Passed along from a friend who's an alumni of the CCST Fellowship:
My first piece of advice is apply for as many things as possible. Finding a job in policy is 1. about connections and 2. about continuously putting yourself out there.
The next thing I would do is get involved in the policy arena. Whether that means finding some grass roots/advocacy efforts to join and volunteer with or maybe doing some campaigning this election cycle, getting involved is key. That will only help on applications going forward. Also, take advantage of any opportunity to take a leadership role.
also, always stay positive. You don't want to tell anyone you are bored of academia or your current job. Rather say something about enjoying your time in academia but you are interested in this new arena and new challenges.
2 - Science Policy Jobs
Science policy, as a field, isn't very developed, so there's no real centralized listing of science policy jobs. I have applied for many positions that seemed like possible fits on USAJobs.gov. There are a couple of pay websites that aggregate policy jobs. One website that was recommended to me, mostly for jobs in DC, has a low monthly cost ($5/month): bradtraverse.com
I've also submitted for jobs at the World Health Organization. Other places that have been suggested for me:
- The Earth Institute at Columbia University - http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/sections/view/9
- USAID Global Development Lab - http://www.usaid.gov/GlobalDevLab
- PATH - http://www.path.org/
- Clinton Foundation - https://www.clintonfoundation.org/careers
- International Food Policy Research Institute - http://www.ifpri.org/
- CRDF Global (Civilian Research and Defense Foundation) - http://www.crdfglobal.org/
Recommended by a friend working in the space of HIV and reproductive health:
- The Population Council - http://www.popcouncil.org/
- CONRAD (Contraception Research & Development) (in DC) - http://www.conrad.org/
- IPM (International Partnerships for Microbicides) (in Maryland) - http://www.ipmglobal.org/
- IAVI (International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) http://www.iavi.org/
Associated with the UN:
- IAEA - https://www.iaea.org/about/employment
- OECD - http://oecd.org/careers/
- IARC - http://www.iarc.fr/
- WHO - http://www.who.int/employment/en/
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network - http://unsdsn.org/
- Future Earth - http://www.futureearth.org/
This State Department website is a good centralized location for searching for jobs at international organizations:
The U.S. State Department website also maintains a list of think tanks, a valuable work environment for building experience shaping policy: http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/79982.htm
3 - On Science Policy Education
A lot of policy jobs you'll find posted on sites like USAJobs.gov and bradtraverse.com will list a degree in political science or a related discipline among their requirements. Sometimes they'll allow something like 12 semester hours in a related discipline plus 12 semester hours in statistics or quantitative methods.
To meet these requirements, if I were associated with a university, I'd take some courses in statistics in a discipline related to my target jobs.
If I were willing to get another degree, I would begin my search with science policy related programs I've heard of and build from there. Those I’ve found so far are listed below.
- Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at Columbia University's Earth Institute - http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/55
- Masters and certificate programs at the George Washington University Center for International Science and Technology Policy - http://cistp.elliott.gwu.edu/academics
- Certficate, diploma, and masters programs at University College London Department of Science and Technology Studies - http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/prospective/msc/uclmastersdegrees
- Masters and doctorate programs at the Carnegie Mellon Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) Department - http://www.epp.cmu.edu/
- Programs at the American University School of International Service - http://www.american.edu/degrees.cfm?school=SIS
- Masters and doctorate programs - MIT Technology and Policy Program - http://tppserver.mit.edu/
- Global Health Policy Certificate at UCSD Extension - http://extension.ucsd.edu/programs/index.cfm?vAction=certDetail&vCertificateID=199&vStudyAreaID=12
4 - On Science Policy Fellowships
Fellowships are one way of meeting standard requirements for policy jobs. Compensation will be lower than for regular jobs and they're highly competitive, despite often having narrow eligibility criteria. One plus I've found that former fellows are generally very sympathetic and willing to share ideas.
You know about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship and CCST Fellowship. For other science policy fellowships, I have collected a list from several sources summarized in the table below. Fellowship details change each year, so if you’re interested check with a representative of that organization for information about upcoming years.
A working spreadsheet of science policy fellowships is here.
5 - On Experience in Science Policy
Finally, I paraphrase advice I learned from a group for people taking the Foreign Service exam. Especially for people that are more advanced in their careers, in addition to considering formal education, it’s quite valuable to start thinking about public policy - government response to issues on behalf of the public - how it relates to their work, their community, or other issues they’re interested in.
If you’re interested in science policy as an opportunity to contribute to good works while you live and work abroad, consider applying for the Peace Corps, an NGO, or a missionary program through a religious organization.
If you’re interested in to be a part of shaping policy, then consider an internship or other entry level role working for an international organization or with a think tank.
If your goal is to work in public diplomacy - the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies - consider working with a media watch group or as a communications officer for your member of Congress.
Consider volunteering at the city council, or following the city council meetings. Especially at the state and local level, policy is open to the public, for comment and for input.
Entry into work in science policy is often not straightforward. As you start to engage, you’ll begin taking advantage of a unique opportunity to learn more and build the connections and experiences that will inform your decisions about how to proceed with your professional pursuits. If you are involved in work that matters to you, then you will not only gain experience, but also references who have seen your heartfelt contribution to a common cause. Spend your time doing work that matters to you. If it opens doors professionally, great. But even if it never does, your time will not have been wasted.