Many of us are switching careers and looking for novel ways to make use of our experience in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. Here are ten creative projects you can try to tackle, from writing manual entries at Wikipedia to following the FDA on Twitter like sonali gunawardhana. Hopefully they will provide you with some fun or even profitable ideas!
1. Write a Wikipedia entry on an obscure drug or device.
The Drugs section of the English version of Wikipedia is 20% longer than it was five years ago, so now might be a good time to turn your attention to the FDA. (Your entry will probably be listed in its thousands in the top ten, anyway.)
2. Become a Twitter addict.
Follow the FDA on Twitter, strike up a conversation with them, and who knows what might happen? FDA employees are more likely to communicate with each other via Twitter than through email. Maybe they will help you out! Alternatively, you could become an active tweeter yourself—we all have our own interests in drug development. For example, in my own field of cancer research, I know of several projects which are seeking patients for Phase II studies. Why not tweet about them? Or you could follow relevant conferences or job vacancies.
3. Create a new idea for an app or a program.
The FDA is facilitating a mobile app to search the labeling of drugs. This will be free, but if you want to contribute, it might be worth your while! You could also think of an online tool which makes it easier for pharmacists to check whether some product already exists on the market or not.
4. Jot down some ideas for a newsletter or blog on drug development.
Logging on to the FDA’s website, you’ll immediately notice that there are many blogs and newsletters being produced by private companies. Maybe you can come up with some of your own ideas for a newsletter or blog.
5. Craft an e-book about drug development or regulatory affairs.
The FDA is hosting a competition for student writers who want to take their experience of drug development and turn it into a book. So why not start your own blog or short-story collection with an FDA theme? So much material is available out there, you could probably write a really successful ebook!
6. Translate documents from English to another language and vice versa.
All sorts of documents are available on the FDA’s website, but some have not been translated into Spanish, Chinese or other languages. If you speak another language, why not translate some documents? The more languages you can use, the better! Many FDA documents are translated into different languages, and the translations are not always perfect! So if you speak another language, this might be a good way to make some money while improving the quality of these translations.
7. Find a topic of interest to the FDA and gather information about it.
There are many ways in which we can help the FDA with their mission, particularly by helping them develop awareness of new issues. For example, if you know about a website which might be useful for clinicians, why not let the FDA know about it?
8. Conduct a survey.
The FDA? Yes! There are hundreds of surveys out there, but your focus might be more specific. If you have an idea for a survey on drug development or marketing, it might be worth trying to find a sponsor for it. (If you don’t know what to write about in a survey—this is your chance to find out!)
9. Write a press release or an article.
If you know some interesting facts about a specific topic which is relevant to the FDA, why not write an article or press release about it? For example, if the FDA is looking for extra staff for a certain field, and you are thinking of joining the agency—this is your chance to tell them. Depending on who you are, the FDA might want some information from you and will reach out to you—so if you have any journalistic ideas, why not check whether they would be interested?
10. Create some content for patient education leaflets and other non-commercial products related to drugs and devices.
The FDA is involved in the development of non-commercial materials, such as leaflets handed out to patients or consumers. These materials do not have to be based on existing FDA guidelines and can be more creative!
The FDA is a big organization, with many different projects and tasks which you can try out. At first, these projects might seem like hard and daunting tasks which are above your skills or knowledge level. But there is great potential to succeed in all of them! And if you succeed in one project (for example, by writing an entry on Wikipedia), do not be afraid to try other things! The FDA does not have the best reputation (it’s getting better), so try to make a useful contribution.