Job Descriptions

CareerCheck provides descriptions of jobs that are typically chosen by our PhD graduates in life sciences. Please mind this overview not exhaustive and is never meant to be exhaustive as

  1. the job market is evolving over time. E.g. there were few data scientists in the 1980s
  2. job content differs between sectors, organizations or possibly even between departments
  3. workplaces that can benefit from PhD transferable skills are abundant!

These job descriptions are merely meant to provide you information to get your exploration started.

Read up about typical career paths of our Alumni. We organized them in job families. Find variants of job titles, learn about the job content, typical tasks, important skills, career advice from our Alumni and more.

Career decisions should not be based on job descriptions or the outcome of your preference-to-task alignment only. To learn whether a job indeed suits you, always reach out to professionals who already work in the field for an informational interview. This is the key step in career orientation (checkpoint 4): it allows you a personalized evaluation of a job option and allows you to uncover options that may suit you even better!

Career Events are good opportunities to meet these professionals and alumni from your institute are mostly easiest to access. Find and contact them on DKFZ Connect and expand your Professional Community.

For the 2021 overview of the landscape of life science companies in Europe, check KPMG's market resource.

Job descriptions on CareerCheck are purely based on past DKFZ life scientists' careers, concluded from past and current Alumni surveys.

This job family includes academic careers at universities, universities of applied sciences and advanced technical colleges. More research positions are located at non-university research institutes like the DKFZ. Alumni who work as Professors, Group Leaders, PIs, Lab Managers and Postdocs in other institutes have shared their insights with us.

Clinical Research includes a broad variety of career options closely related to clinical trials. There are many entry positions for CRAs (Clinical Research Associates), Clinical Monitors and Trial Monitors in pharma industry, CROs (Clinical Research Organizations) and government agencies.

We combine two very different occupations in this job family, their common feature being their supportive role for research in academic and non-academic environments. Find more specific information in this section on the jobs of Bioinformaticians and Application Engineers.

There are a number of jobs related to the approval and production of pharmaceuticals. On the following pages, we focus on two roles: Quality Control Managers ensure compliance in the manufacturing process in the pharmaceutical industry, while Regulatory Affairs Managers work both in industry and regulatory bodies.

Under the headlines of Founder and Consultant, we give insights into start-up and consultancy careers, both of which are concerned with the business aspects of science. We added a more "unfamiliar" and specialized area that might have escaped your notice, the job of a Patent Attorney.

These are industry jobs at the far end of the drug development process: Jobs like Market Access Manager, Product Manager and Lifecycle Manager are grouped together under Marketing Manager, while customer facing roles like Pharma Sales Reps, Key Account Managers, Medical Advisors and Medical Scientific Liaisons under Sales Manager.

Research positions in industry are the most obvious choice for scientists who want to dedicate themselves to translational, applied research or leave academia for other reasons. Typical job titles are Research Scientist, Postdoc and Lab Manager. All positions can involve leading a team.

Learn more about jobs that support research; from academic positions like Grants Officer, Scientific Coordinator, Research Officer or Project Officer to Project Management positions in industry that typically deal with the cross-functional coordination of development projects.

The field of science communication covers all positions related to the publishing of scientific information, like Scientific Writer and Editor, but also teaching positions (both teaching students about science and training scientists in science communication). There is also info on the job profile of a Lecturer.

Find here examples of job titles of former researchers, PhD graduates who successfully transitioned to jobs that are off the beaten path. Jobs that are seemingly very distant from the initial research career.

Job Profiles

  • Browse the interactive word cloud and click on the job profile to learn more! Colors refer to job titles within a job family.
  • Looking for a specific job profile? Find it listed in alphabetical order on the index page

Upcoming Events

CareerCheck Boost for your Professional Identity

16 March 2024-6 June 2024
The CareerCheck Boost program runs online on Thursdays 10-11h30 am (with a full day onboarding event).

Onboarding Friday March 15 (hybrid: online and in Heidelberg)
Weekly sessions will start on Thursday, March 21 and end on June 6.

One of the main challenges with career development is understanding which of the many career paths you can pursue. You tried the self-checks on CareerCheck and want to explore options? In order to gain clarity, it is important to know your Professional Identity and align your career goals and vision with that identity, which is based on your values, skills, interests as well as your personality. Throughout this program (5h onboarding, 7 times 1.5h and meeting with your peer group in between), you will also learn mindset tools to empower you in achieving your goals.

To identify which potential career paths are aligned with your Professional Identity, you will follow a strategy to research and network with professionals. As a result of implementing informational interviews, you will expand your network, while developing your networking skills and gather information to make an information-based decision on your future career. Doing this work early on allows time to nurture your professional relationships and to start developing the necessary skills for that future career. Action is the keyword that will get you results!
Curious? Then check out this teaser video from the Amani's webinar "How to gain career clarity". You can also watch the full lectures (from 2022 and 2023)
Date16 March 2024-6 June 2024
Speaker(s)Amani Said