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The Bio-Science Officer Merged Thread

dvaronam

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Hi Guys,

I don't mean to be jesus here in resurrecting the thread, but I do have a few questions that I hope you guys can answer.
First of all, that's really awesome that you're in the promo video. Which one are you?

So onto the questions:
1) I am somewhat confused as to why this job places so much emphasis on biology when they expect you to meet the typical prerequisites for Human Factors graduate programs, which typically require a major in Psychology/Engineering/(Computer Science for HCI).

2) I will be completing my undergrad in Psychology in December, and I would like to know what are the chances of getting in, considering that I don't have a masters yet? Is this common?

3) If it's not too much to ask, could someone take a quick look at my resume website that I just built and tell me if I have the kind of experience required for this job? I will buy you a beer! (or a case). site: dvaronam.wix.com/danniel

4) I will be starting my honours thesis in May and I would like to explore a topic that is similar to what I would be doing in this job. I have a whole department at my disposal with all the research labs. I was thinking something along the lines of camouflage since I find that really interesting and I know you guys do a lot of PPE work. However, I need some more direction as to what would be a research question you guys, as experienced bioscience officers, would find interesting and want to hire me :)

I really appreciate the time you guys take the help out the newcomers. Keep it up.

-Danniel
 

MedCorps

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Not a Bioscience Officer, but work with them.  Bioscience Officers feel free to jump in. 

1) Human factors is only a group of the overall positions, which require a post-grad for training. I would guess less than 25% of the overall positions.  You need to understand biology or biochem to understand the physiology (for things like blast injury and injury analysis from PPE failure), the impact of chemicals / biologicals / radiation / lasers / noise / vibration on humans (and understanding things like LD50, LC50, threshold values, does-response relationships) and understanding the effects of pressure & G-force on humans.  It would be hard for someone with a psychology background to do some of these entry level jobs.

2) I have not met a Bioscience Officer with only an undergrad degree in psychology.  I have not met a Bioscience Officer with only a graduate degree in psychology. 

3) Talk to CFRC.

4) Look at: http://www.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/drdc/en/publications/strat/annexb/

I would start your focus on: 1.1 to 1.4, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1 to 8.4, 9.5, 10.1 to 10.3 as I suspect there has been some Bioscience Officer involvement in research within these fields. I base this on conversations with them, seeing them author reports. Area 8 especially. 

Dirt Digger... thoughts? 

MC
 

dvaronam

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Awesome, thanks for the input.

I've also been reading that most bios are hired from the ranks, so I pretty much have no hope right now. Maybe in the future, once I've been in the reserves for a while.
 

Dirt Digger

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dvaronam said:
1) I am somewhat confused as to why this job places so much emphasis on biology when they expect you to meet the typical prerequisites for Human Factors graduate programs, which typically require a major in Psychology/Engineering/(Computer Science for HCI).
MedCorps covered it - it comes down to biology being a building block - most of the trade positions use human physiology in some form or another.  For example, within IH you have the toxicology of exposures (ie. heavy metals), concentrations of airborne contaminants (mg/m3 or ppm), physiological reasons why a 10 micron particle is a risk over a 20 micron particle, etc.  The trade is rather unique in having the requirement for biology.
2) I will be completing my undergrad in Psychology in December, and I would like to know what are the chances of getting in, considering that I don't have a masters yet? Is this common?
Not something I can really comment on.  You would have to speak with a recruiter.  I can say that people have gotten into the trade with just an undergrad - I did - it all comes down to the skills, knowledge base and experience that you apply with.
3) If it's not too much to ask, could someone take a quick look at my resume website that I just built and tell me if I have the kind of experience required for this job? I will buy you a beer! (or a case). site: dvaronam.wix.com/danniel
I checked it out.  Remember that education is only one component of an application.  A Bioscience Officer is first and foremost - an Officer - therefore you should look at including achievements that reflect "Officer-Like Qualities" (aka OLQs).  Also, consider the CF Principles of Leadership.
4) I will be starting my honours thesis in May and I would like to explore a topic that is similar to what I would be doing in this job. I have a whole department at my disposal with all the research labs. I was thinking something along the lines of camouflage since I find that really interesting and I know you guys do a lot of PPE work. However, I need some more direction as to what would be a research question you guys, as experienced bioscience officers, would find interesting and want to hire me :)
MedCorps answered this much better than I ever could.

Sorry about the late response - just got back from vacation!
 
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First I would like to say fantastic thread, and thank you to all those who have to answered so many questions. As someone interested in this position I have found this thread more enlightening than talking with recruiters. Like past posts, I have a few quick questions that I hope a BioSci officer or someone with the knowledge can help me with. I currently have a PhD in Biological Sciences and while my focus is in cellular and molecular neuroscience, I have extensive experience in pathology, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology as applied to new diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. Having been in contact within defense scientists at Suffield I realize that there are ongoing research initiatives in these areas within the defense department. While a fantastic opportunity, I have always admired and respected the traditions and culture of the Canadian Forces and believed I would one day make my way into a uniform. My first major concern however, is that the CF does not require/will not make use of my education and I would help more as a Post-Doc with the department of defense. This route however is not my first choice as I want to move past the lab coat and use my knowledge in practical applications (ie. my initial interest was in response units like DHHAT and CJIRU). As such, I would be grateful if anyone can answer a few questions to help me clear up a few things. 

1) While I understand that BioSci officers are NOT defense scientists, are there still positions within the CF that require/will make use of the same knowledge base (ie. PhD in cellular and molecular aspects of biology/physiology)?

2) Is any research conducted by the CF in conjunction with civilian scientists in regards to scientific initiatives like those at Suffield (ie. DARPA within the United States?). This question is particularly interesting to me as the BioSci officer is the only position I can find that fits the credentials of a "military scientist". (I have talked frequently with individuals from the US army attending international Neuroscience conferences that refer to themselves by this title)

3) Are there any other CBRN/Medical/Bioscience-related response units within the CF beyond DHHAT and CJIRU?

4) Assuming I qualify and get accepted as a BioSci Officer what freedoms (if any) do you have to choose the area/field of specialization? 

Thank again for any help you can provide. I have been exploring these questions and talked within numerous recruiters within the CF for months now, but have yet to get any concrete answers.


 

Dirt Digger

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Scientific_Cowboy said:
As someone interested in this position I have found this thread more enlightening than talking with recruiters.

Nature of the beast - considering how small the trade is, it isn't really surprising that the recruiting centers don't know much about it.  I'd hazard that many of them never even see applicants.  From personal experience, I was told that the trade didn't exist when I first applied.  They ever had a chart and physically showed me (like I was a five year old) that they had "MOC 55 - That's a doctor" and "MOC 57 - That's a nurse", but no MOC 56.  Needless to say, I was not impressed.  I will say that since then, things have gotten better; I've ever had two recruiters contact me via email because I'm in the Bioscience video.

My first major concern however, is that the CF does not require/will not make use of my education and I would help more as a Post-Doc with the department of defense.

That is true to a certain extent, but all education has value.  While your background could be seen as getting "into the weeds", you also have the general experience with research, writing, thesis defense, etc. that goes along with getting an advanced degree.  However, people in your shoes often feel that "I'm educated enough" and push back when it comes to additional training.  For example, you need a specific background in Industrial Hygiene to work within DHHAT.  Are you willing to take two years to go to Bethesda and complete a Masters?

On top of that, imagine a different scenario:  You have an Lt with a PhD having to take orders from a Capt with a MHSc or a BSc.  Some people have a very difficult time with rank vs. education. 

1) While I understand that BioSci officers are NOT defense scientists, are there still positions within the CF that require/will make use of the same knowledge base (ie. PhD in cellular and molecular aspects of biology/physiology)?

Not that I'm aware of.  There might be some limited opportunities if you were in the right place at the right time.  For example, being involved with a Human Factors project that had a specific requirement for that knowledge.  Yet that project would only involve maybe a year or two out of your whole career.  Maybe also some capacity within aerospace phys, but that could be overkill.  A big "what if" that I can't really answer for you.

2) Is any research conducted by the CF in conjunction with civilian scientists in regards to scientific initiatives like those at Suffield (ie. DARPA within the United States?). This question is particularly interesting to me as the BioSci officer is the only position I can find that fits the credentials of a "military scientist". (I have talked frequently with individuals from the US army attending international Neuroscience conferences that refer to themselves by this title)

If you're posted to one of the DRDC establishments, there's a chance you'd be working alongside civilian scientists.  In what role or capacity I can't really comment one, as it's the one component of the trade I have limited experience with.

The concept of the "military scientist" is a little prickly.  I personally dislike the term, however there are others in the trade that probably feel otherwise.  As I see it, I'm an Officer that uses science in my day to day functions to get the job done.  In some cases, I may be called upon to perform an experiment to determine if one piece of air sampling equipment is superior to another.  Or I may be called upon to perform a risk assessment of a environment such as a submarine.  I'll write a report of my findings, maybe do a poster presentation at a conference, but I'm not looking to get published in a peer reviewed journal. 

3) Are there any other CBRN/Medical/Bioscience-related response units within the CF beyond DHHAT and CJIRU?

Response units?  I'd say DART, but there are no Bios attached to DART.  DHHAT could conceivably deploy alongside (not part of) a DART and I know that for Haiti, that sort-of happened (different role - DHHAT is Force Health Protection).  Beyond that, a lot of the smaller-scale / local base response is handled by your friendly neighbourhood Preventive Medicine Technician.

4) Assuming I qualify and get accepted as a BioSci Officer what freedoms (if any) do you have to choose the area/field of specialization? 

Hard to say with your initial post.  I was told I was going to Toronto (Human Factors) and saw Winnipeg (Aerospace Phys) on my posting message.  Apparently the trade is adopting a preceptorship program that will introduce a common training package for new Bios, however I'm out of the loop on its current status. 

Once you get some training under your belt, it tends to become very clear if your geared towards Human Factors or industrial Hygiene.  Plus, it helps to state your intentions to the Career Manager.  The Post Grads are merit based and it's your choice which one, or any, you want to apply for.  Once you have that qual, that pretty much guides your future for the next ten or so years.  That is, since I have the IH background, it would be very doubtful the trade would post me into a HF billet (and that's the way I like it).

Just remember that the CF does not lend well to doing the exact same job for the rest of your life.  You'll do four years of something, then four years of something else.  To me, that's heaven - I never get bored!  But with Bio being such a small trade, there aren't -a lot of room for promotions.  Most top out at the rank of Maj, with a few going to LCol.  Don't expect to make Surgeon General, heck - don't expect to make Col - we don't have any.

So I can't say the trade's right for you, only that it was right for me.  Hopefully my experiences have given you a better understanding of the trade, but feel free to PM me or post here if you have other questions.
 

MissMercury

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I apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but I'm curious if anyone has information on the current occupational training requirements for Bioscience Officer? I'm not concerned with meeting the entry standards, but moreso looking for specifics on where the training is run, how long is it and when does it entail? If the training at CFSSAT in Winnipeg? The forces.ca site is very vague and the email at the bottom of the page doesn't respond to inquiries.
 
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