For Post-ac Scientists: The “Applications Scientist” Track

I don’t have a post-ac blog post this week.

So, I’ll share this link sent to me by a client.  It is from the Science Careers blog of the journal Science, and it describes the career track of the Applications Scientist.

Applications scientists provide support to customers of companies in the laboratory equipment, reagents, or lab-services industry, and according to the author, is one of “the best stepping stones from the bench to a range of opportunities in industry.”

What do they do?

“When technical inquiries from customers can’t be met by telephone and e-mail tech-support teams, they escalate to applications scientists. “Especially when they require lab work, an applications scientist speaks with the customer and can go so far as to test samples or specific applications,” Herzer continues. Herzer has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Rutgers University; such high-level credentials are common among applications scientists, and often are necessary for dealing with the complexity of modern research tools.

Applications people, Herzer says, can be either in the lab or in the field. In the lab, applications scientists tend to have more hands-on experience and often a higher education level than the front-line technical support staff. Their training — and the labs they have at their disposal — enables them to approach customer problems in a more sophisticated way. The field applications scientist (often referred to by the acronym FAS) works in the field, helping customers do their own work and working on collaborative projects. They also provide training, set up equipment, and deliver presentations and product demonstrations at customer sites and conferences.

“Field applications scientists troubleshoot via phone and e-mail as well, but they do have a significant amount of travel expected of them because much of what they do is face-to-face with the customer,” Herzer continues, raising an aspect of the job — travel — that can be either a plus or a minus. Few people travel more than field applications scientists.”

Read more here. 

About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

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