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OTD Business Development Fellowship

A rewarding program for Harvard graduate students and postdocs

Scenes from the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp


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 senior fellow Mark Springel. 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. If accepted into the program, OTD Fellows will be required to attend an in-depth, 2-day educational workshop — the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp — as part of their training.

Scenes from the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp


Program highlights

  • Over the course of a year, gain a valuable practical introduction to the fields of technology transfer, intellectual property, business development, 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

  • Participate in the intensive 2-day Bench-to-Business Boot Camp

  • 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 for pharmaceutical companies, and venture-backed entrepreneurship.


  • Generating written reports detailing market size, competition, 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
  • Participation in OTD's Bench-to-Business Boot Camp
Scenes from the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp


Important recruitment dates (2019-20)

Note, this cycle has passed. Stay tuned for 2020-21 dates, which should be updated here in late fall 2020.

  • Week of December 9, 2019: Optional information sessions in Cambridge on Dec. 11 and Longwood on Dec. 12
  • January 29: Deadline to apply for the Fellows program, by completing the application form and submitting your résumé and cover letter
  • February 5: A select group of applicants will be asked to complete a case study
  • February 26: Completed case study due
  • March 19: Next-round interviewees notified
  • Week of March 30: Interviews begin
  • Week of April 13: Accepted Fellows notified
  • May 20 and 21: Bench-to-Business Boot Camp - Note, this event has been canceled, as of March 16, 2020.
  • End of May 2020: Work begins

How to apply

Interested PhD students and postdocs should submit a résumé and cover letter, expressing interest in the OTD Business Development Fellows program, by January 29. Please also complete the application form by this date. OTD will then provide a select group of applicants with a commercialization case study on February 5, to be completed by February 26.

Questions? Please contact Mark Springel.

Scenes from the Bench-to-Business Boot Camp

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

Looking for something else?

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