Researching Treatments: A Pharmaceutical Industry Career
Do you dream of researching treatments for Alzheimer’s or other neurological diseases? Do you have the tenacity and drive to withstand the challenges of drug discovery for neurological diseases? If so, have you thought about a career in pharmaceutical research?
Whether at a large company, small start-up, or contract research organization (CRO), you can expect to:
- Collaborate as part of a team within your institution and through international partnerships.
- Apply existing knowledge to develop treatments and therapies.
- Exhibit flexibility, patience, and persistence. Products take about 10 years to move through research and development stages to the market.
- Work flexibly, adapting the focus of your projects to changing internal and external factors.
First, you will need an undergraduate degree and a PhD in neuroscience or a related field. Then, you will likely train for several years to gain exposure to industry. Working with a CRO or an academic institution that conducts translational research or partners with companies is ideal.
For neuroscientists, the pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive and ever-evolving. Here’s what you can do now to kick-start your career:
Make connections with potential employers, advocates, and mentors.
- Network at events such as SfN’s annual meeting.
- Build strong relationships with scientists where you study and train.
Gain expertise in specific, marketable research techniques.
- Intern at pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.
- Volunteer in the lab of a professor at your institution.
- Secure a postdoctoral fellowship.
Read the full Pharmaceutical Research Career Path Guide to learn more about the education, skills, and experiences you’ll need to excel and the employment outlook you can expect.