Planning an Academic Career (15.2.2012)


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  • A major aim of today is to examine how you can progress to the top of the ladder, and to think about how long this may take. Rungs = the different positons, from prob, to prof. The sides of ladder are some of the roles that have to be performed to progress up the ladder One very important factor that affects how you progress up the ladder is the role of the ‘Research Assessment Exercise’ And how this affects your employability;
  • Lectureships – universities and colleges Post-Doc teaching fellowship – funding for research but also includes substantial portion of teaching responsibility Temp or part-time lectureship – would suit you if you are not sure you want to go into academia and want to try out a teaching career. Usually cover sabbaticals, but obviously very little job stability or long term prospects Research fellowships – fixed term funding either for an existing project which you join, or to fund you to develop your own research further – usually a university department or university research centre Research Assistant – for non-university research centres Research Officer - can include more administration or presentation to an outside audience, often more integrated into other research organisations; a term used a lot in engineering or health than in humanities and social science
  • CALUM Two other skills that are imperative for a successful career are networking and managerial skills. Although networking has sycophantic connotations, it will ultimately prove useful. If you talk to others you will be able to get a lot of information you might not otherwise have, eg when that prime job is to be adverstised, what is the best time to submit that grant/paper eg everyone tries to get their paper accepted by the end of the year so there is more competition in December, what your competitors are doing. If you leave a good impression, people will remember you when it comes to thinking of potential seminar speakers (more exposure), lab to which they send their good PhD students as postdocs (good staff), potential collaborator (more papers). Suggest – start networking at UCL – fill in details on page will pass around so can network & support each other from today To have a successful lab you need to be a successful manager, getting the best out of your staff so that they generate good papers for you and spread the word that yours is a good lab to work in. You’ll be managing a variety of people at several different levels, which will detract from you doing your own benchwork. BUT, you are your own best resource at the beginning, so you need to be able to continue researching without ignoring your staff! Coffee
  • Hope you found that exercise useful Near end, just sumarise what we have covered today.
  • Planning an Academic Career (15.2.2012)

    1. 1. Planning an Academic Career Dr. Tracy Bussoli Careers Consultant for Researchers [email_address]
    2. 2. Career Aspirations of PhD s PRES 2011: You are here
    3. 3. We will cover….. <ul><li>The Academic Career Ladder! </li></ul><ul><li>Do you really want an academic career? </li></ul><ul><li>What is involved in an academic career and what skills/strengths/experiences are needed for an academic career? </li></ul><ul><li>First steps: What can I do now to build an academic career? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Lecturer Senior lecturer Probationary lecturer Professorial chair teacher, course organiser, invited speaker, course innovator researcher, fund raiser, supervisor, administrator, manager, committee member PhD Student Reader Postdoctoral Researcher The Academic Career Ladder
    5. 5. Components of an Academic Career <ul><li>Three main areas in which to build experience </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>University Administration/Academic Support </li></ul>
    6. 6. Academic Career Roles <ul><li>Lectureship </li></ul><ul><li>Post-Doc teaching fellowship </li></ul><ul><li>Temporary/part-time lectureship </li></ul><ul><li>Post-Doc research fellowship (developing your research or working on new project) </li></ul><ul><li>Research Assistant </li></ul><ul><li>Research Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Academic-Related – research manager, teaching and learning delivery, quasi academic research roles </li></ul>
    7. 7. Do I really want to be an academic? Thinking about what academia entails can help in your decision
    8. 8. <ul><li>In pairs, discuss briefly what you think the main differences are between being a PhD student and an established academic (e.g. lecturer). </li></ul>
    9. 9. Ask yourself <ul><li>Do I enjoy teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>Will my PhD leave substantial unanswered research questions allowing to me continue my research? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have the tenacity required to secure funding in competitive times? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I like the cyclic repetition of the academic year? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Why you might not want an academic career… <ul><li>Young academic = Cannon fodder </li></ul><ul><li>Mobility – national, international </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Constant search for funding </li></ul><ul><li>Part-time means full-time with less pay </li></ul><ul><li>Short term contracts = collaged career </li></ul><ul><li>Visa/work permit </li></ul><ul><li>And so on…. </li></ul>
    11. 11. What skills/strengths/experiences are required for an academic career?
    12. 12. What experience do I need? <ul><li>Teaching experience (GTA) </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching qualification (PGCAP and CILT) </li></ul><ul><li>Existing or planned publications </li></ul><ul><li>Potential as a developing researcher </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of where you/your expertise are situated within your subject </li></ul><ul><li>Transferable experience e.g. knowledge of academic world </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of conference/journal management </li></ul>
    13. 13. 20% of REF Researcher Development Framework
    14. 14. Underrated Skills <ul><li>Networking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colleagues in your institution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other researchers in your field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal editors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managerial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technicians and Research Assistants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PhD students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Postdocs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Undergraduate students </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Top Four Skills In order of important <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Publication record </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching experience </li></ul><ul><li>Networking and personal contacts </li></ul>
    16. 16. What should I be doing now? <ul><li>Research and Publish – talk to your supervisor about when to publish and where? </li></ul><ul><li>Teach – take up any teaching opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Network - Begin to establish a network of contacts. Look up people in your field, visit their research groups, present and attend conferences </li></ul>
    17. 17. What should I be doing now? <ul><li>Future Fit - Start to think about where your research is going and where it would fit. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding - Start to think about wher you might find future funding for your research. Look at Fellowships with the Research councils to see what is required. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Other things to know <ul><li>Know the academic seasons around the world </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of REF results in UK </li></ul><ul><li>Finance and Economics – job market system </li></ul><ul><li>Person specifications can be vague </li></ul><ul><li>Think laterally about different disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Different Universities in the UK Russell Group, 1994, Post 92 </li></ul><ul><li>Competing with the ‘inside’ candidate </li></ul><ul><li>Think about developing your transferable skills for plan B outside of academia. </li></ul>
    19. 20. Summary <ul><li>Have a clear idea of what an academic job actually entails – it is not like a PhD! </li></ul><ul><li>Start to explore and develop the experiences and skills that are required for an academic career sooner rather than later. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about developing some transferable skills for Plan B should you not be able to secure an academic post in the future. </li></ul>
    20. 21. Resources
    21. 22. Your Supervisor! …………and other academics