolled in such a course, you should
DBT has also supported PG courses in try to gain maximum exposure and acquire
bioinformatics. However, riding on the IT-BT multiple skills by taking up additional
wave, several diploma and degree courses courses, projects, internships etc. and
in bioinformatics were started without participating in extra-curricular activities
regard for maintaining the quality of like compiling and editing of college or
training. To circumvent this problem, DBT departmental magazines, organizing
initiated Bioinformatics certification (BINC) seminar/conference/journal club/alumni
exam which lends credibility and ensures association/placement fairs etc.
minimum quality to certified students. You should be proactive and do due
Indiscriminate expansion of biotechnology diligence before taking admission in
courses by public and private sector a particular course in a university. You
universities and their affiliated colleges should take a well-informed decision
and lack of common minimum standard based on the college or university’s existing
in administering quality practical training expertise and infrastructure, placement of
has led to closing down of a few courses. earlier students, nature of jobs and average
A common certification exam based on salaries offered, ranking of university etc.,
the pattern of BINC or GRE could offer a instead of following herd-mentality, and
practical solution by ensuring minimum taking up a course and then looking for
standard. jobs. Try to keep your eyes and ears open,
make connections, and network.
Pune university, Amity university and
Punjab University also run MBA programs
in biotechnology. IIM, Ahmedabad,
All the best!
Lucknow, Institute of Management
Studies, Banaras Hindu University, Punjab
Agricultural University, Ludhiana, University

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

4.5. many entry-level positions, DBT conceived

an innovative programme called Biotech

Bridging Industrial Training Programme (BITP)

in 1993-94. This programme imparts

Skill Gaps in practical industrial training to students for

6 months in biotech companies. Students

Biotechnology get much needed first-hand exposure to

industry requirements, expectations, work
culture, targets, confidentiality, team work,
Now, we will discuss ways in which
etc. This training is mutually beneficial to
students can enhance their employability
both students and companies as it gives
and become industry ready. Based on the
an opportunity to students to become
fact that many biotech companies feel that
industry-ready and allows industries
biotech students lack domain expertise
to evaluate and select prospective
and are not industry ready, as well as the
requirement of practical experience for

BITP mode of selection:

BITP notification Processing of Online single session

& eligibilty criteria applications multiple choice exam for
screening of candidates

Placement of selected Matchmaking of Interviewing

candidates in companies Companies requisitions applicants
for training with student profiles

Monthly feedback Disbursement of Monitoring

and evaluation Trainee stipend/
Company bench fee

Follow up regarding Issue of Submission of

placement Certificate Project report

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Initially, only students from DBT-supported exponential expansion in the number of

PG teaching programmes were eligible trainees as well as participating companies
for BITP, but based on demand, eligibility with 725 students in 146 companies
was extended to students with B.Tech./M. in 2017-18. All selected students are
Sc./M.Tech. in biotech from any Indian given a monthly stipend and trainer fee
university in 2007. The programme made a to companies. On an average, 25 to 30%
modest beginning with training 5 students trainees get jobs in the trainer company or
in 3 companies in 1993-94 and witnessed other companies in their field of training.

Trend Analysis of BITP Candidates

Applicants Received Candidates Selected Candidates Trained





2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016







2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019

Based on the success of this programme, Finishing Schools have been established by
Government of Karnataka launched a Karnataka State Government and stipend
modified version of this programme to all selected students is provided by
viz. Finishing School programme in DBT. Students from all parts of the country
2011-12 with coursework for 6 months are eligible and have to undergo online
and industrial training for 6 months. 12 Karnataka Biotechnology Aptitude Test

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

followed by an interview. This programme R&D and very few students opt for training
has been renamed as Biotechnology Skill in production/manufacturing, QA/QC,
Enhancement Programme (BiSEP) and is IPR, regulation, sales and marketing. You
gaining popularity as trained students are should keep in mind that without a PhD and
finding placements. postdoc, growth in industry in R&D can be
limited. Moreover, the majority of industry
DBT has also recently approved post jobs lie in production, quality control and
graduate diploma courses in genetic assurance, marketing and regulation etc.,
counseling, quality assurance and testing each of which can be exciting and fulfilling
in plant tissue culture, big data analytics, career paths. So, choose your options
computational biology, and personalized judiciously, keeping in mind which skill-
medicine under its skill-development sets are needed for different job roles (see
programme. Chapter 3) and try to sharpen and nurture
your skills during the training period.
Several private sector initiatives such
as BIOCON academy, Institute of If you join an industrial training program,
Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology work hard and give your 100%. Take
(IBAB) are also offering PG diploma advantage of this opportunity by making
courses and training to enhance the relevant connections and creating a
employability of students. good impression so that your chances of
absorption on completion of training are
Students who are willing to pursue a
high. In case there is no opening in your
career in the biotech industry should
trainer company, your experience will come
take advantage of these programmes.
handy in getting job in other companies
Do not use these programmes as a
in the same field as you will be able to get
stop-gap arrangement and remember
good referrals from your supervisor in your
that industrial training may not provide a
trainer company.
significant advantage if you wish to pursue
an academic career. Also remember that Students should choose a programme
these programmes provide industrial according to the guiding principles
training, not practical training, and are described in the chapter and maximize
not a substitute for hands-on laboratory their learning. Take note that these are
experience. important decisions and should be made
carefully. Be focused. Dream big and go all
It is often seen that the majority of
out to convert your dreams into reality.
applicants for industrial training opt for

Suggested • Using assessments to investigate

and compare the nature of learning

Further in undergraduate science courses. -

Reading • Opportunities for nurturing excellence

in teaching, training and leadership in

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

biotechnology. -http://employmentnews. • Chronicle of higher education: the conversation. - https://www.chronicle.
aspx?n=InDepthJobs&k=122 com/blogs/conversation/2015/03/
• Govil, S. & Sharma, P.(eds.) 2016. • Govil, S. & Sharma, P. 2014. “Industrial
“Mapping Biotech Industrial Training Immersion to Bridge Skill Gap-Biotech
Landscape”.- Published by Department of Industrial Training Programme
Biotechnology 2007-13”.- Published by Department of
• Govil, S. 2016 “Biotech Education – Biotechnology.
Past, Present and Looking Forward” • Govil, S. 2014. “Nurturing and Branding
In: Life Science Avenues and Excellence in Biotech Teaching and
Opportunities. - Published by Vivify Training”. In: Biotech Career Ready
Media Pvt. Ltd. Reckoner. 18-50. - Published by Vivify
• Symposium on “Teaching of sciences Media Pvt. Ltd.
in higher education”: a report. - • Govil, S. 2014. “Outstanding Performers – an introduction”. In:
symposium-on-teaching-of-sciences-in- Biotech Career Ready Reckoner. 103-
higher-education-a-report 104. - Published by Vivify Media Pvt. Ltd.
• “Pursuit of Biotechnology: • Rawat, A.K., Munshi, M & Govil, S.
Opportunities and Options” 2014. “Nurturing Leadership in
- Published by Department of Biotechnology Biotechnology”. In: Biotech Career
• DBT Star Colleges Nurture Excellence Ready Reckoner. 51-57. Published by
in Undergraduate Science …. 2015. Vivify Media Pvt. Ltd. • Joshi. K, Mehra. K, Govil. S & Singh.
education/dbt-star-colleges-nurture- N. 2013. Biotechnology Education in
excellence-in-undergraduate-science- India: An Overview. In: Policy Futures
education in Education ISSN 1478-2103. Vol.II
• DBT’s Star College Scheme transforms (1):19-36.
Undergraduate Science ...- https:// • Lakhotia, S.C., Shashidhara, L.S. & Vale, R. 2013. Excellence in science
dbts-star-college-scheme-transforms- education and research. Current
undergraduate-science-educati Science 104(2): 163-165.
• Addressing the Industry- Academia • Nandagopal, M. 2013. Commercialising
gap - BioSpectrum India - https://www. technologies from universities and research institutes in India: some
addressing-the-industry-academia-gap.html insights from the US experience.
• Bradforth, S.E. et al., 2015. University Current Science 104(2): 183-189.
learning: Improve undergraduate • Narasimharao, B. PanduRanga, 2013.
science education. Nature 523:282-284. Education Science academies’
• Don’t Divide Teaching and Research. position paper: Restructuring post-
- school science teaching programmes.
conversation/2015/03/09/dont-divide- Current Science. 95(10): 1411-1420.
teaching-and-research/ • Gupta, S., Munshi, M & Govil, S.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

2009. “Nurturing Excellence towards • Sharma, S. & Govil, S. 2007. DBT’s

Capacity Building”. In: Education & postgraduate teaching programme –
Career Resource Guide: 74-84. A fact file. Biotech News II (2) : V
- Published by Biospectrum. • Sharma, S. & Govil, S. 2007. Bridging
• Vision and change in undergraduate skill gaps for biotech industry.
biology education : A call to action. - Biospectrum 5(8) : 40-45. • Sharma, S. & Govil, S. 2006. Training
wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Revised-Vision- of postgraduate biotechnology
and-Change-Final-Report.pdf students in industry. Advanced
• Govil, S. & Sharma, S. 2008. Pushing Biotech 5(04): 35-36
the Human Frontier. Biotech News III • Lakhotia, S.C. 2000. Biology today:
(3) : 16-17, 21. urgent need for an integrative
• Govil, S. & Sharma, S. 2007. approach. Current Science 78(12):
Two decades of PG teaching in 1414-1415.
biotechnology in India. Biospectrum 6 • Finding a good institution: One
(2): 58-64. criterion and some examples.- https://
• Govil, S. & Sharma, S. 2007.
Biotechnology teaching and career finding-a-good-institution-one-criterion-and-
opportunities. Biospectrum 5(1): some-examples
55-61. • 25 Greatest Science Books of All Time
• Govil, S. & Sharma, S. 2007. Biotech -
education and career avenues. the-sciences/25-greatest-science-books-of-
Biospectrum 5(2) : 35-36. all-time

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Indian Biotechnology
Industry: Status,
and Challenges
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

5.1. Status of the
Indian Biotechnology

5.2. Major Growth Drivers
in Biotechnology Sectors

5.2.1. Biopharmaceuticals/

5.2.2. Bioagriculture

5.2.3. Bioservices

5.2.4. Bioindustry

5.3. The Way Forward
for the Indian Biotechnology

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Indian Biotechnology
Industry: Status,
and Challenges
Biotechnology is an exciting, dynamic, and emerging area which
has the potential to impact socioeconomic developments
worldwide. It can make significant contributions in several
sectors including healthcare, agriculture, food processing, and
environmental management. Globally, the biotech industry was
expected to grow by 37% with a compound annual growth rate
of 8.2% during 2015-19, which will be verified once statistics
are available. The Indian biotechnology industry is one of the
fastest-growing knowledge-based industries and is expected
to play a vital role in shaping India’s growing economy. India’s
large population offers a huge market for biotech products and
services. The availability of medical infrastructure and expertise
(which has resulted in medical tourism), proactive government
policies, and increase in investment from domestic and foreign
players, have all set the right tone for innovation in the biotech
manufacturing and service sectors. Low-cost manufacturing
in India coupled with the availability of talented manpower
at reasonable rates is also attracting outsourcing in the
biotechnology research, manufacturing and services sectors.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

The Indian biotech sector is highly India is in an advantageous position to

innovative and increasing demand for harness the potential of biotechnology
biotech products has led several foreign due to its unique strengths, such as
companies to set up their base in India. availability of rich bio-resources, technical
The Indian biotech industry can be expertise, skilled manpower, progressive
broadly classified into five categories, government policies and rapidly expanding
viz., biopharmaceuticals/healthcare, domestic markets. According to the
bioagriculture, bioservices, bioindustry, strategy document of the Department
and bioinformatics. India is among the of Biotechnology and forecast by the
top 12 biotech destinations in the world Association of Biotechnology Led
and occupies a 2% share in the global Enterprises (ABLE), the Indian biotech
biotech market. It is the largest producer sector has the potential to become a US$
of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine in 100 billion (₹ 6 lakh crore) industry in the
the world. 400 biotech based drugs and next decade, provided that a supportive
vaccines targeting more than 200 diseases and transparent regulatory framework,
are currently in the clinical trial stage. India better bio-manufacturing facilities,
also houses the second-highest number of enhanced investments in R&D, and rational
drug manufacturing plants approved by the tax structures are in place.
FDA (USA) in the world - 527.

5.1. acquires a Compound Annual Growth Rate

of 25-30%. There was a slowdown in the

Status of growth during the year 2013-14 which can

be mainly attributed to delays in regulatory

the Indian approvals. The industry has since been

streamlined by proactive steps for bringing

Biotechnology transparency and increasing predictability

of regulatory approvals, which has led to an
Industry increase in momentum in the growth of the
biotech industry. The Indian biotechnology
India is uniquely positioned to harness the industry’s economy was valued at US$ 51
immense potential of biotechnology in billion in 2018 as against US$ 44.47 billion
transforming all aspects of life. The Indian in 2017, registering 14.68% growth over
biotech industry has witnessed robust this period.The economy was boosted by
growth in the last 10 years with an average the biopharma and bioservices sectors,
annual growth rate of approximately 15%. especially the contract research and
This was driven by a range of factors manufacturing services.
such as growing demand, intensive R&D
activities and strong government initiatives. As per the KPMG report for Life
The Indian biotech industry is estimated Sciences Skill Development Council,
to grow to US$ 100 billion by 2025 if it the life sciences and biotech industry

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

is expected to employ 1.5-1.6 million The highest gap in manpower availability is

people by 2020 with a possible supply expected in the quality and manufacturing
gap of 0.3-0.4 million, which is positive segments. In manufacturing, a shortage
news for life science and biotechnology of trained manpower is predicted at the
students. The industry includes over 200+ junior level, while in quality, there is an
unique job roles across core functions availability gap across roles. In R&D, there
(manufacturing, quality, supply chain, is a shortage of experienced professionals
R&D, sales & marketing) in 3 sub-sectors for Intellectual Property (IP) and regulatory
(pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and roles and in sales and marketing, as
contract research including trials and drug well as in specialized therapeutic areas.
discovery). Approximately 40% of such job The industry looks for crucial attributes
roles are clustered at entry/junior level, like technical competence, willingness
35% at mid-level and 20% at the senior to learn, time management, research
level in the industry. 80% of the present ability, analytical skills, reasoning ability,
workforce volume is made up by 35 job communication skills, teamwork and
roles across life sciences sectors (covering industry experience.
manufacturing, quality, supply chain, R&D,
sales & marketing).

5.1.1. international universities in the area of your

interest (e.g. IPR, regulation, marketing,

How to quality control and analysis) to empower

yourself and enhance your employability.

Become You can also try to take up courses in

marketing, business management, finance

Industry Ready and accounting, statistics, computer

programming and other relevant courses
offered by other sister departments in your
You must keep in mind that academic
college/university/nearby institutes. This
excellence alone is not enough and try
would also help you in understanding your
to acquire multiple skills and participate
aptitude, making informed career choices,
in extracurricular activities to add value
and cultivating your interests.
to your CV. You should also explore the
possibility of internships in industry
or premier research institutions to Multi-disciplinary research and
have a wider exposure and first-hand collaboration are the needs of the hour.
understanding of the research/industry Collaboration should be aimed towards
environment and the difference in addressing common goals and not just
expectations between an academic and designed to solve technical problems. It
an industry environment. Along with is important that you interact with experts
regular course work, you should try to take across disciplines to widen your horizons
online courses offered by national and and bring fresh ideas for collaborations.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

You should not confine yourself to is your calling, this is an excellent time to
interacting with only your labmates; be in India, as we have the right ecosystem,
instead, expand your network to include conducive environment, incubator spaces,
students from other laboratories and funding options, and skilled, talented
disciplines. You should also proactively manpower. If you have an innovative idea
participate in extracurricular activities such and passion, you can choose the right
as organizing journal clubs, editing college team and change your dreams into reality.
magazines, organizing seminars/symposia
etc. as the skills you will acquire and the The biotech industry is a major employer
network you will develop thus would be of life science and biotech students and
very useful while transitioning to a job. if the industry flourishes, it is a healthy
sign for those employed, as well as
If you are interested in setting up your those just entering the job market. If you
own enterprise, you should take up are interested in taking up jobs in the
entrepreneurship development courses biotech industry, it is important for you to
offered by entrepreneurship development understand industry growth trends and
institutes, IIMs etc. There are also predictions for the future. You should also
entrepreneurship-focused competitions educate yourself about major products
organized by ABLE and C-CAMP that are in the market, products in the pipeline,
supported by BIRAC and Department of manpower availability and requirements,
Biotechnology. It would be a good idea possible hurdles (if any) in the growth of
to participate in these. You should also the industry, skill-sets needed etc. so that
network with start-ups. If entrepreneurship you can equip yourself accordingly.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Major Growth
Drivers in
We will now discuss the growth of the
Indian biotech industry in the past decade
and applications of biotechnology in major

Trends in the growth of the

biotechnology industry since 2008
*As per the India Bioeconomy Report 2019, Indian

51 b*
bioeconomy is projected to be US$ 63 b in 2020,
US$ 85 billion in 2023 and US$ 102 b in 2025. This

44.47 b*

33.6 b* upto November 2019

50 is a very positive situation for students looking for
career options as the industry is looking up and
there are 2500+ biotech companies in India with
a workforce of over 1 million.

US$ in billion


11 b

4.3 b

4.3 b
3.8 b

2.6 b

2.6 b


2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2008 - 2016 (IBEF Indian Biotechnology Industry Analysis)

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Now, we will try to understand the relevance

of career options and major growth drivers
in each of the biotech sectors.

Biotechnology Sectors

Biopharmaceuticals/ Bioagriculture Bioservices Bioindustry


The biopharmaceutical sector constitutes Research Organizations (CRO)/BioIT/

57% of the total biotech industry revenue research and bioservices/bioindustry
in India, followed by bioagri at 18%. Clinical contribute 14% and 11% respectively.

Sector-wise distribution of the

Biotechnology industry in India

(CRO/BioIT/Research) Biopharmaceuticals
US$ 4.8 B US$ 19 B
14% 57%

US$ 6.05 B


US$ 3.75 B

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

5.2.1. strong position globally. Diagnostics

Biopharma- and medical devices contribute

about 50% of the pharma sector
of the biotechnology economy. It

is expected that biomedical devices,
genomic testing and regenerative medicine
shall contribute significantly to the
The Indian biopharmaceutical sector future growth of this sector. In India, the
(valued at US$ 3 billion in 2015) grew at healthcare sector is set to do well due
a CAGR of 10% during 2010-2015, largely to the increasing income of the middle
driven by vaccine exports. The biopharma class, increase in longevity leading to an
sector contributes 57% of the total ageing population, rising aspirations of
biotechnology revenue of India. The key the rural masses, and increase in lifestyle
growth drivers are biologic drugs, generics, diseases such as cardiac diseases, cancer,
biosimilars, molecular diagnostics, diabetes etc., for which biotechnology can
vaccines and natural product-based drug offer effective diagnostic, prognostic, and
discovery, wherein India already enjoys a therapeutic treatment avenues.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students between 2016 and 2020, creating a huge

opportunity. Consumer pressure to reduce

Biologic Drugs/ costs has attracted a large number of

additional players, besides the original

Generics/ innovator companies who owned the

patents which are about to expire. Since

Biosimilars these companies would lose patent

exclusivity, work on biosimilars has
sped up.
Globally, the market for biopharmaceutical
products has more than doubled in the To reduce healthcare costs, preference for
last decade, growing from US$ 78 billion generic drugs and biosimilars is increasing.
in 2006 to US$ 179 billion in 2014. It is Generics can save as much as 70% of
expected to touch US$ 278 billion in 2020. the total cost, while biosimilars cost 10-
30% less than biologic drugs. The global
India is the 6th largest pharmaceutical
biosimilar market is expected to grow
market globally. The need to reduce
almost 5-folds from US$ 5 billion in 2015
healthcare expenses in the developed
to US$ 24 billion by 2019 to US$ 69 billion
world, as well as India’s inherent strengths
by 2025. By 2020, 25% of total biologics
viz. low-cost manufacturing, relevant
sales is expected to come from off-patent
skills, and young population, have led to
therapeutics. USA is the largest market
a rise in the manufacturing of low-cost
for biologic drugs, while the biosimilar
quality medicines in India. Generics are
market depends largely on acceptance of
the mainstay of the Indian pharma market.
biosimilars in the US.
Pharmaceutical companies in India are
now upgrading their infrastructure to meet
Globally, 1015 biosimilars (also known as
global compliance norms and diversifying
follow-on biologics) are currently under
their portfolios to include complex
development by 475 companies to
formulations. Many of them are also
reduce the cost of biologic therapies. The
initiating strong R&D pipelines. India has
first biosimilar product was approved in
the highest number of US FDA approved
the US in 2015. India approved its first
manufacturing plants outside the US
biosimilar as early as 2000.
and houses 527 US FDA approved drug
EU has approved 19 biosimilar products
manufacturing facilities.
for 9 branded biologic products and Japan
has approved 8 biosimilar products. At
The share of new biologic drugs in the
present, China leads with 350+ products
market increased from 14% in 2006 to 23%
in 2014 and constituted 40% share of US followed by India with 201 active
FDA approved drugs. These will hopefully biosimilars in the pipeline of 52 Indian
occupy 27% of global prescription sales pharmaceutical companies.
by 2020. Biologic drugs worth US$ 70
With increased acceptance of biosimilars
billion are scheduled to go off-patent
globally and ensuing demand, India can

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

try to be one of the key players. India is around US$ 3 billion at present
constitutes around 8% of the global and is expected to grow to US$ 13
generics market by volume. The Indian billion by 2025.
market for biologics and biosimilars

coverage under UIP, as well as by including
optional vaccines and increasing export
of vaccines. We need to make a strategic

shift from manufacturing a large volume of
low-cost vaccines to producing vaccines
of the future in order to capture the global
Out of the global market of US$ 30 billion demand.
for vaccines, the Indian market is around
US$ 3 billion. Vaccines produced by 12 Companies would need students with
a comprehensive understanding of
major manufacturing plants in India
immunology and vaccinology for large
are presently used in 150 countries
scale expansion of manufacturing
in the world and we are the world
facilities. Government agencies would also
leaders in DPT and measles vaccines.
need to strengthen regulatory agencies
At present, only around two-thirds of our
for according speedy approvals and would
population is covered under the Universal
require large numbers of qualified people
Immunization Program (UIP). There is
for the successful implementation of the
an immense scope to increase demand
Universal Immunization Program.
for vaccines in India by aiming for 100% enormity of the problem. Thus, there is a

tremendous scope in domestic as

Insulin well as global market for Indian players.

In the Indian therapeutics market of US$
0.2 billion, human insulin comprises a
India is known as the diabetes capital of
whopping 50% share. Companies should
the world and is witnessing an alarming
focus their research efforts on reducing
increase in the incidence of diabetes. The
the cost of treatment, easy administration
number of affected people is expected to
methods, and longer-acting insulin, in order
increase from 51 million people in 2010 to
to ensure patient compliance and storage
87 million in 2030, an increase of nearly
at room temperature.
58%. Moreover, around 50% of the cases
are undiagnosed, which indicates the

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students People working in this area will have to

Skills communicate with scientific and non-

scientific stakeholders such as funding

Required in agencies, regulatory agencies, ethics

committees, review committees and most

the Biopharma importantly, users (patients). Students

will also find opportunities in emerging
Sector areas like regenerative medicine (medical
devices and artificial organs, tissue
Biopharma companies need individuals engineering and biomaterials, cellular
with a broad understanding of basic life therapy including stem cell therapy,
sciences, immunology, vaccinology and clinical translation etc.) The Regenerative
an interest in human and animal healt market in the US is likely to grow to
to facilitate rapid and effective application US$ 7 billion in 2020 from US$ 1.7 billion
of research results to patients. At the in 2015. Stem cell banking in India is also
same time, they also need clinicians expanding rapidly and is likely to reach
who can communicate with basic US$ 473 million in 2019. There is an
scientists and engineers who can facilitate urgent need for establishing a regulatory
translation. Companies often hire people approval mechanism for biological devices,
with multidisciplinary skills in processing, bioartificial organs, orthopaedic implants,
characterizing, device modelling, preclinical stents, etc. so that our companies can reap
testing, animal modelling, and clinical the benefits of being early entrants.
testing. infectious diseases, as well as for finding

novel, effective, and innovative diagnostic

Scope methods (such as the use of biomarkers

for early and accurate detection of

and Future diseases). There is also a need for further

research into understanding disease

Directions mechanisms and developing vaccines,

drugs and devices for prevention and/or
treatment of diseases.
Presently, there is a lot of scope for
developing accurate screening and testing
methods for lifestyle diseases and new

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

5.2.2. The bioagri sector encompasses a

number of subsectors, including crop

Bioagriculture biotechnology (transgenic crops, hybrid

varieties, molecular marker-assisted plant
breeding and tissue cultured plants), food
Globally, the bioagri market is estimated to processing, biofertilizers, biopesticides,
grow to US$ 59 billion by 2025 from US$ animal biotechnology, aquaculture, biofuels
20 billion in 2016. India ranks second in etc. Major R&D efforts are meant to
the world in gross agricultural area and is improve quality, crop yield, resistance to
the largest producer of cotton, rice, and drought and diseases, salinity tolerance,
wheat. However, our yield per hectare is conservation of soil and water, and pest
much lower than countries like China and control.
Brazil. There is tremendous scope for India
to increase its productivity and increase its Currently, the only genetically modified
share of agricultural exports. crop approved in the country for
commercial cultivation is Bt cotton.
The bioagri sector is the second largest
According to the International Survey for
segment of the Indian biotech industry.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, uncertainty and delays in regulatory

India has 11.57 hectares of land covered approvals have forced most companies
under genetically modified crops, which to explore options other than GM-plants,
puts it at the 4th spot worldwide. Due such as marker-assisted selection and
to delays and uncertainty in regulatory breeding. The Indian hybrid seed industry
approvals for transgenic plants in India, is growing at an annual growth rate of
industries dealing with transgenic plants 10-15%, estimated at US$ 1.93 billion
have gone on the back foot. Transgenic in 2016. The Indian plant tissue culture
plants have immense potential and this (micropropagation) industry is also
sector has a huge scope for expansion, expanding at an annual growth rate of 15%
provided that an efficient regulatory system and is mostly export-oriented.
is put in place.
The bioagri sector also covers secondary
The success of Bt cotton had encouraged agriculture such as beverages,
a number of companies to develop nutraceuticals, food processing for value
technologies for improvement of crops addition to agricultural commodities
through the transgenic route. However, according to customer preferences, etc. chemistry, biochemistry, chemical and

process engineering, microbiology, and

Food nutritional science, and involves studying

the physical, chemical and biological

Processing nature of food as well as manufacturing,

processing, treatment, preservation and
marketing of food. Due to our hectic daily
Food science & technology deals with
life, there is an increase in demand for food
manufacturing, processing, treatment,
items that are easy to prepare and easy to
preservation, innovative packaging,
consume. In addition to quality, safety and
minimising wastage, and distribution
nutritional value of food also need to be
of food. The food processing industry
taken care of. This is leading to growing
is considered to be a sunrise sector
market demand for more advancements
and is one of the largest industries in
and sophistication in the field of food
India, ranking 5th in terms of production,
science and technology worldwide.
consumption, export and anticipated
growth. Globally, the need for food
The food technology industry will always
scientists is growing due to rapid
be in demand and is likely to be recession-
urbanization, lifestyle changes, and
proof, so it might be a safe bet. To be
economic prosperity.
a part of this industry, you would need
to understand the principles of food
Food Science is an applied multi-
processing, preservation and packaging
disciplinary science. It encompasses
and their applications in increasing

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

shelf life, improving nutritive value, and Food Processing (Food Processor, Process
enhancing food quality. For students willing Development Specialist, Manufacturing
to take up jobs in the food industry, popular Specialist, Food Production Manager),
career paths lie in Research & Development Nutrition (Nutritionist), Sales, Marketing &
(Food Scientist, Food Technologist, Food Brand Management, and finally teaching
Chemist, Product Development Specialist), and consulting within the government,
Quality Control & Assurance (Food industry or academia.
Chemist, Food Inspector, Toxicologist),
vaccines and drugs for veterinary diseases,
processing of food items of animal

origin, and value-added products such
as nutraceuticals. The demand for these
products is increasing and is important
The animal biotechnology industry includes for revenue generation, particularly
animal breeding, production of diagnostics, diagnostics and nutraceuticals.

Animal breeding Production of diagnostics, Processing of food Value-added products

vaccines and drugs for items of animal origin such as nutraceuticals
veterinary diseases through molecular biology and genetic

engineering, development of tissue

Skills culture protocols etc. Major domains

within the agricultural sector include

Required in the agribusinesses, R&D organizations, public

and private sector agencies, government

Bioagriculture and policymaking agencies, and private

consulting companies.
Sector The bioagri industry has requirements
There are several opportunities in this for trained personnel in research,
sector for candidates having hands-on technical support, product development,
experience in techniques such as crop business development, marketing,
transformation, marker-assisted selection administration, finance, legal and HR.
and breeding, discovery of target genes Companies in this sector recruit people

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

with MSc or PhD degrees for scientific for career opportunities in animal
positions, those with MBAs for business biotechnology are similar to those
development, management and marketing- required in the biopharma sector. Students
related positions, and people with a can also consider doing an MBA in
law background or understanding of agribusiness management as this sector
patent laws for IP-related positions. The demands planning, trouble-shooting, and
qualification and nature of experience management skills.

5.2.3. nology industry as it accounts for

14% of the market share. Contract

Bioservices biomanufacturing capacity for biologics

worldwide has increased from US$ 2.8
billion in 2010 to US$ 3.9 billion in 2017.
The bioservices sector covers contract Global contract research is also growing
research, contract manufacturing and rapidly and is expected to reach US$ 95
clinical research. The bioservices market billion by 2025 from US$ 30 billion
is the third largest sector of the Indian in 2017, more than 3 times in just a span

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

of 8 years. This sector grew tremendously pipelines as the average cost of Phase I
due to the outsourcing of contract research studies in India is 50% less than that in the
and clinical trials by developed countries US and European nations. In fact, in recent
to Asian countries like India, China, years, clinical research organizations
Thailand, Malaysia etc. because of inherent in India have taken a leap forward and
cost advantages such as raw material are moving from being merely service
availability, skilled labour at reasonable providers to strategic partners.
rates, regulatory support etc.
However, the industry suffered a setback in
The global market for contract 2013-14 due to its new regulatory structure
manufacturing is expected to touch which also impacted the capacity of
US$ 8.8 billion by 2025, rising from US$ 4 Indian players to conduct bioequivalence/
billion in 2015. India is a major player with bioavailability studies. India, which was
a market of US$ 1.3 billion in 2015 which is once a lucrative destination for clinical
expected to grow to US$ 4 billion by 2025. trials, has less than 1.5% share in global
India produces 40% of all generic and clinical trials by numbers at present due
over the counter (OTC) drugs consumed to stringent regulatory laws. Reducing
in the US. lengthy processes, time span, and
resolving insurance issues for volunteers
The global market for clinical research in clinical trials and regulatory processes is
is expected to touch US$ 95 billion by the need of the hour to ensure the growth
2025 from US$ 30 billion in 2016. India’s of this sector. Recently, the Drug Controller
drug discovery and pre-clinical industry of India (DGCI) has eased guidelines for
witnessed robust growth from 2010 doing clinical trials in India by removing
onwards due to technical capabilities restrictions on the number of clinical trials
across the value chain and cost to be conducted by an investigator at a
competitiveness. India offers a suitable time and allowing clinical trials in less than
population for clinical trials because of its 50 bedded hospitals. The requirement
diverse gene pools which can cover a large of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the
number of diseases. Cost-effectiveness, addition of new sites for clinical trials has
competition, and increased confidence also been removed. An online submission
in the capabilities and skillsets of Indian system has also been launched to increase
manpower has encouraged many global transparency. It is expected that these
companies to increase their investment in procedural reforms and recent efforts
clinical research in India. Global pharma at bringing transparency and increasing
companies are also outsourcing research predictability would help us bounce back
services to India to improve their drug and regain our lost position in clinical trials.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students 10% of the global share of professionals in


Bioinformatics The global bioinformatics market is

expected to grow to US$ 12.54 billion
Bioinformatics is an important area with by 2020 from US$ 4.11 billion in 2014.
applications in all biotechnology sectors Western Europe and the EU contribute
and, therefore, provides ample career 55% and 30% of bioinformatics companies
opportunities for students. The advent respectively. The global market for
of low-cost, whole-genome sequencing, genomics was US$ 11 billion in 2013 and is
the growing role of molecular diagnostics expected to grow to US$ 20 billion by 2020.
in precision and preventive medicine, India has the scope to encash this growing
and proliferation of data have created opportunity with in-house expertise in IT
significant demand for professionals in and bioinformatics.
bioinformatics. India possesses around participate in clinical trials, design and

conduct trials to avoid injury to subjects,

Skills get approval from ethics committees for

clinical research etc.

Required in the All biotech companies employing modern

Bioservices & techniques such as genomics, proteomics,

metabolomics, etc., require specialists in
Bioinformatics bioinformatics. These experts are required

for creating and managing databases and
software tools, in silico drug designing,
sequencing of genomes to search for
specific genes and their functions, making
The technical expertise required to pursue
high yielding, disease-resistant, stress-
a career in bioservices (contract research,
tolerant plants and animals, performing
contract manufacturing and clinical
predictive diagnosis, environmental
research) is similar to the biopharma
monitoring, etc. In addition to biotech
sector. The bioservices sector includes
companies, dedicated bioinformatics
clinical and contract research services
companies also need specialists in
such as bioavailability(BA)/bioequivalence
(BE) trials and Phase I-IV trials. These
offer opportunities in areas such as Bioinformatics is a multidisciplinary field
pharmacovigilance, data management, with a wide range of career opportunities
laboratory affairs, regulatory affairs, etc. in strategy, information science &
You may also be required to gather the information technology, application
informed consent of volunteers to development, data science, data mining

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

& analytics, entrepreneurship, and public obtaining gene data sets. Statistical and
health. In order to pursue a career in this programming skills are also useful in this
field, you would need to learn how to use field, in addition to domain knowledge of
bioinformatics skills such as sequence biology, genomics and genetics, database
alignment, genome analysis, next- management, data mining and machine
generation sequencing, data analysis for learning. For example, a common task of
microarray and qPCR etc. You should bioinformaticians is to integrate data such
also familiarise yourself with tools for as gene sequencing, gene expression,
handling high throughput sequencing data, protein structure under one common
database search systems, and tools for umbrella to enable data mining.

5.2.4. while speciality enzymes are used for

research and diagnostic needs. The global

Bioindustry enzyme market is likely to reach US$

6.2 billion by 2020 and US$ 10.3 billion
by 2025, with 70% of the share going to
The bioindustry sector primarily covers industrial enzymes and 30% to speciality
enzyme manufacturing and marketing enzymes. North America and Europe
companies. Most enzymes are used in comprise more than 60% of the enzyme
industries such as detergents, textiles, market. The Indian enzyme market is only
food, leather, paper and pharmaceuticals, US$ 0.4 billion, which is a very negligible

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

share of the global market. However, knowledge-based innovation to replace

with our strength in knowledge-based polluting chemical processes by eco-
innovation, low-cost manufacturing friendly processes employing enzymes
and R&D capabilities, there is scope to (e.g. enzymes for effluent treatment) to
encash this opportunity. There is also a ensure environmental sustainability.
tremendous scope for focused R&D and process development, biomanufacturing,

regulation, and business-related roles for

Skills executing commercialisation strategy,

marketing etc. Students who are interested

Required in the in this sector should try and get hands-on

experience, not limit options based on

Bioindustry first few experiences, be open-minded

and willing to play multiple roles, improve
Sector their communication skills and build their
professional networks. Students planning
The bioindustry sector requires students to join this sector should also be prepared
with a background in biochemical to keep learning and adapting once on a
engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, career track.

5.3. sustainable solutions, and allow

policymakers to take a balanced view of

The Way potential applications and threats based

on scientific research. We need to invest in

Forward for developing and strengthening our research

infrastructure so that we can become

the Indian self-reliant and can reduce dependence

on foreign players for our daily needs. The
Biotechnology regulatory approval process needs to be

in harmony with global guidelines so as to
increase the acceptability of our products
world over.
It is important for Government agencies
and biotech companies to create Globally, the biotech industry faces intense
awareness amongst the public about the competition. The Indian biotechnology
potential of biotechnology in different industry is under tremendous scrutiny
sectors. Biotechnology can influence from consumers, financial analysts, media,
agricultural productivity, promote human and regulatory bodies due to complex
and animal health, provide environmentally issues such as patient privacy, adoption

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

of GM foods, potential risks of releasing reducing risk and ensuring quality. We

genetically modified organisms into the need to make dedicated efforts to improve
environment, loss of biodiversity, risks funding options and accessibility, as
to human and animal health, safety of well as protect and develop intellectual
workers in production laboratories, threats property. Companies should also
of bioterrorism etc. The Indian biotech collaborate with overseas firms for
industry also faces several additional research and development, contract
challenges when compared to its global manufacturing, product testing, clinical
counterparts. These include the presence trials and marketing, etc. We need to follow
of multiple regulatory bodies, stringent a proactive, scientific approach to address
and complex regulatory procedures concerns currently faced by the industry
leading to delays in approvals, lack of and face challenges upfront. Finally, we
coordination between central and state need to take active steps for generating
governments, lack of stringent regulations societal awareness to ensure consumer
for ensuring the quality of manufacturing, acceptability of products, and to harness
lack of academia-industry partnerships, the immense potential of biotechnology in
unpredictable IP regime etc. transforming lives.

Companies need to invest in strategic

planning and establishing systems for


Further •
Report on Biotechnology industry

Reading in India -

• Indian Biotechnology Industry Analysis
• Indian Life Sciences Sector : Human biotechnology- presentation
resource and skill requirements in • Biospectrum ranking survey: KPMG
the life sciences report. May 2015. analysis. - https://www.biospectrumindia.
KPMG report for Life Sciences Skill com/reports-white-papers/72/8587/
Development Council biospectrum-ranking-survey-kpmg-
• Make in India for bio-tech: the way analysis.html
forward. - • Is Indian Bioeconomy outgrown
uploaded/MII-Report.pdf the Pharma industry? - https://www.
• Pursuit of Biotechnology :
Opportunities & Options - Published by is-indian-bioeconomy-outgrown-the-pharma-
Department of Biotechnology industry-.html
• Biotechnology industry in India: • Sector survey:Biotechnology. - http://
Opportunities or challenge- https://www.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

survey-biotechnology mar2011/biotechnology_industry_in_india-
• Make in India 2.0 to focus on 10 trends_and_opportunities.html
champion sectors : Economic Survey. • Indian Biotechnology Industry - https://
news/economy/policy/make-in-india-2-0-to- biotechnology.html
focus-on-10-champion-sectors-economic- • Top 10 Biotech Companies in India
survey/articleshow/62697756.cms 2015-
• Top 6 issues facing the biotechnology india-company/top-10-biotech-companies.
industry – DrugPatentWatch ... - https:// html • India’s Excellent Standing in
issues-facing-biotechnology-industry/ Biotechnology Drives Rapid Growth
• Top 3 Challenges Facing Biotech Opportunities - https://ww2.frost.
Today (and How to Tackle Them) com/frost-perspectives/indias-excellent-
- standing-in-biotechnology-drives-rapid-
facing-biotech-today-and-how-to-tackle- growth-opportunities/
them • Kumar, Abhishek & Srivastava, L.
• Challenges that stare in the face of 2012. Biotechnology industry in India:
biotechnology-entrepreneur. - https:// Opportunities or challenges. African Journal of Business 6(44): 10834-
• Lele, R.D. 2005. Indian Biotechnology: 10839.
Challenges and opportunities- A • Food Processing Industry in India -
clinician’s perspective. Indian Journal
of Biotechnology 04(1): 9-20. industry.aspx
• Biotech industries and business • Food processing industry : A sunrise
opportunities in India-AsiaPacific sector in India - https://www.tuv-nord.
- https://www.asiabiotech. com/in/en/blog/blog-details/article/food-
com/04/0404/0066_0075.pdf processing-industry-a-sunrise-sector-in-india
• India to launch ‘grand challenges’ in • Food and drug industry in India - an
biotech. - https://www.asianscientist. overview | Seth Associates - https://
grand-challenges-biotechnology-2013/ industry-in-india.html
• Biotech science, biotech business: • Assessment of Indian biotechnology
current challenges - https://www.jstor. landscape: An international
org/stable/4412326 Perspective, 2019. DBT, BIRAC, IFC,
• Biotechnology In India - Investment Microeconomics of Competitiveness.
Opportunities | Invest India -https:// • India Bioeconomy Report. 2019. BIRAC.
biotechnology • Special Report - India: The emerging
• Biotechnology Industry in India-Trends hub for biologics and biosimilars.
and Opportunities -The Pharma 2019. DBT, BIRAC, ABLE, Cortellis.
Review -

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students


Learn from Leaders

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

6.1. Interviews

6.1.1. K VijayRaghavan

6.1.2. Renu Swarup

6.1.3. Shahid Jameel

6.1.4. LS Shashidhara

6.1.5. Sudha Narayana Rao

6.1.6. Hemalatha Reddy

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Learn from
All of us look up to leaders in our respective fields and get
inspired by their success stories. They become our role models.
In this section, we have carefully selected leaders from diverse
fields within the life sciences, including science policy and
management, research, education and entrepreneurship. Each
individual covered in this section has not only excelled in his/
her respective field but also left no stone unturned to mentor
young students and professionals in charting their career paths.
We have spoken with each one of them to get answers to the
questions that many students might be interested in. We hope
this will not only help students learn more about these leaders’
journeys but also act a source of motivation and inspiration.

Before getting started, we briefed the leaders that the objective

of the present exercise is to help students who feel stuck at a
crossroads and find it difficult to make career decisions. In this
chapter, you will have an opportunity to learn how these leaders
handle success and failure, what they attribute their success to,
employability traits which employers look for while recruiting
people etc. We also hope that this section will help you
understand the gaps in your skill-sets. Having identified them,
you can work towards them systematically to convert them into
strengths. We hope you will find these interviews useful and

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

6.1. and then decided to ask same questions

to all experts. We sincerely hope that

Interviews this information would be very useful to

students as they may not have access to
the leaders but their replies would help
This is a very important section of this them in understanding expectations of
publication as we requested leaders from prospective employers, identifying their
different fields such as science policy own strengths and weaknesses, gaps in
and management, research, teaching and skill-sets, and honing skills to enhance their
entrepreneurship to answer questions employability as well as achieving their
about employability traits, key ingredients career goals.
to success. In fact, we deliberated a
lot whether we should ask different
questions to experts from different fields All the best to the students!

K VijayRaghavan
Principal Scientific Adviser,
Government of India
K VijayRaghavan, Fellow of Royal Society, is an Emeritus Professor and former Director
of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Tata Institute of Fundamental
Research, Bangalore. He served as the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, for 5
years (2013 - 2018). In March 2018, he was appointed as the Principal Scientific Adviser
to the Government of India. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian
award, in 2013. He is also a recipient of the Infosys Prize (2009) and the Bhatnagar Prize
for Science and Technology (1998). He is not only an internationally renowned scientist
and science policymaker but a human being par excellence, remaining grounded and
accessible, in spite of his many achievements. In fact, he is one of the few researchers,
who despite a long and flourishing research career, made a career shift into science policy
and agreed to shoulder higher responsibility when he took over reins of Department of
Biotechnology as Secretary.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Q. What are the key traits that each but because of the efforts of our team and
employment-ready individual should people outside our team (the scientific
possess? community). Individuals’ successes are
on the foundations and effort of the team.
A. Important question. We lay a lot of Unless we try, we won’t succeed. Keep
stress on what you have been trained in, trying. Give your best and don’t worry about
how and where have you acquired your the outcome. Enjoy the journey.
training etc. Attitude, educational and
training background, competence, Q. What helped you reach where you
enthusiasm, passion and interest in are today?
the job are all equally important for
an employer. A. Basically, if you analyze successful
Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that individuals, a large number of factors such
help one achieve success? as ecosystem, luck, team members,
community etc. play a key role in their
A. Success is in very large part due to success. Success means greater
good luck . However, you must be on responsibility. Be ready to shoulder higher
the lookout for opportunities and grab responsibility with each position. A position
them. You should not shy away from is not an award and not a sign of success,
opportunities and should be willing to but a responsibility.
grab opportunities. Success does not
come easy, a lot of hard work goes into it Q. What would be your key message for
and it largely depends on your ability to the youth of today?
make use of opportunities.
Q. How do you handle success and failure? A. Life is tough and not easy. It is a
continuous struggle. Be confident,
“Learn from failures, evaluate your strengths and

keep trying, give weaknesses. Be focused. Make

the correct choices and if you don’t,
your best, enjoy then get out of the bad situation and try
the journey” something else. Keep good company.
First-generation students and learners
A. Most of the things we try may fail but should network and choose mentors
we have to take failures in our stride and to learn from their experiences. Leaders
learn from them. We should not repeat the also should make extra efforts to mentor
same mistakes. When we succeed, our first-generation learners.
success is not only because of our efforts

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Renu Swarup
Department of Biotechnology,
Government of India
Renu Swarup took over as the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology in April 2018. She
was instrumental in setting up the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council
(BIRAC) and as Founder/MD, initiated several schemes to promote entrepreneurship as well
as the biotech industry. In DBT, she played a key role in formulating its vision document,
the biotech strategy of India, as well as in conceiving and supporting R&D programmes in
diverse areas. She received the Biospectrum Person of the Year award in 2012 and National
Entrepreneurship award in 2017.

Q. What are the key traits that each personality traits, which reflect the
employment-ready individual should commitment, passion and confidence
possess? of the individual. It is also essential for
the individual to be able to convey to the
A. The whole area surrounding science prospective employer that he/she is a
has a large number of career opportunities quick learner, a team player, keen to learn
available for young scientists including new things, with an aptitude for grasping,
research, industry, academics and related and most importantly, highly articulate
fields such as science management, with a very clear focus and ability to deliver
science communication, policy planning, as per target. While hiring, employers
technology management, etc. Each generally do a complete 3600 assessment,
employer would like to assess the which also includes the individual’s ability
individuals applying to join them based on to handle stress, to respond to crises and
certain key criteria, which mainly focus on to take up unexpected tasks as per the
qualification and experience relevant exigencies of the work.
to the position, a broad general
understanding of the area and its related Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that
disciplines, and most importantly, help one achieve success?

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

from each of these, there are important

“Hardwork, passion takeaway messages. This is similar to any

scientific experiment that we do. Failure
and commitment are teaches us where we went wrong and
the keys to success” how we should make sure that we do not
repeat our mistakes. Success gives us
A. Some of the key aspects of success a level of confidence that what we have
are hard work, passion, commitment, achieved has been an important milestone
and most importantly achieving excellence and this, then, gives us the opportunity to
with perfection while maintaining complete look at future milestones to be achieved
integrity and organizational loyalty. Each and based on our learning, plan the
organization has its set vision, missions way forward. This journey of failure and
and goals. It is important for each success is a continuous process and one
employee to ensure that his/her task as should not get demoralized by failure and
defined within the job role is accomplished keep climbing the ladder towards greater
efficiently to meet the overall goals of and higher success.
the organization. The parameters for
measuring success get more stringent Q. What helped you reach where you
as one moves up in their career. From are today?
a new entrant, as one moves up to a
managerial position, then to a senior level A. As I mentioned above, these are the key
management position, then to a team- traits which are important in an individual’s
leader/group-head position, and then finally career. I learnt a lot from my parents and a
becomes the leader of the organization, strong foundation was built by my teachers
the matrices for measuring success are and mentors. My long career has taught
different. At each level, there is a change me that the key ingredient to success
of responsibility and accordingly, higher is hard work, more hard work, and even
expectations in delivery. As stated above, more hard work. It is only hard work and
hard work, passion, commitment, integrity, complete dedication and passion which
teamwork and the ability to deliver with can help you achieve the endpoint you
full responsibility are the key traits which are looking for. This has been the main
define the overall success and personality philosophy I have adopted throughout
of the individual. my career. The other crucial factor is that
whatever you do, there is a strong team
Q. How do you handle success and failure? which helps you to achieve your target. It is
important to stay focused, have a
A. Success and failure are two important clear action plan, and be clear in your
components of the journey of an individual thoughts, which helps in clear decision
across his/her career. Each career making. It is also important to accept the
path has both success and failure. It is fact that there is a new chance to learn
important to acknowledge that both failure every day to take you further in your career
and success give us a lot to learn and as you move on.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Q. What would be your key message for no shortcut to success; do not look for
the youth of today? immediate short term gains. If you expect
your organization to be able to give you the

“No shortcut best career opportunity, it is also important

that you give your 100% commitment to
to success” the organization. I would like to encourage
the youth to consider all opportunities
A. For the youth of today, I would just like available and then choose the path for
to say that you have a lot of energy. It is yourself. Once you choose your path, there
important that you channelize your should be no looking back.
energy in the right direction. There is

Shahid Jameel
Chief Executive Officer
Wellcome Trust/DBT
India Alliance
Shahid Jameel is a renowned virologist who headed the Virology Group at the International
Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi for over 25 years.
He is an elected fellow of all three major Indian science academies viz., Indian National
Science Academy, Indian Academy of Science, and National Academy of sciences. He
received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Medical Sciences in 2000.
After a long and successful stint as an active researcher, he made a career shift to science
administration and management when he took over as CEO, Wellcome Trust/ DBT India
Alliance. He is actively involved in the promotion of research and training in the biomedical

Q. What are the key traits that each eligible for a job and to understand the
employment-ready individual should basics. Beyond that, experience and soft
possess? skills distinguish people who otherwise
may have the same degree. These can
A. A degree is important to become be acquired while getting the degree

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

itself. For example, some work experience Q. What helped you reach where you
can be obtained by volunteering during are today?
summer and winter breaks. Taking part
in organizational activities in college, “Focusing
learning a foreign language or a computer on strengths
language, and improving oral and written
communication are other things that can and managing
be done while getting a basic degree. weaknesses”
Beyond a good academic career, all these
look very good on a job application. A. I would have to say that I am completely
honest with myself. I know my strengths
Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that and more importantly my weaknesses,
help one achieve success? which allows me to focus on the former
and plan to manage risk associated with
A. Besides having a basic understanding of the latter. This has also allowed me to
the subject area, the top five things on my choose an interesting and sometimes
list (in no particular order) are: unusual career path. Professionally, I have
1. Hard work with attention to detail never done anything that I don’t enjoy. The
2. Good oral and written communication advantage of having a job that you enjoy
skills is that you get paid for having fun and it’s
3. Not being afraid of making mistakes never a burden. There have been times
(and learning from them) when I stopped enjoying a job or learning
4. Ability to build partnerships from it, and that is when I shifted focus or
5. Cross-cultural appreciation careers.

Q. How do you handle success and failure? I have benefitted from the support of good
mentors at all stages of my career and
A. I consider success and failure to both continue to seek advice very widely. The
be part of life and understand that neither ability to listen to people and separate
is permanent. Therefore, I try to handle the relevant from the mundane comes
these with modesty and maturity. In with experience. But one needs to consult
careers (in contrast to education) we work widely and build useful partnerships.
in groups, wherein it becomes important to
share success and failure with the team. Q. What would be your key message for
A good leader shares success by shining the youth of today?
light on the team while taking responsibility
A. My key messages are to do well in
and protecting the team for failed efforts.
whatever you are doing, pay attention to
Internally, it is important to celebrate
detail, don’t be afraid of making mistakes,
success and analyze failure to understand
learn from failures and pay only fleeting
root causes and reduce future risk. Failure
attention to success and glory. If there is
also offers opportunity and good leaders
one other thing – read widely.
know how to make the best of it.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

LS Shashidhara
Professor, Ashoka University
& Professor, IISER, Pune
(Currently, on Lien at Ashoka University)
LS Shashidhara is a developmental biologist, Professor of Biology and Dean, Research
and Development, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune,
and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biology at Ashoka University. He received the
prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for S & T in 2008 and is a JC Bose National
Fellow of Department of Science & Technology. He is also an elected fellow of three major
Indian science academies viz., Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of
Science and National Academy of sciences and elected member of the European Molecular
Biology Organization (EMBO). He is actively involved in undergraduate education and
research, and in organizing pedagogy workshops for undergraduate teachers across the
country. through the Star college scheme of DBT, joint faculty improvement programmes
with British Council, and development of massive open online courses.

Q. What are the key traits that each Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that
employment-ready individual should help one achieve success?
A. Self-learning, critical thinking and

“Experiment to analytical abilities. One should innovate

newer solutions, even to older problems,
innovate new given one’s time and context.
solutions” Q. How do you handle success and failure?

A. Sufficient knowledge, expertise and A. By objectively analyzing the reasons

skills in the area of employment. Ability to for failure and subjecting oneself to
innovate as per the job requirement and peer-review.
good communication skills.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

Q. What helped you reach where you Q. What would be your key message to the
are today? youth of today?

A. I always learnt from people around me A. Pursue your interests and passion. Be
- my seniors, my peers and my students - confident and don’t hesitate to experiment
from everyone I come across. in your life and profession.

Sudha Narayana
Executive Director,
Genotypic Technology
Sudha Rao is a neurobiologist and worked as Consultant Neurobiologist at medical centre
in Cornell University, New York. She successfully pioneered genomics as a service in India
and followed the motto “Genomics simplified” to create a company, Genotypic Technology,
known for its ethics and cutting edge technology. She is actively engaged in maximising the
efficiency of genomic and bioinformatics technologies and creating newer applications in
biomedical research and agriculture.

Q. What are the key traits that each Q. How do you handle success and failure?
employment-ready individual should
possess? “Failures motivate
A. Proactiveness, problem-solving skills,
us to improve”
accountability and an ability to laugh at A. While success teaches us what we are
oneself. doing right, it is failures that motivate us to
improve and make changes that will ensure
Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that success. Both are transient and part of the
help one achieve success? journey.

A. Confidence, ability to convince others Q. What helped you reach where you are
and being open to learning. today?

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

A. Self-conviction , a strong desire to make career path that gives you the freedom
a difference, commitment, confidence and to cultivate your strengths. Believe in
courage to stand by one’s values. yourself. There is no single measure of
success, what matters is your journey
Q. What would be your key message to the and how you wish to live it! Best wishes
youth of today? for making our world a better place, for
ourselves and everything on earth.
A. This is a beautiful world, with people
of diverse talents. Find your niche and a

Hemalatha Reddy
Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi
Hemalatha Reddy is the Principal of Sri Venkateswara College, a prestigious college
affiliated to Delhi University. She is actively involved in promoting quality of education,
inculcating interest in research for undergraduate students, facilitating decision-making,
assisting in the implementation of the star college programme of DBT, developing
online courses, etc. She has long-standing experience of heading a premier educational
institution. Note: Hemalatha Reddy has clarified that her replies are aimed at those students
who are interested in faculty positions in undergraduate educational institutions.

Q. What are the key traits that each To be updated with the latest knowledge
employment-ready individual should is one of the most important traits for
possess? “to-be faculty”. The ideal candidate should
be a people’s person, open-minded,
A. Domain expertise in the candidate’s good team worker and willing to learn
subject, as well as in related fields, is one from seniors, fellow colleagues, as well
of the most important key traits since as students. Students willing to take up
interdisciplinarity is the need of the hour. faculty positions should have excellent

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

communication skills and should be well- becomecomplacent with success. I want to

versed with the latest Information and learn from my own failures as well as other
Communication Technology (ICT) based people’s experiences to keep improving
tools. Faculty will be expected to inculcate and not repeat the same mistakes again.
scientific temper, critical thinking, My job involves the great responsibility
reasoning and analytical ability amongst of managing a large student community
students. Teachers should have patience and requires crisis management and
and perseverance to explain concepts troubleshooting skills. I have to face new
to the weakest student in the class and challenges all the time and need to excel
should be good at crisis management and not only at the individual level but also as
troubleshooting. Students look up to their a team so that I can take the institution to
teachers, so faculty should be role models, greater heights.
inculcate good value systems and inspire
students to excel in their field. Q. What helped you reach where you
are today?
Q. What are the key ingredients/traits that
A. Hard work, commitment, focus,
help one achieve success?
willingness to learn from each challenge
A. Hard work, introspection, willingness to and giving the best to each assignment to
learn (especially from failures), and the best of my capability have helped me
troubleshooting skills are essential reach my present position so that I can
ingredients for achieving success. contribute to the betterment of teaching
and the student community.
Q. How do you handle success and failure?
Q. What would be your key message to the
“Treat success youth of today?

as a challenge” A. There is no shortcut to success.

Students should excel in their field, acquire
A. I accept each success in my career
as much knowledge as possible in their
as a challenge and a confidence booster.
own field and related fields, keep adding
My present leadership assignment gave
value to themselves, and be innovative.
me wide exposure and an opportunity
Students should be willing to work in teams
to grow and perform for the betterment
and understand that every experience is
of the institution, faculty, and student
valuable. Learn from each experience and
community. I feel people should not
keep improving.

Suggested • IndiaBioscience: 10 Leaders, 10

Questions -

Further columns/conversations/theme:leadership

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

We wish to put on record our sincere appreciation for constant
guidance and encouragement received from Satyajit Mayor, Director,
NCBS, Bangalore. We could rely upon LS Shashidhara, IISER, Pune,
presently at Ashoka University, for approving the idea of bringing
out this resource material, providing suggestions on content, and
facilitating decision making. Thanks are also due to Shashi Baruah,
Tezpur University who organized a career counselling session in
April, 2018, where this idea of bringing out a resource book as a
guidance material for students was conceived. We are grateful to
K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India, Renu
Swarup, Secretary, DBT, Shahid Jameel, CEO, Wellcome Trust/DBT India
Alliance, LS Shashidhara, Ashoka University and IISER Pune, Hemalata
Reddy, Principal, Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi, Sudha Narayana
Rao, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Genotypic Technology, for
sparing their time and providing their valuable inputs for the benefit
of the student community. Thanks are due to Smita Jain, Executive
Director, IndiaBioscience for conceiving this idea along with me.
Shreya and Smita have added immense value to the book by their able
editing, remarks, and suggestions. Financial support by Department
of Biotechnology and Ministry of Human Resource Development
under the scheme Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on
Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT) is gratefully acknowledged. We
also wish to acknowledge creative designing of book by Shweta. We
are grateful to all faculty members and students who have inspired us
to bring out this publication.



DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students
DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students

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