About Us

AIMS -- The Postdoc Link to Entrepreneurship and Industry

AIMS (originally e/ims -- entrepreneur/industry mentorship series) was founded by three Stanford postdocs in July 2010 to address the growing needs of postdoctoral fellows (2000+ postdocs at Stanford in 2012) for alternative careers outside of academia. Inspired by Stanford's trademark entrepreneurial mindset, Irfan Ali-Khan, Navaline Quach and Stephane Boutet teamed up to launch AIMS (Association of Industry-Minded Stanford professionals), the first postdoc-entrepreneur assosciation at Stanford. AIMS mission is to encourage talented postdocs to seek leadership positions in alternative careers through entrepreneurial thinking.

Irfan, a former SUPD co-chair working towards a Bio-X spinoff and an active attendee at the d.School and GSB, approached Navaline and Stephane with the idea. Navaline was involved in leadership initiatives with the SUPD and later participated in Stanford Ignite at the GSB. Stephane was founding a crowdfunding social entreprise dedicated to fund projects in the education, cleantech and healthcare industries. Focusing on the mantra to 'be the solution', the lean team immediately organized highly successful monthly seminars. Later joined by additional members, they created the AIMS Executive Leadership Team that organizes seminars, BBLs, and E-Challenges providing educational and networking opportunities. AIMS was soon growing rapidly into the vibrant membership and strong leadership that exists today.

AIMS is a postdoc community of future industry leaders, social innovators, and passionate science entrepreneurs.

AIMS announces partnership with the scientific startup MyScienceWork

AIMS announces a partnership with the scientific startup MyScienceWork to co-develop a networking and visibility platform for the postdocs who are interested in entrepreneurship and the biotech industry.

AIMS’s mission is to provide guidance, information resources and to create a fertile networking environment for entrepreneurially minded postdocs to ease the transition between postdoc and industry.

MyScienceWork is a startup devoted to provide online platforms for scientific organizations and communities called Polaris , and to provide researchers and their institutions with communication tools and services to increase the dissemination and visibility of their expertise and research output.

Launched in May 2015, the Polaris platform for AIMS provides the postdocs community with features to discover a new event every month and participate by connecting with the other attendees or by asking questions to the speaker thanks to discussion boards. Its objective is to bring together the postdocs with a community of similar interests and to facilitate the interaction amongst the members of the association and with speakers from the industry.

"Since the start of AIMS, we ambitioned to open our post-doc community to the world and not to restrict it to Stanford alone. We were young researchers who wanted to exchange with industry professionals, with entrepreneurs and open our fields of opportunities towards new horizons. Today, we reached a time when technology allows us to increase our visibility, our attractability, and to easily reach out to the outside world. Consequently, everything happened naturally with MyScienceWork and the new Polaris platform. When I saw the platform, I saw the future of AIMS. MyScienceWork's Polaris gives AIMS an incredible opportunity to nurture our AIMS community, build an alumni network and reach out to other communities around the world. For instance, it's amazing that postdoctoral fellows can ask questions to the speaker of an AIMS event from the lab next door. Thanks to that, people can be way more involved and we can give more visibility to the postdoctoral fellows of the association."
Stéphane Boutet – Co-founder of AIMS the Stanford Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Postdocs

"It was certain that we needed a dynamic platform to start uniting our community and capitalize on the events we have organized and network we have built over the past 5 years to enhance career opportunities for postdoctoral fellows. It is great to work with a start-up like you to increase engagement and interactions between industry-minded scientists."
Navaline Quach – Co-founder of AIMS the Stanford Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Postdocs

To join the next event, connect with the members or to follow the latest news about AIMS, visit https://aims.mysciencework.com

Press Coverage We've Received

Office for Science & Technology at the Embassy of France in the United States, March 6, 2015

Launched Initiatives to Support Postdoctoral Researchers Looking for Career Opportunities Outside Academia.

AIMS Initiative at Stanford

In 2010, three postdoctoral researchers including two French fellows (Navaline Quach and Stephane Boutet) decided to found AIMS (Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals) in order to address a major issue they were facing: the lack of information on career opportunities in industry [2]. “We learnt that two third postdocs pursue a career outside academia, but we did not know which fields they were moving to, and particularly how they managed to obtain a job in industry or they started their own company”, said Navaline Quach. The three postdocs decided to organize networking events and seminars on Stanford campus, including guest speakers panels composed of former postdocs who moved to industry or became entrepreneurs. The goal is to inspire and create a large and diverse community that can provide each postdoctoral researcher with a broad overview of careers they can access, resources to achieve those positions, advice from people who have similar professional backgrounds, and a network of industry professionals.

Industry career panel organized by AIMS on February 23rd, 2015 at Stanford University. Courtesy of Hocine Lourdani.

The large crowd that attended the industry panel event organized on February 23rd 2015 at the Stanford School of Medicine spoke for the real need and interest for career-related issues that numerous young researchers are facing. Major concerns include the lack of integrated training for business skills, information on the level of responsibilities or management positions they can apply for in industry, as well as knowledge of daily tasks associated with specific managerial positions.

Although not directly linked, it is noteworthy the emergence of numerous Stanford programs since 2011 that aim to promote the formation of multidisciplinary teams and to support the creation of startups (StartX, StartXMed, Stanford Ignite, Stanford BioDesign, etc.) [3-7]. “It is essential to learn management skills and build teamwork experiences through group projects in order to apply for management positions when entering the job market,” said Navaline Quach, who explained the benefits of attending Stanford Ignite, a educational program that inspired her to gain additional business training and an MBA at INSEAD Business School, in order to be better equipped in the job market.


[2] http://aims.stanford.edu/about_us.html

[3] http://startx.stanford.edu/

[4] http://startx.stanford.edu/med

[5] https://biox.stanford.edu/

[6] http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/stanford-ignite

[7] http://biodesign.stanford.edu/bdn/index.jsp

Original article by Hocine Lourdani, San Francisco, hocine.lourdani@ambascience-usa.org.

Access the original article here (in French).

Stanford University News, April 5 2012

At your service: Stanford's entrepreneurship concierge

"Participating in SEN is extremely important to our group," said Keren Ziv, co-president of the Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals, an organization supporting post-doctoral scholars. "We are slowly changing the current view of post-docs as 'scientists only.'"

Read more here

Stanford Entrepreneurial Network, February 28 2012

Are You An Entrepreneur? E-Week Workshop Focuses on You

AIMS member, Hyejun Ra (co-president), introduced the event and the two speakers, Eaton and John Gillespie-Brown, a CEO Founder of several companies, angel investor and a mentor at Stanford Engineering and Business Schools, who discussed qualities that make entrepreneurs successful and debunked common myths about entrepreneurs.

Read more here

AIMS Co-Founders meet with Stanford President Hennessy (Dec 2011)

Irfan Ali-Khan, Wall Street Journal (at 49:00)


Stanford GSB-PRIE Expereince: Navaline Quach


The POSTDOCket, the National Postdoc Association (NPA) Newsletter, Summer 2011

Entrepreneurial Postdocs Start Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals (AIMS)

While two-thirds of incoming Stanford postdoctoral scholars intend to pursue a career in academia, less than one-third of these scholars actually end up obtaining an academic position. In addition to increased competitiveness of the academic job market, this shift in career path may be explained by increased awareness about exciting careers beyond the classic academic field. The innovative nature of fundamental research, the myriad of applications it can produce, and exposure to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial environment have influenced postdocs to consider alternative career options, one of which includes making a transition from science to business in order to transform research ideas into business ventures.

The Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals (AIMS) was founded in August 2010 by three postdocs – Irfan Ali-Khan, PhD; Stéphane Boutet, PhD; and Navaline Quach, PhD – who recruited additional members to create the AIMS leadership team: Vice President of Mentoring Pushkar Joshi, PhD; Michael Kertesz, PhD; Arno Kourula, PhD; Mambi Madzivire, PhD; Jordan Plews, PhD; Hyejun Ra, PhD; Shiming Xu, PhD; Keren Ziv, PhD; Webmaster Andrew Razgulin, PhD; and Professional Communications Coach Mary Etta Eaton, MS. AIMS is the first postdoc-entrepreneur association at Stanford and has organized ten monthly events to date, providing education, networking, and mentoring opportunities to postdocs who wish to pursue a career in industry, with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship.

In just under a year, AIMS has organized a wide spectrum of events. With nearly 2,000 Stanford postdocs, of whom 50 to 100 attend AIMS events on a regular basis, the group estimates that a non-negligible proportion of Stanford postdocs are interested in entrepreneurship and envision creating their own start-up.

While AIMS seminars are open to the public and attract on average 120 registrants per event, AIMS small workshops are limited to 25 selected applicants and provide mentorship opportunities from successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists (VC). AIMS recent speakers have included Tim Draper, MBA (Founder of the VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson), and Konstantin Guericke, MS (Co-Founder of LinkedIn). Deliberately, almost half of AIMS speakers are former postdocs –including Stephen Fodor, PhD (Founder of Affymetrix), and Christopher and Pamela Contag, PhD (Co-Founders of the bio-imaging company Xenogen) – providing key insights into the advantages and challenges faced by scientists who transition from academia to business.

In June, AIMS successfully organized a pilot entrepreneur-challenge, in which three Stanford postdocs presented their science-based business ideas to a panel of investors. In order to further bridge the chasm between science and business, AIMS will be hosting Peter Reiss, PhD, Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and co-Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES), who will present GSB programs that promote innovation and entrepreneurship for which postdocs can apply.

The success of AIMS relies on partnership with the School of Medicine Career Center as well as sponsorship from the Stanford Career Development Center, the Office of Technology Licensing, the BioX Program, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) and local VC firms. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, directed by Rania Sanford, EdD, has been particularly supportive of the AIMS initiative by communicating AIMS’ efforts to the Dean of Stanford School of Medicine, Philip Pizzo, MD, and by informing Stanford postdocs about AIMS events. In April 2010, Dean Pizzo indicated the importance of informing postdocs about non-academic careers. He also applauded the AIMS initiative in the March 2011 Dean’s Newsletter, voicing support for this postdoc-initiated program.

Irfan Ali-Khan, PhD; Stéphane Boutet, PhD; and Navaline Quach, PhD; are Postdoctoral Researchers at Stanford School of Medicine and Co-Founders of AIMS.

Access the full text article here, pp3-4.

SoM Dean's Newsletter, March 21 2011

From Postdoc to Innovator

Dr. Rania Sanford, Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, informed me of an exciting interactive forum sponsored by the postdoctoral leadership of AIMS (Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals) in collaboration with the School of Medicine Career Center (see: http://med.stanford.edu/careercenter/). Dr. Sanford noted that on the evening of Wednesday, March 16th, over 120 postdocs gathered at the Clark Center to hear Chris and Pamela Contag's advice in a talk titled "From Postdoc to Innovators." The Contags, who co-founded Xenogen, gave an informative and lively talk, by invitation from AIMS, a new postdoc group with interest in entrepreneurship and industry (http://aims.stanford.edu).

Many postdocs find themselves at a career juncture and wonder how to recognize and pursue the opportunities that might be available to them across a spectrum of life-long possibilities. AIMS and the Career Center have initiated informative programs by bringing to campus several of our former postdocs, now successful industry leaders and venture capitalists, to share their wisdom and insights with our current trainees. In addition to thanking the Career Center I want to also acknowledge some of the postdocs who have helped to launch AIMS, including Irfan Ali-Khan, Navaline Quach, Stéphane Boutet, Mambdidzeni Madzivire, Andrew Razgulin, Michael Kertesz, Keren Ziv, Tobi Schmidt, Hyejun Ra, and Shi Ming Xu. Look for future programs.