How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews by postgraduate researchers conducted with academics

Careers in and outside science. Source: The Royal Society, 2010.

Careers in and outside science.
Source: The Royal Society, 2010.

The progression to the higher rungs of the academic ladder happens to as few as 0.45% of those who enter UK academia as PhD graduates in the sciences.  Looking at this another way, to those who go on to do a postdoc in the UK in the sciences (about 30% of PhD grads), only about 10-15% of those will make the cut to each subsequent level, from early-career researchers (ECRs) to lecturers to professors. While this paints a very grim situation for ECRs intent on following an academic path, it doesn’t reveal the number of early-career researchers for whom leaving the sector is an active choice, armed with the skills and experience they’ve honed during their time in the academy, ready to transfer those skills to other sectors.

KCL Headshots May 2014 at the Strand, Waterloo campuses, London on the 02/05/2014. Photo: David Tett

Photo: David Tett

For those intending to pursue an academic future, there still remains a large mismatch between the number of postgraduate and early-career researchers who aspire to have an academic job and the availability of employment opportunities in academia: not everyone who aspires to become an academic will succeed. To better understand this disparity, Dr Anna Mountford-Zimdars investigates two broad questions against this background.  Firstly, what are the skills, character traits and experiences that academic selection panels at an English research-led university are looking for in hiring entry-level academics? And secondly, what is it like to be an academic?

Dr Mountford-Zimdars will be joining us as part of our next Academic Progressions webinar on Thursday 07 April, 2016 at 2pm.  Her presentation, How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews by postgraduate researchers conducted with academics, is based on research conducted by 12 postgraduate researchers who interviewed 24 academics. The discussion time for this session will also provide an opportunity to discuss the support available for graduate students and post-docs in developing their teaching profile that is often part of the application for academic jobs.

Dr Anna Mountford-Zimdars is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Head of Research at King’s College London, UK. Anna supports the development of teaching abilities among postgraduates at King’s College.  Her research work on higher education and, in particular, university admissions has been published in many peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and commissioned research reports. Her research has been cited in Parliament as well as receiving coverage in the media including the Sunday Times, BBC Radio 4, and The Guardian.

From April, our Academic Progressions series will be hosted solely on a webinar format using Blackboard Collaborate.  To join the Academic Progressions webinar, please go to the CAPD bookings page, login and search for the course code: RSAP.  Select the webinar taking place on 07 April 2016 (AcJob).Academic-Progressions If you haven’t registered an account with the CAPD, you can do so here. Once booked on, you will receive an email with joining instructions, as well as reminders, leading up to the webinar.

For additional information please contact the researcher development team at resdev@qmul.ac.uk.

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About ruipiresmartins

I'm a researcher developer for postdocs and research staff at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to that, I was an EMBO Fellow at the Gurdon Institute (University of Cambridge), studying Embryonic development and a PDRA in the Institute of Bioengineering (QMUL) studying nuclear and chromatin architecture in embryonic stem cells.
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2 Responses to How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews by postgraduate researchers conducted with academics

  1. Pingback: How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews postgraduate researchers conducted with academics – DCBlog

  2. Pingback: Rethinking Postdoctoral Careers | waxingDevelopmental

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