PCI Fellows Program

Paid internship for Penn Master’s, PhD and Post-Doctoral students focused on technology transfer

The PCI Fellows is an experiential education program that was launched in the Fall of 2008.

It is open to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and in exceptional cases, junior research staff at Penn.  PCI Fellows get exposure to a wide range of emerging technologies and commercialization opportunities in the life sciences, physical sciences, nanotechnology, and more.

The program runs on an annual cycle. A new cohort starts each Spring and Fellows can participate in consecutive cohorts.

We accept applications at any time. The application deadline for 2022 is December 17, 2021

For information beyond what is on this page, see Overview of the PCI Fellows and the FAQ

Program Components

  1. Instructional component: PCI Fellows participate in an intensive training workshop – typically three half days – followed by individualized mentoring that provides the necessary elements to support the commercialization of Penn technologies.
  2. Experiential component: following the instructional piece, PCI Fellows take part in a paid internship program focusing on assessing technical, commercial, and IP aspects of Penn technologies, thereby directly supporting the development of commercialization strategies for Penn technologies. PCI Fellows commit up to 10 hours a week and complete most assignments remotely.

Fellow Projects

  1. Invention Assessment: is a report focusing on technical, commercial, and IP aspects of invention disclosures submitted by Penn researchers
  2. Marketing Assessment: is a non-confidential summary of a Penn invention, published on PCI’s website and used by PCI licensing officers in outreach to potential partners

Required Commitment

PCI Fellows are expected to:

  • Participate in the instructional component
  • Commit to work as a Fellow for one year, with the option to extend
  • Work up to 10 hours per week on assigned projects
  • Attend monthly training meetings (typically 4 to 5pm Eastern on the third Monday of the month)
  • Complete projects on strict deadlines

Apply Here


Remember to submit all documents in the order described below. If you have questions, email tomas@upenn.edu

Who can become a PCI Fellow:

We are seeking highly-talented, scientifically-trained Penn persons to assist in managing Penn’s invention portfolio.

Graduate and Post-Doctoral students, and research staff from all Penn schools are encouraged to apply. Support from their supervisor is required for those working under one. Persons not actively affiliated with Penn do not qualify. Applicants must be eligible to work at Penn.

Selection is based on:

  • Penn affiliation
  • Scientific and/or technical background
  • Outstanding written communication skills
  • Academic performance
  • Interest in technology transfer

Program Lead:

The PCI Fellows program is directed by Dr. Tomás Isakowitz, who has extensive business and academic experience. Dr. Isakowitz also runs Penn I-Corps, an NSF-funded program to hep start companies out of Penn research. Participants interact with professionals across multiple areas within PCI.

Application Process

Required Application Documents

The applications process requires five documents. Because the application form can only be submitted once, you need to combine these five documents into one PDF file BEFORE proceeding to the online application. The PDF file should be named as follows:

<Last Name>_<First Name>_PCI_Fellow_Application.pdf

Example: Smith_Jonathan_PCI_Fellow_Application.pdf

Within the PDF, each documents should start on a new page in the following order:

1. Cover Sheet

Edit the cover sheet format available here; add your name and date where shown.

2. Resume

Please provide a recent one-page resume (not a scientific CV, but a one page resume)

3. Technology Evaluation Write-up

Written communication skills are crucial for the kind of work you will be performing. You will be required to explain complex technologies in succinct ways using language that is not too technical. Think of it as writing an article for the New York Times’ science section. To appraise your ability to communicate in writing, you need to select a publication below and prepare a technology assessment using this Word template

Publications for Technology Evaluation:

Life sciences candidate should only pick options (2) or (3)

  1.  Micro Architected Porous Material with High Strength And Controllable Stiffness, Pikul et. Al, MEMS 2016, Shanghai, CHINA, 24-28 January 2016; https://drive.google.com/open?id=18nxcvMCYyQXwwCTGm7JD5d6W1SZxjk2m
  2. PECAM-1 directed re-targeting of exogenous mRNA providing two orders of magnitude enhancement of vascular delivery and expression in lungs independent of apolipoprotein E-mediated uptake. Parhiz H, Shuvaev VV, Pardi N, Khoshnejad M, Kiseleva RY, Brenner JS, Uhler T, Tuyishime S, Mui BL, Tam YK, Madden TD, Hope MJ, Weissman D, Muzykantov VR. J Control Release. 2018 Dec 10;291:106-115: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30336167 
  3. Calibrated Prediction with Covariate Shift via Unsupervised Domain Adaptation. Sangdon Park, Obsert Bastani, James Weimer, and Insup Lee; Proceedings of the 23rdInternational Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS) 2020, Palermo, Italy. PMLR: Volume 108.  https://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.00343.pdf

4. Statement of Interest

In 350 words or less prepare four separate paragraphs, each with a section title elaborating on

  1. Why you are interested in the Fellows Program,
  2. Why the Fellows Program should be interested in you
  3. What expertise you can contribute to PCI that qualifies you for #2
  4. Finally, write about your envisioned long term professional goals.

5. Consent Forms

Depending on the program you are currently on you may need zero, one, or two consent forms. These have to be signed and included with your application. 

Post-doctoral fellows:

Doctoral Students

Staff:  Letter of consent from business administrator

Other Students:  No consent forms are necessary


Why do we ask for a consent form from your advisor?

PCI wants to ensure that your advisor supports your participation in the PCI Fellows program, and that your advisor does not perceive this as a conflict with your primary responsibility. We ask for this consent at the time of your application because we want to ensure that if you are accepted you will be able to participate.  Moreover, a discussion with your advisor at an early stage will help you get a better understanding of how to better integrate the fellowship with your primary responsibility at Penn.


Why do we ask for a consent form from your business administrator?

We want to make sure that if you are accepted into the program, you can get paid. There might be administrative restrictions on your ability to engage in additional work at Penn. It is better to clarify this early, and not find yourself in a position where you have worked and cannot get paid.

Apply now for the Spring 2022 I-Corps cohort!  The final deadline is March 1.

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