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Getting a university job David S Moss Professor of Biomolecular Structure School of Crystallography Birkbeck College Generic Skills Workshop 23 March 2005
Aims of the talk To understand the different types of university and the different jobs that are suitable for postgraduate students To understand the benefits and limitations of a career in academia To understand how to apply for a university job
Types of university Research-led universities –Mainly pre-1992 universities –Teaching programmes related to research Teaching-led universities –Mainly post-1992 universities –Big emphasis on teaching –Usually some applied research
Advantages of a University job Can follow your chosen subject during your entire career Flexibility in research and to a lesser extent in teaching Greater job security for those who get established Can be a stepping stone to industry
Disadvantages of a university job Rocky start for those wishing to pursue a university career Successful academics have to work extremely hard Several jobs in one –Research, teaching, management Poorly paid
Types of university job The academic ladder –Research assistant (post doc or post grad) –Research Fellow (independent research programme) –Lecturer –Senior Lecturer –Reader –Professor Administrative job –Registry, Finance Office
Research Assistant (RA) These posts are sometimes known by other names e.g. assistant professor (US), research associate, research officer, research fellow etc These posts are mostly funded by a grant from a research council or a charity Usually short term 2-5 years In science subjects, a PhD is often required The RA works to fulfil the objects of the project
RA posts and academic careers For an RA post you do not need your own project and associated research funding The RA is dependent on others for continuing employment In universities (unlike research institutes) it is not easy to make a career as an RA A few people do do it and it may be easier in the future
After RA position(s) – decision time Do you want to move stay in academia or move into research institute, industry, administration, teaching in post-92 university or School or FE
Research Fellow Usually the RF has to propose his/her own research programme in an application to a funding body Usually 4-5 years, funded by a research council, charity or Royal Society Very competitive and often require some RA experience Good lead in to a lectureship position – little or no teaching Some RF positions carry an expectation of a lectureship at the end
Lecturer Sometimes possible straight from a PhD Publications important; previous teaching experience helpful Tough start – research, teaching, administration, teacher training course for HEA membership
Positioning yourself for university job In a research led university, research counts most Publications and publication plans are very important Teaching experience may help Presentation skills are important
Before the interview use the Web Find out about the university department that you would like to join –What are the research groups? –What courses do they teach? Find out about the staff members, especially any potential supervisor of post doc research
Preparing for the interview What are your research plans? Where would you apply for your first research grant and why? What major developments do you expect in your subject over the next 5/10 years? What new module/course would you like to introduce?
At the interview Have your own questions to ask –What is the average teaching load in the department? –How much teaching would I do in my 1 st /2 nd year and in which modules? –What admin in these years? –What is the departmentss strategy regard to promoting career development? –How is that strategy implemented? –What salary will I get?
After the interview If successful, you might want to negotiate on the salary offered If unsuccessful, then email the HR department for feedback – might be helpful for other applications
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