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Dan Sackett, PhD


Dan Sackett, PhD

How do I apply for a government science position?

Government-based science positions that NIH postdocs could consider are not limited to NIH. Other national labs, such as FDA, NIST, Argonne, Agricultural Research Service, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, all have research programs that require skills that are widespread at NIH. Other governmental research institutions to consider include military labs like Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Naval Research Labs, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and nonmilitary facilities such as the FBI, the Smithsonian, and the CIA (really). The only thing likely to be common to all of these positions is that they are government positions and will require some similar Federal personnel forms to be filed. Beyond that, each one is likely to have rather different application procedures. My major point was that fellows should look beyond the fence around NIH for opportunities in biomedical research in the Federal sphere. States also have services that might be productive to look at, but I cannot comment on that.

What are the duties of these positions?

The duties of these positions will likely span a wide spectrum, from responsibilities for specialized assays or types of analysis, to running core facilities, to being an instrument scientist for large research installations with equipment that is widely shared but operated by the host laboratory, to directing a (or multiple) research program(s). I do not think that it is possible to say anything coherent that will be true of all of these positions.

What are the hours expected?

It is possible that the working hours expected in these positions may by more predictable than in an academic position, though often this will not be true. Nominally these positions have a defined expectation of hours per week (as do many/most industry positions), but this is often extended, as in many science positions.

Fun fact:

I am fascinated by extremophile biology.