Which agencies hire scientists?
While the OITE is an NIH entity, great science happens in other divisions all across government. Almost all of these places hire scientists for both bench and non-bench positions. Non-bench positions can include: science administration (grants management from almost every agency, managing research programs, career development training), science policy (how innovative science is completed and promoted), regulation (determining if a drug is safe or an agricultural product is good for the environment).
Here is a list of government agencies hiring biomedical scientists. The list is not complete, and we would love your feedback on ones we missed!
National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH hires scientists for both bench and non-bench positions in the intramural research program (IRP), as well as non-bench positions within the division of extramural science, which manages the grants process in order to fund science around the country and the world.
Department of Health & Human Services (HHS): As the parent agency of the NIH, this organization hires scientists to do administrative jobs understanding how to improve health care and fund science for America.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): This agency is tasked with disease prevention and protection. They have labs to understand the mechanisms of diseases and infectious agents, both at the bench and through epidemiology. They also have administration jobs to help set policies and run the organization.
Food & Drug Administration (FDA): Most of the time people think of the FDA as only regulatory review; however, they have writing jobs, policy jobs, and science administration. In addition, the FDA does a large amount of bench research in areas critical to the FDA mission. View more details here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): The USDA has the Agriculture Research Service its division of lab positions. There are also many laboratories across the US and the world to test our food supply safety.
National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA): NASA has an entire division set aside for biological research.
Department of Defense (DOD): The Department of Defense has many research programs housed in each branch of the military, and you can apply as a civilian (or opt to join the service). These research programs focus on welfare of the military (protection and prevention), and also general labs for hospitals and forensics. Also, there may even be faculty opportunities at the Academies.
Public Health Service: This is an all officer core tasked with protecting public health. They have opportunities for scientists, clinicians, dentists, nurses, vets, and public health people. Scientists in this group work all kinds of jobs both at the bench and away from the bench in the NIH, CDC, EPA and other government agencies.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS): The medical/dental university of the armed services, which is located on the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This is a medical school with positions for faculty member (including research programs), and other types of academic support positions.
Veterans Affairs (VA): Bench based positions will be within the hospital laboratory systems. Non-bench jobs can include policy and administration to improve the lives of American’s veterans.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA hires scientists to understand how things in our environment will affect humans and the world in which we live. There are bench jobs examining environmental factors to our health, both from a basic science perspective from the NC facility and also from labs strategically placed around the country. Administration jobs can range from science policy, grants administration, regulation, and more.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): This organization reviews all patents submitted to the U.S. government. Scientists review these patents according to their area of discipline.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): The FBI hires scientists as special agents and also to do research in the core labs (such as DNA forensics).
US Congress and Executive Branch: There are policy based jobs helping us guide science through the political process both in the US and abroad. Congress has whole committees dedicated to science (like the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee or the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee). The Executive Branch has the Office of Science and Technology Policy and also science policy within the State Department.
Now, many people think that the only way to get a job with the government is to go through USAjobs.gov. Not true! Most offices also use a variety of contracting firms to help fill openings (for example at the NIH we often use Kelly Scientific, SAIC, and Leidos). Contracting jobs are a great way to get your foot in the door and gain additional skill sets to make you even more competitive for a federal position. They are also typically hired much faster than positions within the federal system, and may or may not have the same citizenship requirements. Most offices treat contractors just the same as they do federal employees, so do not feel like this is not a good option to help move your career forward.
Here is a list of contracting firms to explore; again, sure we missed some but this is a terrific start:
* Posting of these contractor names does not constitute endorsement by NIH OITE.