Together we Drive the Future


What is the future of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in life sciences?

Satish Medicetty | April 24th, 2017

At a recent GTCbio conference I had a conversation with a well-known and highly accomplished Professor about his interaction with a group of graduate students. The Professor was apparently invited to give a guest-lecture and it is common to engage with graduate students during these visits. The Professor was sitting on a round table with 20 graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. He asked them “before starting your graduate studies how many of you intended to pursue a career in academia after graduation?” A total of 15 out of 20 students lifted their hands. Then he asked the question “now how many of you intend to pursue a career in academia after graduation?” Only 2 out of 20 students lifted their hands.

This conversation reminded me of the questions that I faced when I was in graduate school many years ago. The question was not new, but the answer was very different than what I remember from back then. It is true that a very small percentage of students are willing to take the route of being an academic researcher. Much of this change is attributed to the herculean task of getting grant funding, which to a large extent determines the future of an academic researcher.

The Professor and I went on to discuss that many of these young professionals are faced with one of the two broad options listed below:

  1. Find job opportunities in the industry
  2. Continue in academia but work on getting industry funding in addition to government funding

Each one of these options require specific skill sets, which are typically not part of the curriculum at any graduate school. A few pharma companies are offering postdoctoral positions to facilitate a better transition from academia to industry. While these opportunities seem to provide a great transitional platform, these positions are limited. Moreover, there industry postdoctoral positions are not available for all disciplines.

I have known many talented doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows who struggled to find their way into sustainable academic or industry careers. It is critical for these young professionals to have good mentors and to acquire good partnering skills to excel in the current environment. The conversation with the Professor and other similar considerations has motivated me to incorporate specific opportunities for young professionals at all the future GTCbio conferences. As our conferences offer small and focused platforms within a specific scientific discipline, these will be effective vehicles to facilitate specific mentoring and partnering sessions as described below:

  1. From Summer 2017 all GTCbio conferences will include “Breakfast with Mentors from Academia and Industry”, where young professionals can sign up to spend more time with senior faculty and corporate executives to receive expert advice and guidance.
  2. From Fall 2017 we are engaging Program Partners and interested organizations in Focus Group Meetings (FGM) that will be held on the evening before the actual conference. These FGMs are meant to facilitate partnering at various levels, and we will be inviting a few selected young professionals to participate in these meetings to acquire skills that would prepare them to find and build successful partnerships. In addition, we will have a session focused on partnering between academia and industry in all our future conferences.

I strongly believe that GTCbio conferences will turn into effective mentoring and partnering platforms. Visit the Education page on our website for more information. Please forward this information to any young professional or their PI that may benefit from this opportunity. I would also appreciate any feedback!

How conferences can be transformational platforms?

Satish Medicetty | March 2nd, 2017

A month ago I shared my initial thoughts on how gtcbio is promoting a “Drive Together” concept to change conferences to transformational platforms. The image below will provide a high-level overview of our approach.  All our platforms will be built on key central pillars: content, stakeholders, relationships and connectivity.  Each individual pillar will have its own support system and “Together we Drive the Future”.

Changing conferences to transformational platforms

Satish Medicetty | February 2nd, 2017

Few months ago when I acquired GTCbio, a company that develops and organizes conferences, my colleagues and friends were wondering if this was a change in my biotech & pharma career path. However, I see this as a strategic opportunity to create a platform that can discuss new  ideas and technologies to enable transformation of future healthcare options. I believe this will allow me to be a part of many new projects and teams, and also create great opportunities for other professionals. Whether it is a diagnostic or a therapeutic everything starts with an idea that requires researchers, clinicians, investors, policy makers and eventually the patients to “Come Together” as a team to turn it into a healthcare option. The “Come Together” part is what a typical conference/meeting does, however just coming together is not sufficient. It is important to turn a conference into a transformational platform that promotes the concept of “Drive Together” to get the best results. In line with my vision we have a new tagline for GTCBio – “Together we Drive the Future”. I hope to share my thoughts and how we are creating conferences that will promote the “Drive Together” concept and I would welcome any feedback and ideas from you all. Historically GTCbio has been conducting small conferences that will provide better networking opportunities for all attendees. We are in the process of implementing several changes that we believe will change our conferences to transformational platforms. Stay tuned for more ….. SatishBlog-6 - Copy