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Finding Biotech Opportunities Abroad

By March 23, 2009

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Working in the sciences is a little bit different from other career choices, because you often end up relocating to another country, especially if you pursue a Ph.D. Every month I get a number of emails from students who want to become entrepreneurs or research scientists, or pursue other careers in biotechnology, and want to relocate to another country, but don't know where to start. Many of these seem to be undergraduates looking for job opportunities or graduate work abroad.

My advice is to look through the peer-reviewed journals and find a mentor who is doing work that interests you. Try to get in touch with this person and ask about opportunities as a research technician or graduate student. The same advice can be used if you want to start your own company. A mentor can provide guidence no matter what your goals. If the person you contact is unable to help, They might be able to advise you on other routes to take, or direct you to someone else in the field. Remember, however, that in order to be taken seriously, you need to ask direct, relevant questions about the work. This means doing some research on your own and learning about their research or company. It also means not expecting a free ride, or for them to do your research for you when it comes to finding out about grant applications and other funding for school or financing a startup, travel Visas, and other requirements for working abroad and/or immigration. In any business, the more prepared you are for an interview with a potential mentor or boss, the more impressed they will be and more likely to commit time to helping you out.

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