Simple Options, Complex Choices

February 10, 2014

I spend a significant amount of time working with teenagers, making them think about money and time management.  In one exercise, we talk about what you can do if you have gotten yourself into debt.  They often have a hard time coming up with specific ideas, but when pressed come up with “don’t spend as much on food” or “don’t go out as much”.  After several more rounds of leading questions, they begin to see that all of their answers fall into one of two categories.  While there are many ways to do each of those things, there really are only two options to get yourself out of debt and back to a positive cash flow situation – either “spend less” or “earn more.”

The same dichotomy applies to your career.  If your current job did not turn out to be what you thought it would, or you are disillusioned with how your career is progressing, there are two basic things you can do to fix it.  The first is to adjust your expectations, and be happy with what you have.  The second option is to figure out what you really want from your career and get it.

Dissatisfaction with your career is not as easily quantitated as an imbalance between your income and your expenditures.  It will take some thoughtful introspection and careful consideration of not only your current situation, but also of your entire career trajectory.  What is it that you really expected to have at this point in your career, and how is that different from what you currently have?  Are your expectations reasonable for today’s job economic market and demographic realities, or were they based on what conditions that no longer exist?

If you are in the job you thought you wanted, but are unhappy, why is that?  Did the job turn out to be significantly different from your expectations?  Or are you doing what you expected, but you find you do not really enjoy it as much as you thought you would?  It’s very difficult to really know how much you’ll enjoy doing something until you actually do it . How often have you been pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised when you’ve tried something new, and found it was different from what you expected?

As you’re considering what you really want to get out of your career, and how that differs from your current position and goals, make sure you are being realistic. The type of job you covet may not exist anymore, or may exist in such a transformed version that if you knew what it really involved, you would not really want it.  You may be able to make small changes to your current job – adding some responsibilities, shifting others, to move what you have closer to what you want.

To continue with that theme, if the disconnect is very large, you will need to make large changes. You need to make the commitment to do what it will take to get what you really want – maybe attending night school to finish your degree, taking on extra projects at work to learn new skills that will make you eligible for a promotion, or moving your family across the country to a place where the type of job you covet is more readily available.  Yes, these will take time, and yes, there are disadvantages with each.  Only you can determine if the benefits of “getting more” in the long term outweigh the alternative of “learning to be happy with less”.

Carolyn Hax, who writes an advice column in the Washington Post, recently told a reader that “Stress is what fills the gap between what we covet and what we actually get.”  Since your career is such a large part of your life, it makes sense that a mismatch there would cause a large amount of stress.  Realizing that the world does not make promises, and there are many paths you can take, can go a long way towards helping you get your expectations and your realities in line.

In summary, in order to reduce your stress, either be happy with what you have, or go out and get what you want.  Simple, right?

 

This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers,” published by Oxford University Press.


Launching Your Own Company: Entering a Business Plan Competition

March 18, 2013

Entering business plan competitions can help fledgling entrepreneurs grow their new companies. A new study of 354 startups who participated in the annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) shows these entrepreneurs have a much higher rate of success than typical new ventures. Thus, chemists starting their own companies could benefit from entering the RBPC or similar business plan competitions. The RBPC is the world’s largest and richest business plan competition. The longitudinal study covers the 11-year (2001 – 2011) life span of the RBPC. It provides insights into the experiential factors that can help entrepreneurs launch a successful business. Whether or not you enter your fledgling chemical business in one of these business plan competitions, the complete report on the RPBC could provide useful suggestions on how to increase the prospects of success for your startup chemical business.  That report can be found at:

(http://www.alliance.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/RBPC/2012_RBPC_ImpactReport.pdf)

Details of the RBPC

Teams that compete at the RBPC present their ventures to more than 250 venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate investors, mentors, successful entrepreneurs and other leaders from the business community, where they have a chance to get mentoring, feedback, start-up capital and connections.

Entry into the Rice competition has become more competitive each year. In 2012, less than 3% of the 1,600 applicants were accepted. The states with the largest number of competitors during the first 11 years were Texas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Georgia.

The universities with the largest number of teams accepted to compete at the RBPC include Rice University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, University of Arkansas, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, Southern Methodist University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Duke University and Stanford University.

Results of the RBPC

Using data on the 354 RBPC graduate-student competition teams from 2001 to 2011, the study found:

  • 199 of the entrepreneurs (56%) went on to launch their companies after competing at the Rice competition.
  • 128 of those (64%) are successful and still in business today. In comparison, only 20% to 50% of startups survive to their fifth anniversary.
  • Past competitions have raised more than $460 million in early stage funding.
  • A conservative estimate of jobs created tops 1,000.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, in the past 30 years, all net job creation in the U.S. has taken place in firms less than five years old. (The Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare.)

“The study shows that university business plan competitions can go beyond simply being an academic exercise or educational experience,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance. “They can serve as a vehicle for building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and as a launching pad for new businesses, especially high-tech, high-growth startups.”

“The Rice Business Plan Competition’s track record is unparalleled in creating new, successful high-tech startups,” said Kauffman Foundation Vice President Lesa Mitchell. “The competition provides access to venture capital and other early stage investors, strategic partners, mentors and service providers – not to mention more than $1 million in seed funding and other prizes – all critical resources for successfully launching a new company and creating jobs.”

One-quarter of the successful startups from the competition have raised venture capital funding. This compares to less than 1% percent of startups that typically get venture capital funding. Of the total $460 million in funding raised, 62% came from venture funding, 13% from angel investors and 13% from government grants. (Angel investors are usually found among an entrepreneur’s family and friends. The capital they provide can be a one-time injection of seed money or ongoing support to carry the company through difficult times.)

The RBPC results have shown to be a good predictor of a company’s success, based on the winners and teams that reached the finals. All of the winners in the RBPC from 2004 to 2011 have been successful, are still in business and have raised more than $107 million in funding. Of all the teams that reached the finals from 2001 to 2011, 56% have been successful and have raised more than $269 million in funding.

John Borchardt was a chemist, freelance writer and devoted ACS career consultant for over 15 years, until his sudden passing in January 2013. He was the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers,” and had more than 1500 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he held 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents, and was the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. John’s advice, insights and articles helped hundreds of scientists improve their professional lives, and he will be truly missed.


Non-traditional Chemistry Careers: Project Manager and Team Leader

December 24, 2012

Traditionally R&D employees have been organized into work groups having similar skills. For example, all the mass spectroscopists may work in a single work group headed by a group leader, all the surfactant chemists in another, etc. These same chemists may also work, often simultaneously, on different projects each headed by a different project manager or team leader. The result is a matrix style of management in which R&D staff members are members of one or more teams in addition to reporting to a work group leader (often called a line manager).

Work groups are organized by the technical discipline of their members and are long-lasting since the technical disciplines of its members do not change greatly over time. In contrast, team membership is determined by the needs of the various projects. Projects are temporary and project teams are dissolved when the project goals are attained or are deemed unachievable. Individuals may move onto and off of the team as the work progresses and the expertise for the project changes. For example, very early in the project there may be little need for patent or government regulations specialists. However, these needs often arise later in the project. Late in the project quality assurance methods and analysis procedures have been defined and this type of work has become standardized. Hence there may be little need for analytical chemists to continue to work on the team as this work may be done as a matter of routine by one or more traditional work groups.

Project managers and team leaders organize and manage laboratory activities with the goal of creating new products and processes. They depend on the managers of traditional work groups to supply their staffing needs. However, it is the project leaders and team leaders who are responsible for meeting project objectives on schedule and within budget.

This dichotomy can lead to a major disadvantage of the matrix organization. Conflicts can arise between project managers and team leaders with group leaders over the allocation of staff members and other resources. Team members may feel a conflict of loyalties to their work group managers and their team leadership. There also may be confusion over accountability. Too many people may become involved in the decision making process, resulting in “paralysis by analysis.” Personnel costs can increase since project managers are typically paid more than work group members.

Project managers

The person responsible for planning, executing and completing a project is the project manager. Unlike team leaders, project managers seldom participate directly in the activities that produce the end result. Instead they strive to maintain progress through promoting the interaction of individuals and of work groups in ways that minimize project costs while maximizing benefits and reduce the risk of project failure.

When assembling project teams, project managers have to consider the critical roles and chemistry between team members as well as the team members’ technical skills. Incompatible team members can lead to dissention that reduces team productivity and even doom a project. Project managers are increasingly responsible for other nontechnical risk factors that require them to deal with the concerns of government regulatory agencies, citizen activist groups, and the general public.

The major professional organization for project managers is the Project Management Institute (PMI) (http://www.pmi.org). PMI offers various levels of professional certification, publishes journals, and offers continuing education services.

Team leaders

The responsibilities of team leaders are less broad in scope than those of project managers. Typically others, the project manager and line managers, determine the project team membership and the responsibilities of the individual team members. It is the project team leader who converts the project plan into work and achievement. According to famed management guru Peter Drucker, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” This requires strong, effective leadership that keeps team members focused on achievement of project goals.

Concerning team leadership, Walt Disney said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.” Among the responsibilities of the team leader are:

  • Representing the team to higher level management
  • Leading team members to a consensus or making decisions in the absence of a consensus
  • Resolving conflicts between members and
  • Coordinating efforts of individual team members.

People skills are essential for team leaders since they often lack formal management authority, which resides in team members’ line managers. Instead, team leaders must persuade their team members to accept the project goals and timetable. Often they have little beyond their own persuasive skills to do so. Relying too much on the authority of line managers and project managers can reduce their own moral authority.

John Borchardt is a chemist and freelance writer who has been an ACS career consultant for 15 years. He is the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers.” He has had more than 1200 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents and is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. As an ACS Councilor, he serves on the Joint Board – Council Committee Patents and Related Matters.


Non-traditional Offices for Non-traditional Chemistry Careers

December 17, 2012

The most usual office for self-employed chemists is a space in their home. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a well-equipped office in your own home. Stephanie Dickinson, contributing editor to The Writer Magazine, called home offices “the 30-second commute” and used the phrase in the title of her book “The 30-Second Commute: A Non-fiction Comedy About Writing and Working from Home.” It’s pleasant to look out the window of one’s home office, see a driving rainstorm and realize you merely have to turn around in your chair to be at your workplace. Even on sunny days it’s nice to be able to avoid the mental strain and lost time of a lengthy commute. Your 30-second commute reduces wear and tear on your car while reducing the air pollution and fatigue that every day commuting causes and puts a little more coin back in your pocket.

The home office

Your home office may be as simple as a kitchen table where one puts one’s laptop computer between meals. It may be more elaborate such as a spare bedroom well equipped with office furniture and equipment. The more space and the more office equipment one has, the more efficiently one can usually work.

One nice thing about a home office is you can furnish it gradually rather than all at once spreading out the expenses. This is what I did when furnishing the spare bedroom that became my home office. It now has four bookcases, an étagère for office supplies, and a computer table for my desktop PC, and a writing desk. Two shelves of one bookcase are occupied by a printer and a combination telephone answering machine/fax machine/photocopier to complete my office.   I sometimes work in my living room using a small tray table to hold my laptop computer.  I’ll also sit on my patio and work before it gets too hot or humid.

Offices outside the home

I also use my laptop computer to work around town. Sometimes I’ll grow tired of working alone in my home office and need a change of scene. Self-employed chemists have a growing number of places to work and meet with clients or each other. Options have grown beyond coffee shops, libraries, and clients’ offices. Increasingly hotels are welcoming local residents to use their lobbies as meeting places and as a place to work. They also offer a comfortable place to work for hours and to rendezvous with other self-employed individuals or clients for lunch or coffee.  Hotel lobbies make a trip more productive than a lengthy drive followed by a thirty-minute interview followed by a return home. By reducing the productivity loss of attending a meeting, hotel lobbies can help lessen the isolation felt by self-employed chemists and reducing the productivity loss when they get together for lunch or coffee. Hotel coffee shops, restaurants and bars also do more business.

Some quite upscale hotels are doing this. For instance, the Public, a boutique hotel just north of downtown Chicago, welcomes freelancer writers, consultants and other mobile workers to its amenity-rich lobby because they help create “buzz.“ Amenities include free Wi-Fi, comfortable chairs, and even some work tables fitted with electrical outlets. The two-year-old Andaz Wall Street, a Hyatt Hotel in New York City, is another example. While in San Diego in March to cover a conference, I was able to work comfortably in the lobbies of two hotels, the Hilton Gaslamp and the Marriott Marquis as well as interview some meeting attendees.

Convention centers are getting into the act as well. Many offer free Wi-Fi while their public seating areas, coffee shops and snack shops provide comfortable places to work. Their large parking lots make convenient places for freelancers to park their cars even if they are just using these public areas and not attending a conference.

John Borchardt is a chemist and freelance writer who has been an ACS career consultant for 15 years. He is the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers.” He has had more than 1200 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents and is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. As an ACS Councilor, he serves on the Joint Board – Council Committee Patents and Related Matters.


What You Should Be Doing?

November 12, 2012

Being unemployed is bad enough, but when unemployment stretches out for a long period of time, it brings all sorts of new complications.  There are a few things you could be doing during this time to ensure you are able to navigate this tumultuous time.

Assess your finances.  Based on your personal situation, will you have the luxury of conducting a prolonged job search, be able to take a temporary contracting position, or will you need to take a “survival job” to get some income in the door quickly? If you get into “survival job” mode, are you choosing a job that brings you more than just a paycheck?  For example, you could work at a local coffee house, restaurant or grocery store geographically close to a company at which you would like to work, and strike up conversations with customers there to learn about the company and potential openings.  Ideally, the job will bring you into contact with people who help connect you to your preferred work, providing both networking opportunities and financial support.

Evaluate your priorities.  Are you willing to relocate for a new position, or do you have geographic or other restrictions?  If you are unwilling to change location, are there enough suitable opportunities in your location?  If not, you may have to re-adjust your definition of ‘suitable’, which might include taking additional training courses or an internship to make yourself qualified for related occupations within your local area.

Attend technical and professional meetings.  Many professional meetings have reduced or waived fees for unemployed members.  Take advantage of them!  Search out related professional societies, such as the American Chemical Society, and find local or regional meetings in areas that are of interest to you. Use the time between jobs to attend conferences and meet other professionals; while keeping current on scientific discoveries.  Keep yourself focused on the latest chemical information and processes.

Read journal articles.  Check with major universities in your town, and find out which ones allow public access to the journals you prefer.  Being an alumnus may also grant you library access.  Browse the table of contents, or use what you learned at the technical meetings or from reading Chemical and Engineering News as search topics.

Attend networking events.  Find local organizations that are chemistry or life-science based, attend a few of their events, and if it’s a good fit, join.  Not only will this broaden your professional network, but it will also give you another avenue to learn about local employment trends.  You can create and print business cards at a very low cost, or even free, to leave with your newly encountered contacts.  You should also create and update your ACS Network and LinkedIn profiles, and use social networks to find new contacts in your area.  Invite them for coffee, or ask to meet and discuss what their day-to-day life is like on the job.  Never come right out and ask for a job, but use your network to find openings and solicit feedback on potential companies and bosses.

Volunteer and become active with professional organizations.  Beyond just joining an organization and attending meetings, volunteer to help.  You can do something as simple as offering to help out at the registration table (allowing you to meet everyone who attends), or something as complex as organizing a technical session with multiple speakers (allowing you to invite people you’d like to hear speak).  Helping out lets you meet the active and involved people who can connect you to opportunities.  It also shows them that you are a reliable, valuable addition to the team, and someone they would be happy to work with.  You could even volunteer to facilitate a group of unemployed professionals who might need emotional support or ideas to jump start their own job searches.

Continue your education.  Even if you don’t need a certification for your next job, taking a class can help add structure to your time off and increase your value to your future employer.  Local community colleges, online courses, your professional association, or regional training centers may offer continuing education courses in technical writing, business administration, intellectual property, public speaking or even biotechnology and Six Sigma Certification.

No matter how long your period of unemployment lasts, you will always have to answer the question “What have you been doing with your time?”  Whether asked during a networking or social event or during a job interview, you need to have a prepared and professional answer to that question.  By putting into practice some of the actions outlined above, you will have positive constructive things to talk about, and you can steer the conversation back to what you have done lately making you even more valuable to that particular employer.

As a matter of fact, all of these are good things to do, whether or not you’re currently employed.  Keeping your eyes open and preparing for your next opportunity should be something you do routinely, so you’re always ready for the next step on your career pathway.

This article inspired by a conversation with Joe Martino, ACS Career Consultant, and written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers, published by Oxford University Press.


Non-traditional Chemistry Careers: Supply Chain Manager and Contract Manager

October 29, 2012

There are many rewarding chemistry careers “off the beaten track” of well-known job areas such as R&D, sales, and business management. These careers tap specific chemical knowledge as well as skills many chemists learn such as critical thinking, creative problem solving and decision making. Two I will discuss today are Supply Chain Manager and Contract Manager.

Supply Chain Manager

The manufacture of products based on chemicals involves a series of transfers from suppliers to customers. For example, one company produces natural gas (ethane). It is transported by pipeline to a plant where it is converted to ethylene. It may be further converted to polyethylene pellets on site or transported by another pipeline to another plant for this conversion. The resulting pellets are transported by railcar to customers who mold the polyethylene into various objects. Often other substances are added to the pellets to provide desired physical properties. The objects fabricated from polyethylene are used in a wide variety of products ranging from bottles to toys to machine parts. Each chemical transformation of material: from natural gas to ethylene to polyethylene pellets to molded object is part of the supply chain. These material transfers may occur within one company or from one company to another. Often the chemical materials being transported are corrosive, air-sensitive or toxic. The containers used to store or transport them by pipeline, railcar, or tank truck must be durable, without leaks, and resistant to corrosion by the materials they carry. It is the responsibility of the Supply Chain Manager to be sure that this is the case.

The Supply Chain Manager is also responsible for the safe and timely transport of materials from one location to another. Supply Chain Managers must assure that the customer both does not run out of supplies requiring a costly plant shutdown or have an over-accumulation of supplies requiring materials to be stored in railcars until tankage becomes available.

An interruption at any point in the supply chain, such as the one which occurred after the 2011 Fukushima, Japan tsunami; shutting down many plants in Japan.  This disturbance in the chain can shut down plants in the U.S. and elsewhere that depend on timely delivery of chemical products and other items from distant production plants, having a catastrophic impact on supply and demand. Plants were shut down and people temporarily found themselves unemployed thousands of miles from Japan because of the disruption.

Supply Chain Managers work with government regulation specialists to assure government safety and labeling regulations are met. They also work with ship owners, railroad and trucking companies to ensure suitable ships, railcars and tanker trucks are available in the proper locations when needed to transport materials.

The 2011 median salary for a typical U.S. supply chain manager is $94,223 according to slalary.com using data collected from many employers across the U.S. in a variety of industries. The Institute of Supply Chain Management is the professional association for supply chain managers and offers professional certification to its members.

Contract Manager

Industry, government and academia all employ Contract Managers to manage a variety of contracts. These include:

  • purchasing contracts for goods and services
  • partnership agreements
  • types of R&D contracts such as outsourcing and other types of cooperation.

Contract Managers’ responsibilities can include drafting, evaluation, and negotiation of contracts followed by monitoring their execution and compliance of all parties to the terms of each contract. They often act as the contact between their own organizations and those having contracts with their employer. They maintain records of all contract correspondence, status reports and other documents relating to contracts. They monitor compliance with the terms of contracts and may become involved in discussions when disagreements arise. In the case of R&D contracts, these activities may require interacting with R&D project managers and intellectual property attorneys.

The primary professional organization for contract managers is the National Contract Managers Association (NCMA). The results of NCMA surveys indicate that 56% of Contract Managers are women. The seniority and importance of contract managers may be indicated by their median age of survey respondents, 49 years. According to Indeed.com, their 2012 annual average salary is $80,000.

Most NCMA survey respondents work for or with the government with 56% working for government contractors plus 23% working directly for the federal government and 3% working for state or local government agencies. Another 9% are in commercial businesses. The remainder work in academia or as consultants. About 47% work for large government or private sector organizations with annual revenues or budgets exceeding $501 million.

John Borchardt was a chemist, freelance writer and devoted ACS career consultant for over 15 years, until his sudden passing in January 2013. He was the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers,” and had more than 1500 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he held 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents, and was the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. John’s advice, insights and articles helped hundreds of scientists improve their professional lives, and he will be truly missed.


Non-traditional Chemistry Careers: Science and Technical Writers

October 22, 2012

Traditional science writers work full-time for newspapers, magazines or associations such as the American Chemical Society (ACS). However, these days print publications are employing fewer full-time science writers. Many people blog about science but relatively few earn enough to depend on blog earnings as their primary source of income. Science writing is increasingly becoming a part-time and even unpaid profession. Therefore, one should be well aware of these trends before committing to science writing as a full-time occupation.

Freelance Science Writers

An increasing fraction of science writers are self-employed contractors. Besides writing for magazines, newspapers and websites for these publications, they may also write for companies needing writing services. For example, as a freelance science writer, I have written confidential internal documents for oil companies, oilfield service companies, chemical companies and consumer products companies. Often these “white papers” are proprietary in that the information is confidential and the exclusive property of the organization that commissioned the work. Many magazines, newspapers and websites hold exclusive rights to articles they commission freelance writers to write. So if one writes a document or article, he/she often cannot sell it to more than one organization.

Being self-employed, freelance writers usually do not receive health benefits from the organizations that commission them to write articles. Freelance writers also have to make their own provisions for Social Security Administration payments and other retirement income. Monthly income can vary from month to month depending on the writer’s success in being commissioned to write science articles. Many freelance writers write on a part-time basis in addition to holding a full-time job. Some write solely for the enjoyment of writing about science and not for money.

Some science writers work for agencies. Companies and other organizations approach these agencies when they need writers to prepare documents on specific subjects. These agencies maintain files and recommend writers to organizations needing them. In return for this service, the agency receives a percentage of the writing fee from the hiring organization. Often the agency manages issues such as paying the writer’s income taxes and Social Security fees from his/her income before sending the writer a check.

National Association of Science Writers

The National Association of Science Writers (http://nasw.org) is the professional organization for science writers and includes both writers working full-time and freelance writers who work for various clients as they receive assignments to write various documents.

Technical Writers

Technical writers are often put in a separate category from science writers. Many technical writers work for the information technology industry either as professionals employed full-time or as freelancers. They often write operating instructions for IT products such as computers, cell phones and software. This usually pays more than science writing. The relevant professional organization is the Society for Technical Communication (http://stc.org).

Many writers are both science writers and technical writers. Some cover other subjects as well. For example, I write job-hunting and career management articles customized for scientists and engineers that are published as ACS Career Blogs (http://acs.org/careers).

Finding article topics

Finding gripping article ideas that will interest many readers is no problem. Many news services publish press releases on new developments in science and medicine from universities, companies, government agencies and conferences. My favorite is Eurekalert.org published daily by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Another site publishing many European science press releases is AlphaGalileo.org. Many universities publish press releases based on discoveries made in their science departments and labs.

The federal government’s national laboratories publish press releases about discoveries their scientists make. Many scientific organizations such as the American Chemical Society also publish press releases as well as trade organizations such as the Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry.

Incidentally, science writers prepare these press releases. While some are freelancers, most are full-time employees working for organizations such as the ACS.

John Borchardt was a chemist, freelance writer and devoted ACS career consultant for over 15 years, until his sudden passing in January 2013. He was the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers,” and had more than 1500 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he held 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents, and was the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. John’s advice, insights and articles helped hundreds of scientists improve their professional lives, and he will be truly missed.