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OTD Business Development Fellowship

A rewarding program for Harvard graduate students and postdocs

Harvard researchers discuss a marketing summary at the 2018 Bench-to-Business Boot Camp. Image credit Tony Rinaldo Photography.

At Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD), the Business Development Fellowship provides current Harvard graduate students and postdoctoral researchers an opportunity to participate in the crucial early stages of technology development. By analyzing technologies’ commercialization potential and crafting marketing strategies, Fellows help us achieve our mission of translating research discoveries into products that reach the public.

During the yearlong program, the Business Development Fellows will be assigned to projects that may require their scientific background and domain expertise and asked to evaluate markets, assess intellectual property and patent landscapes, identify appropriate licensing partners for Harvard technologies, and create marketing campaigns.

The application process begins when you submit your résumé and a cover letter to our new senior fellows* Liang Chang and Aniqa Tasnim. See below for complete application details. A select number of applicants will be invited to complete a commercialization case study and to interview with members of the OTD Business Development team.

*Note, if you previously submitted your application to Sophie, our former senior fellow, no need to resubmit.

No prior training is necessary to complete the case study. However, we strongly recommend applicants attend OTD's Bench-to-Business Boot Camp, an in-depth, 2-day educational workshop on April 12-13, 2021, and preference will be given to those who attended.

Harvard researchers discuss a marketing summary at the 2018 Bench-to-Business Boot Camp. Image credit Tony Rinaldo Photography.

Program highlights

  • Over the course of a year, gain a valuable practical introduction to the fields of technology transfer, intellectual property, business development, alliance management, and marketing
  • Expand your network through exclusive events with outside experts, through interactions with OTD’s highly experienced professional staff, and by connecting with other researchers who share an interest in commercializing science
  • Develop marketable skills for alternative careers in science
  • Receive compensation for your time

In recent years, alumni of this program (formerly known as the Early Technology Assessment Program) have found rewarding career opportunities in intellectual property law, technology transfer, business development roles in industry, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.


  • Generating written reports detailing market size, competitive landscape, intellectual property, and partnering strategies for Harvard technologies
  • Preparing marketing materials for potential industry partners
  • Attending, and participating in, scheduled seminar series and group meetings
  • Up to 5 hours of work per week completed at any location convenient to you


  • Harvard or Harvard-affiliated PhD students or postdocs
  • PhD students must have completed qualifying exams
  • Ability to commit up to 5 hours per week for 1 year
  • Completion of a commercialization case study provided by OTD
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have participated in OTD's Bench-to-Business Boot Camp
Harvard researchers discuss a marketing summary at the 2018 Bench-to-Business Boot Camp. Image credit Tony Rinaldo Photography.

Important recruitment dates (2021)

  • April 7: Deadline to apply to participate in the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp
  • April 12-13: Bench-to-Business Boot Camp, 9:00AM to 12:30PM Eastern Time each day, on Zoom
  • April 23: Deadline to apply for the Fellows program, by submitting your résumé and cover letter (see below)
  • April 30: A select group of applicants will be asked to complete a case study
  • May 21: Completed case study due
  • June 4: Next-round interviewees notified
  • Mid-June: Interviews begin
  • Late June: Accepted Fellows notified
  • July 2021: Work begins
A participant in the 2018 Bench-to-Business Boot Camp reads a scientific paper. Image credit Tony Rinaldo Photography.

How to apply

Interested PhD students and postdocs should first apply to the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp, by April 7, and plan to attend both half-day workshops (9AM-12:30PM) on April 12 and 13.

Then, submit a résumé and cover letter, expressing interest in the OTD Business Development Fellows program: please send these materials to our new senior fellows* Liang Chang and Aniqa Tasnim by April 23.

OTD will provide a select group of applicants with a commercialization case study by April 30, to be completed by May 21.

Questions? Please contact Liang Chang and Aniqa Tasnim.

*Note, if you previously submitted your application to our former senior fellow, Sophie, there is no need to resubmit.

Looking for something else?

Recent MBA graduates of Harvard Business School may be interested in the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship. Learn more.

Photos from the 2018 Bench-to-Business Boot Camp / credit Tony Rinaldo Photography