Giving Great Brains a Professional Boost

OBI’s Graduate Opportunity (GO) Management Fellowship program gives five of the best brains in Ontario a year’s worth of invaluable professional development in the province’s diverse not-for-profit sector. The five Management Fellows are steeped in the details of how research and innovation is managed across all fields, from knowledge translation to governance. The GO Management program provides aspiring and accomplished academics a bridge to the professional world.

OBI has partnered with programs across the province to train the Management Fellows in such professional capacities as: business principles and practices at the Rotman School of Managementand DeGroote School of Business, Intellectual Property law at Norton Rose Fulbright, and legal documentation for start-up companies at Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, among other reputable institutions.

The five Management Fellows each have a unique and highly advanced background in a neuroscience-related field, holding acumens and expertise at the levels of Masters, Doctorates, and Post-Doctorate positions. Nathalie Goodfellow is one of the current Management Fellows, who is now, “developing practical career skills, in specialized training opportunities – like workshops tailored to my project goals, directly interacting with stakeholders – learning first-hand in the field in a way that is geared toward starting my long-term career”.Anna Han also feels as though the Fellowship program is laying the foundation for her career. Her experience is like that of so many other Ontario post-graduates: “following graduation, I had a sense of being highly educated without the practical experience I needed for a career”. However, moving forward, Han currently feels that “my career in industry and commercialization on track”.

The Fellowship program aims to place its Fellows at the intersection of research, policy-making, commercialization, and patient care. Mojib Javadi feels the program is providing him with valuable insight and practical experience: “I’m learning how research is managed from a perspective that is not seen in graduate school – for example, the intricacies of the finances – and learning these aspects is accelerating my career in the Canadian research system”. OBI challenges its Management Fellows to combine and discover areas of interest in ways that are often overlooked. “I thought I would have to choose between science and industry, but the Management program has shown me that there is common ground for me to do both – I’m still involved in science, but from a different perspective”, says Goodfellow. Similarly, Dipa Basu feels that managerial post-graduate opportunities aren’t usually obvious: “During my PhD in Medical Science and Pharmacology, I believed I would have a future in either academia or pharmaceuticals – I didn’t know there was a place for me in the not-for-profit sector. I feel as though the skills I’m learning in the Management Fellowship program will play a huge role in my career because they’re so widely applicable”. Tiffany Scarcelli also finds her experience as a Management Fellow offers a fresh career perspective: “I’m combining all aspects of my interests in communications and science in the not-for-profit sector in a way I didn’t know was possible”.

Like all OBI programs, the Fellowship program follows an approach of integrated discovery and multidisciplinary collaboration. “Collaboration is important to improve patient care and product development, and these programs bring together academics, industry, and health care stakeholders – it’s a very progressive model”, says Javadi. “We talk about ‘breaking down research silos’ in Ontario, toward  OBI’s vision for an integrated research and commercialization system, and it’s that same vision that guides the GO Management Fellowship program: the workflow is very interconnected, we learn a bit of everything from everyone”. Likewise, Han feels that the Management Fellowship places her at the nexus of “different fields – like science, commercialization, academia, and government among others – all intersecting, like a gateway to my desired goals”.

Javadi feels the GO Management program encourages the improvement of Ontario health research and health care in general. “Currently, a lack of post-grad opportunities in Ontario is driving the best educated people elsewhere. I see Fellowship program as encouraging local talent and investment, ultimately creating economic growth for all of Canada”.

The Go Management program provides a much needed means for Ontario post-graduates to transition into a career outside of academia. As the fellowship progresses through its inaugural year, OBI looks forward to continuing to help up-and-coming managers bring their projects to fruition, fostering brain-related and economic health in Ontario.

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