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March 2016

Building a Career in Science Policy

Building a Career in Science Policy

Career Story Blog Post By Brad Smith, PhD, Director of Policy at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute1

In the 15 years since I earned my PhD, I’ve had experiences, met people, and made contributions that I could never have imagined had I stayed at the lab bench. As I was finishing up my graduate work (studying DNA repair in E. coli and B. subtilis), I made the decision to embark on a career in science policy. There are many ways to engage in the public policy process as a scientist. My work has orbited around the intersecting axes of science policy, health policy, and national security policy. I’ve fielded phone calls about B. anthracis at the height of Amerithrax in October 2001 (just two months after I defended my thesis!), worked with Congress to pass needed legislation, coached former prime ministers and other leaders to mimic an international crisis as the BBC’s cameras were rolling, analyzed innovative R&D policies while in a think tank and then got the opportunity to implement one such policy in the federal government.

1Adapted from: Smith, B., “Careers at the Interface of Biology and Public Policy,” ASBMB Today, Sep. 2006.