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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 cover letter. 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.

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, multi-day educational workshop, and preference will be given to those who attended. The 2022 Boot Camp comprises two half-day sessions on Zoom (April 21-22) and a 2.5-hour, in-person workshop and networking session (April 26).

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 (2022)

  • April 17: Deadline to apply to participate in the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp
  • April 21-22: Bench-to-Business Boot Camp, 9:00AM to 12:15PM Eastern Time each day, on Zoom
  • April 26: Post-Boot Camp Workshop and Happy Hour, in-person, 3:00-5:30PM at a Harvard Square venue
  • May 13 [new date]: Deadline to apply to the Fellowship by submitting your résumé and cover letter (see below) by 5PM ET
  • May 17: A select group of applicants will be asked to complete a case study
  • June 1: Completed case study due
  • June 8: Next-round interviewees notified
  • Mid-June: Interviews begin
  • Late June: Accepted Fellows notified
  • July 2022: Training and 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 17, and plan to attend both half-day workshops (9AM-12:15PM) on April 21 and 22. The additional in-person workshop on April 26 is strongly recommended for Fellowship applicants.

Then, submit your résumé and a cover letter to and to apply to the OTD Business Development Fellows program by 5PM on May 13.

Note, if you applied via the application form we had set up earlier in spring 2022, there is no need to reapply.

OTD will provide a select group of applicants with a commercialization case study by May 17, to be completed by June 1.

Questions? Please contact Meghan McGill and Sona Barthakur.

Looking for something else?

Current Harvard postdocs and recent MBA graduates of Harvard Business School may be interested in the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship.

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