I came across this article on the Nature Jobs website, and found myself learning about a career path which many science graduates might not know much about.
It tells the story of Anita Pepper who, upon finishing a five-year post-doctoral fellowship, realised that lab work was no longer for her, and was seeking a new direction in her career. She discovered that she could have an invigorating career working for charitable organisations and trusts – choosing how research grants should be allocated and spent, and helping struggling but promising scientists to get a boost to their funding. These jobs often come with healthy salaries, and are a lot more than just reading grant applications. They involve meeting and communicating with a lot of people from the research community, and helping to progress areas of science which could prove vital to the world at the moment.
Don’t think you’d be spending your days rejecting proposals – many of the roles are supportive, and involve advising applicants on how to strengthen their proposals and helping them gain the funding they need.
Some organisations focus on providing grants to underdeveloped institutions and countries, which may have some really promising science and ideas, but lack the money to see them through. It gives people in these jobs the chance to travel, meet people who they may never have met otherwise, and have a significant impact at a higher level than many researchers would.
These jobs are relatively few and far between, but foundations are looking to hire more PhD graduates to push science research funding forward, especially since government funding it being reduced all the time.
If you think this sort of career path might be for you, take a look at the article itself, where the jobs are explained in more detail, along with some advice on where to get started. If you think lab work is no longer for you, you might want to seriously consider profiting from a non-profit organisation.