Program Title: FUTURE

Key People: Lars Berglund, Jennifer Greeier, Andrew Hargadon, Stacy Hayashi, Frederick Meyers

Program Summary

The UC Davis FUTURE (Frontiers of University Training to Unlock the Research Enterprise) program provides general professional development skills, exposure to multiple career options, and experiential learning through internships and externships. Graduate students and postdocs can participate in FUTURE through one of two tracks. Those interested in a series of professional development workshops, an internship experience, and guidance from a career advisor are directed to the Certificate Track. Participants who complete the required components of this track receive a professional development certificate to document their FUTURE activities and experiences. Those who prefer a less structured, less-intensive professional development experience with occasional check-ins from a career coach can choose the Self-Directed Track, which allows more flexibility and less time commitment. All FUTURE participants have access to the Career Explorers Network and the Career Exploration Fund to support professional development and career exploration activities.

The FUTURE program has strong partnerships with the Internship and Career Center, the Office of Graduate Studies, the Biotechnology Program, and the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which all sponsor high quality programming to help graduate students and postdocs develop professional skills and gain exposure to various career paths. Through these partnerships, FUTURE participants have access to a broad range of external partners in biotechnology, business development, science communication and policy, and regulatory science, and the opportunity to cultivate critical specialized skill sets needed to thrive in biomedical careers.

Our BEST award enables us to offer a variety of new opportunities in the form of workshops, seminars, site visits, and networking events to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Recent offerings include PhD Connector (networking with PhD alumni in various career fields), seminars in Leadership, Business Etiquette, and Transitioning from the Academy to Biotech, and courses in Science Communication and Entrepreneurship.

A special focus of our program is to support postdoctoral scholars and international scholars in finding internship and externship opportunities that will accommodate the time limitations and visa restrictions that these trainees often encounter.

An early success of our BEST award has been the launch of a career exploration website. The website was developed as a centralized resource for the broader UC Davis community that links users to career exploration opportunities and to the sponsors (both UCD and external) that host and promote them.

Beginning Strategies

Postdocs are often an underserved population with respect to career support and often have more limited ability to take time away from their research. We are helping postdocs find internship and externship opportunities that don’t conflict with their postdoc responsibilities by seeking out flexible and non-traditional experiences.