Office of Scientific Career Development

The Office of Scientific Career Development (OSCD) assists Fred Hutch graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical fellows to help them identify and achieve their career goals and help them to develop aspects of the core competencies of a successful scientist.

OSCD offers professional development training and resources, career counseling for scientists, and resources for international students.

We are inaugural members of the Coalition for Next Generation Life Sciences (CNLS), a national effort to provide data on outcomes of scientific training to help those who are considering a career in the biomedical sciences make an informed decision, including:

  • Median time it takes to complete a Ph.D. degree and median time spent in postdoctoral training
  • Demographics of students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Job outcomes of trainees

Fred Hutch Trainee CNLS Data

National Postdoctoral Association - Core Competencies


The National Postdoctoral Association six core competencies:

  1. Discipline-specific conceptual knowledge
  2. Research skill development
  3. Communication skills
  4. Professionalism
  5. Leadership and management skills
  6. Responsible conduct of research

Recommendations to Improve Scientific Training


A recent article, Research Culture: Actionable recommendations from trainees to improve science training (Davis, et al. eLife 2020), outlined seven actionable, trainee-informed changes that academic institutions can implement to improve the trainee experience. Here we highlight those recommendations and how the Hutch and the Office of Scientific Career development are addressing these needs. 

1. Supplemental Mentorship: Building a Mentoring Network workshop, career- and professional development-focused peer mentoring groups, Hutch United Mentoring Network

2. Peer Support: career-focused peer mentoring groups, peer review groups, SPAC peer social groups

3. Mentor Training: Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research and FLI Fundamentals training for faculty

4. Exit Surveys: Coalition for Next Generation Life Sciences graduate and postdoc outcomes

5. Clear Guidelines & Timelines: Survival Guide for all incoming graduate students and postdocs, Individual Development Plans (IDPs), 5 year postdoc limit 

6. Standard &Transparent Salary & Benefits: NIH minimum salary scale, health benefits, postdoc childcare subsidy program

7. Career & Professional Development Resources: Ivory Tower Quest Program for faculty-track, Exploration Program for Industry Careers (EPIC) for industry-track, Grant Training Program, Mentorship Series, SPAC Conference and Course scholarships


Professional Development

We focus on professional development topics including research skill development, communication skills, project management and interpersonal networking. 

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Ivory Tower Quest

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Exploration Program for Industry Careers

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Grant Training Program

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Dr. Barbara L. Berg Scientific Career Transition Program

Ivory Tower Quest

The Ivory Tower Quest Series focuses on finding tenure track faculty positions.  The series presents panels and talks on composing an application packet, interviewing skills, and negotiating a start-up package.  We also provide a venue to give a practice chalk talk with faculty in attendance. 


  • Discussions on putting an application packet together and the interview process.
  • Peer cohort to assemble application packet and prepare to interview.
  • Mock faculty interview, practice research and chalk talks to receive feedback
  • Workshop on how to negotiate a faculty job offer
  • Sample application packets from postdoctoral alumni now holding faculty positions.

Career Counseling for Current and Alumni

Dr. Karen Peterson, Director of the Office of Scientific Career Development, is available to current and former Hutch scientists to talk about career choices and options. 

She can help you work through what you want to do next, connect you with people who have successfully made a transition into the type of position you want, review your application packet (CV/resume and cover letter), and help you think about how to best negotiate a job offer.

Karen is the author of the Nature Guide to Life Science Careers and has been offering career counseling and information to postdoctoral fellows and graduate students for over 20 years. In addition, she started as a postdoc at the Hutch and made a career transition away from the lab bench and into science education and administration.


Hutch graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have access to a number of opportunities and resources at Fred Hutch and in the Seattle area.

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Seattle Affordability Resources

Fred Hutch Campus with a large four story high banner that reads, Cures Start Here.

International Scientists

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English as a Second Language (ESL)

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Free National Postdoctoral Association Membership

Seattle Affordability Resources

New to Seattle

Utilize the Workforce Development Council of Settle-King County's self-sufficiency calculator to calculate what salary you will need for a family of a certain size. 

Also, be aware of the Washington Department of Labor minimum exempt salaries implementation schedule for planning purposes. 


Affordable Housing Resources

The MFTE Program provides a tax exemption on new multifamily buildings in exchange for setting aside 20-25% of the homes as income- and rent-restricted. By supporting mixed-income residential development in urban centers, the MFTE program ensures affordability as the community grows.

As of 2019, Seattle’s Area Median Income (AMI) is currently $76,000. To calculate your %AMI divide your salary by Seattle’s AMI. This percentage will help determine what your rent limit is. View a table of income and rent limits.

If you are interested in applying for income/rent restricted units through the MFTE program, read the Renter’s Guide to Seattle’s Multifamily Tax Exemption and Incentive Zoning Programs

The following is a list of non-profit organizations who offer affordable housing. Each organization has its own application process – contact each one to learn more.

Contact Amber Ismael