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What makes for an academic career?


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Plenary presentation at the Lancaster University Researcher Day on 26/09/2013 (

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What makes for an academic career?

  1. 1. What makes for an academic career? Dr Emma Gillaspy, Vitae NW Hub Manager @vitaenwhub
  2. 2. What I‟m going to cover... What an academic career looks like National employment picture for researchers Equipping yourself for an academic career Recognised and valued skills in academics Challenges and solutions in academic careers Thank you to all the sources of data presented in this session (see individual acknowledgements)
  3. 3. What is an academic career?
  4. 4. Reader Pathways - Manchester Research Fellow Senior Research Fellow Research focused Lecturer Senior Lecturer Professor Teaching and Research Teaching focused Reader Professor Lecturer Senior Lecturer Professor Reader
  5. 5. National picture (PhD +3.5y) 92% high level of career satisfaction Doctoral researchers more „recession proof‟ Portfolio working 14% Short FT contracts more common, particularly in HE research
  6. 6. Occupational clusters 17% 12% 22% 7% 23% 19% Research (HE) Research (non-HE) Teaching (HE) Teaching (non-HE) Other common doctoral Other
  7. 7. Clusters by discipline
  8. 8. Impact of doctoral degree
  9. 9. Getting on the ladder “What do you see as the top 3 key attributes of good lectureship candidates in your discipline?” 1. Research – 77% (publishing, research profile, impact on field or articulation of plans or ability to secure funding) 2. Teaching - 53% (evidence of ability to teach well rather than concrete experience) 3. Personal Attributes (Team/Collaborative & Communication – 31% & 26%) AGCAS survey on getting that 1st lectureship
  10. 10. Summary of findings Publications dominate Funding experience varied Collaboration with senior colleagues key (STEMM) Interdisciplinarity & collaboration expected in role Extensive teaching experience not required Looking for collaborative & excellent communicators Aim for a lectureship by 5+ years Career breaks widely seen as challenging AGCAS survey on getting that 1st lectureship
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Have you got what it takes? Academic achievement What have been your recent achievements? How strong is your publication record/qualifications? Skills & knowledge How appropriate are your research skills & subject knowledge to the field which interests you? Are you developing your ability to compete for funding? Motivation Are you prepared for the demands on your home life? Are you prepared to continue with the uncertainty and pressure? The competition Do you know who your competitors are? What gives you the competitive edge? Strategic focus Where do you see your research going? What are your plans for your next post?
  13. 13. Most important behaviours of research leaders
  14. 14. Going for promotion Research Teaching and Learning Knowledge transfer Service and Leadership • What is your University‟s promotion criteria/ process?
  15. 15. Example h-index
  16. 16. Flickr ID: Krikit ♥ Challenges
  17. 17. Gender equality 45% Lecturers 35% Senior Lecturer/Reader 20% Professors 56% PSS 51% Senior PSS Similar picture at other HEIs Less so for A&H
  18. 18. Ethnic origin White Chinese Indian Pakistani Black African Black Caribbean Bangladeshi Other (inc mixed) Other (Asian) Other (Black) Unknown 15990 330 300 60 55 20 20 340 185 5 1200
  19. 19. Aspirations vs. expectations CROS asked about long-term career aspirations and expectations: 78% aspire to work in HE long term (more than half in combined research/teaching) 62% expect to achieve this <½ will secure a long term academic role What is the impact of unrealistic expectations on career management and sector vitality?
  20. 20. Solutions Flickr ID: tonrulkens
  21. 21. What‟s your motivation? What do you want from life? (career anchors) What makes you: Happy? Satisfied? Motivated? What gets in the way? What else do you need? Vitae career-wise researcher booklet Take some time to understand your motivation
  22. 22. Know your strengths
  23. 23. Learn how to act confident
  24. 24. Are you a... Marketing Michael Wallflower Wendy Little Miss Helpful
  25. 25. You are not an island
  26. 26. Take the leap... Begin early Engage your manager & head of school Be visible & proactive Know yourself Find mentor(s)