Science policy careers

What is Science Policy?

From UCSF Synapse article by Steven Moss: “Dr. Keith Yamamoto, the vice chancellor for science policy and strategy at UCSF, describes science policy work as, “any pronouncement… on science education, practice, ethics, communication, application, or social impact.”” The American Chemical Society (ACS) describes those that work in science policy as liaisons between policymakers and scientists. Find out more from American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Policy Fellow Geoffrey Hunt’s experiences doing work in science policy.

Why is science policy so important? Check out this article from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discussing this very question and this article from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that breaks down the funding for science and technology as of August 2017.

Keep up on the latest science policy news from The Guardian.


What does a career in Science Policy look like?

The ACS discusses the discusses the typical work responsibilities in this sector as well as training and skills relevant to these positions. Hear more about science policy work from the experiences of:


What are some job titles for people who work in Science Policy?

  • Health Policy Manager/Researcher
  • Health Science Policy Analyst
  • Policy Analyst Advisor
  • Public Policy Specialist
  • Science Policy Advisor
  • Scientific Program Analyst
  • Analyst
  • Coordinator
  • Officer
  • Director


How to transition into Science Policy?

Curious about the type of work you might do in science policy? If you are considering making the transition into science policy, Kathleen O’Neil from AAAS shares some insight on this career move. James Austin discusses some ways to position yourself for a career in science policy. Susan Fitzpatrick, ScienceMag, discusses career transitions away from the bench, with an emphasis on science policy. Hear about three former AAAS fellows that successfully used the experience from their science policy fellowship to move into a science policy position. 

Interested in a science policy career in Europe? Elisabeth Pain discusses how to go about “finding your way to policy careers in Europe” in this article from ScienceMag.


Examples of organizations that hire PhDs:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Federal government (legislative and executive branches)
  • Universities


Get Experience:

Perform a real job task in policy and advocacy through a job simulation

The best way to pursue this career is to apply for and win a postdoctoral fellowship in science and technology policy advising. Some fellowships are listed below. 

Additional fellowship lists:

Other science policy programs from AAAS



You may also want to consider a Science Policy degree program. Here are a few examples of Science and Technology Policy Degree Programs:


Find your community:


Is the science policy field a good fit for you?

Good question! Find out by completing the AAAS's My Individual Development Plan Assessment Tool, which OCPD co-created. Answer three assessments and it will calculate and compare your skills/interests/values responses to key factors for 60 different career paths within 20 different career categories that are options for you as a scientist (including consulting!). Click on the image to the left to see a sample report.


Ready to start your job search?


Take a look at some sample job descriptions.

**these are meant to serve only as examples. Actual job listing may be closed.


Want more help? Talk to a career counselor

Schedule a 1:1 counseling appointment for PhDs


Science policy careers:  Getting started workshop 

Workshop materials (October 3, 2017)