Archives for posts with tag: beyond the academy

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Mentoring & Coaching Manager, University of Sheffield

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35,000-£55,000 across the UK

I did science A-levels, a science degree and a PhD in molecular biology because it seemed at the time that’s what clever people did. When I (finally) finished my PhD I knew it was time to move on to a job where I would feel less idiotic all the time. I thought I’d better make a more informed decision about what to do next and so I trotted down to a careers service appointment. it turned out that a PhD with precisely ZERO extra curricular activities wasn’t massively attractive to employers, even when supplemented with my time pushing Sarah Lee gateaux in Iceland.

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As you do in these situations, I did a post-doc. I started the post-doc thinking that I was just buying myself some time to think, but soon found my feet in a new group and for the first time in forever became a respected colleague and team member. In parallel to building back my self esteem, I started building myself a broader base of experience by getting involved in committees, organising events, learning to collaborate, and attending professional development training. Along with another post-doc in the dept, I set up a post-doc society, and started to be an active member of my research community. I was also by then running a non-profit in Sheffield*, and was on the board of a local charity**.

Post-doc things I liked: the team, the community, the flexibility, the salary, my PI, freedom to invent new things, being an expert, still being at university, meeting and engaging people, activism, sorting stuff out, getting stuff done, and pouring agar.

Post-doc things I disliked: science, soil, sand in my hair, microscopy, repetitive tasks, nutrient solution, microscopy, long-time-to-create-any-change processes, working on Christmas day, RT-PCR, mini-preps, and microscopy.

I dithered for about 6-months wondering whether to say yes to the co-authored grant I was being invited to write with my PI, and eventually decided I’d only be doing it so I didn’t let my PI down. So I had to let her down and say I was looking outside research for my next job. The response surprised me. I’d thought it was going to be along the lines of, ‘you’ve let me down, you’ve let yourself down’… But no, she says: “Oh, I know someone you can talk to, another ex post-doc of mine, Anita, she’ll be really helpful to you, do you need anything from me?” MIND. BLOWN. Soon after, a maternity-cover post came up for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Researcher Training & Development Advisor. I went for it. I needed to translate the experience of every scrap of my extra curricular work in and out of uni, AND the application/interview technique Anita drilled into me, AND to come up with a diplomatic way of explaining why my PhD took 5 years… but I got the job.

Then I learned how to do the job. It was an exciting (read: white knuckle) ride, made possible by (1) an excellent set of maternity cover notes which kept me afloat and meant I didn’t forget when to do what, or what a committee minutes looked like, or how to book rooms and coffee, (2) my long-suffering colleague Andrew ‘Wiggles’ Wigg, and (3) managers who really embodied a developmental attitude and trusted me to get on with things, take the lead, and speak up if I needed something. After the maternity-cover year, the Faculty won money for an additional post, so I was able to stay in the role, but take on certain specialisms. I picked the then fledgeling Coaching and Mentoring projects as my foci (did I tell you I used to do microscopy), and also started a part-time Masters Degree in Education with a Coaching and Mentoring specialism (I highly recommend this course, which I finished in 2014).

Having a particular specialism meant that when all our researcher development activity was restructured in 2012, a post was created that I fit right into — Mentoring & Coaching Manager for Researchers — part of the Researcher Professional Development (Think Ahead) Team — and I’ve been here 5 years. So what have I been doing?!

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In short,

  • researching what’s going on for researchers.
  • designing coaching & mentoring programmes that respond to what’s going on.
  • teaching people how to be mentors & coaches on those programmes.
  • using the data from coaching & mentoring programmes to drive bigger change at the university and wider across the sector.

Because I have specialised expertise I also offer consultancy for others at TUOS and externally on mentoring programme design, and on mentor development. And I belong to groups of other people who teach coaching, groups who research researchers, and groups who influence policy on research careers. I belong to other communities too, I review for a couple of journals, I go to conferences, I maintain a Google+ community, I find out most of what I need to know abut the sector from Twitter.

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I spend a huge amount of my time at work persuading people to do things for free. All the mentors are volunteers, and there’s more than 200 of our TUOS staff and more than 100 alumni in that group. I train them, supervise them, make sure they follow ethical practice guidelines, and offer them ways to keep learning about mentoring practice.

Bonuses: I get to hang around in HE, I am an expert, I feel I’m making a difference, I get to invent things, tremendous variety, I only take work home if I choose to (I hardly ever choose to any more #takebreaksmakebreakthroughs) and I work with a very diverse set of partners and colleagues (‘professional services’ isn’t as culturally diverse as academic depts are) though ‘Researchers Developers’ as a UK sector tend to be female, tend to be mid-30s (I’m late mid 30s!), tend to have a science PhD, and tend to be paid about the same as a lecturer.

To say I ‘left academia’ I do a lot of research (Trust Me!, Fellowship Ahoy, Value of the Doctorate), writing (blogs, papers, reports, funding applicaitons), teaching (mentor workshops, supervisor workshops, and HEA portfolio assessing) & admin (managing and advertising events, conferences, evaluation and reporting).

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Who knows what next? To move forward in my career I need to move on to a new place — very similar to research careers. As well as researcher development jobs, my direct experience and skill set could fit into academic posts, teaching roles, learning & development roles, posts in HR, organisational development jobs, academic practice posts… there’s no shortage of option in HE or in the 3rd sector, or even the private sector — it’s once again just a case of taking a leap and seeing what happens.

*Running a non-profit = translated = a friend and I managed a website, recruited members and put on some craft fairs in the Millennium Gallery.

**On the Board of a local Charity = translated = Joined a theatre company, learned my lines, stood in the right place, AND, argued in committee meetings that we should buy only fair trade tea and coffee.

What professional/accrediting bodies, or qualifications are relevant to where you work? Fellow or Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Accreditation via Association for Coaching. Society for Research into Higher Education. European Association for Research into Learning & Instruction. You can sign up to newsletters from all these places if you want to find out more about what they do and why it’s relevant.

Where can researchers look for jobs like yours? University websites, Jobs.ac.uk

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Admissions, Outreach and Engagement Manager, Imperial College London

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £45,000-£60,000

Bioengineering Dept pages | Twitter: @J_DoubleS

pwpimage.html;jsessionid=1vtSYr0CJBMpkWPvHfYbJfJFCb3cCh9fHqk9psy3vxZ8LQSj3Jpd!-2068266046.jpegI have always been passionate about making science and engineering accessible to others, whether that was through research talks or posters during my PhD, or to members of the public, school children, MPs, community groups and patients through my career.

The catalyst for me was a course created by Professor Noel Sharkey at University of Sheffield, where amongst other sessions we had a talk from Fiona Fox, Director and now CEO of the Science Media Centre. After meeting Fiona, I interned at the Science Media Centre during my PhD and it really opened my eyes to a world outside of academia, and the impact of good and bad communication of science. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Digital Publications Officer at Birkbeck, University of London

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £30k-£40k.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAjrAAAAJDEyZWZkOTBlLWQ1NTAtNGQzMC1hYmQ4LWVlMjBjYjk2YTdlYg.jpgMy career has felt too haphazard and bumbling to be described as a path, per se, but looking back, I can see that my choices were instinctively oriented around writing, editing and publishing. After my undergraduate degree (in History), I worked for three years in a bookshop, before securing a sales and marketing job in publishing. I then moved into selling international publishing rights, before returning to study an MA Victorian Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: IT project manager, Birmingham City University.

Approximate salary range for your type of role: In public sector contexts, project managers can expect to earn £32-45k (depending on type of project, seniority level/skills etc.). In private sector, it can be anything from £35-£70 (for very specialised skills and/or complex projects). Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Senior Editor, BioMed Central (part of SpringerNature)

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Editorial roles start ~£22k, increasing with promotions

image.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job titles and companies: 

  1. Product Innovation Scientist, Mars
  2. Senior Product Design Scientist, Mars
  3. Programme Leader, Mars
  4. Development Manager, Britvic
  5. ‘Head of Science & Public Engagement’ at Oxford University’s Botanic Garden

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Ca. 55k on leaving Britvic

new _28100.jpgI completed my PhD in Plant Molecular Biology in 2009 at the University of Bristol. I absolutely loved working in research and I wanted to pursue it as a career. So much so, I devoted my heart and soul to my work and I won both a faculty and a national prize. However this commitment to my PhD was followed by two unsuccessful attempts to secure funding. At that time, I started to question whether this was in fact the career for me. So despite my passion for plants and biology, I started to look at opportunities in Academia and also in Industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Policy and Projects Manager, BioIndustry Association @DrMartinTurner

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35,000-45,000

Martin.jpgWhy do politicians make the decisions they do? Why did the previous Chancellor, George Osborne, freeze science spending between 2010 and 2015, and why has the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised to increase it by 20% over the next four years, albeit with an emphasis on innovation over basic research?

I started my career in policy because I wanted to understand how decisions like these get made, and to potentially influence them myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Patent Attorney, Teva Pharmaceuticals

Detailed salary information for the UK market can be found here.

Moodie.jpgI enjoyed my time at Sheffield University whilst studying for my Biochemistry undergraduate degree and planning and performing experiments as part of my PhD. Towards the end of my PhD project I decided that I wanted to find a career that allowed me not only to keep up with the cutting edge of science, but also to broaden my business horizons. I found such a career as a patent attorney. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Research Services Librarian, University of Sheffield

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £25,000 – 30,000

@OpenAccessShef

Beth.jpgIn a world of fake news, and politicians trying to supress scientific information for their own agendas, I can’t think of any job I could be doing that would be more important than working to promote open access to research, which is what I do as a Research Services Librarian. Our department used to be split into open access librarians and data management librarians, but we’ve recently all taken up the same title to create a cohesive front in scholarly communications. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Volunteering & Participation Director, National Trust

@HelenTimbrell @nationaltrust

Company web page: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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I decided to do a PhD some way into my career which until then had broadly covered learning, development and community volunteering. I did the PhD as a career development opportunity, but mostly because I had a genuine curiosity about the research area. I also wanted to do it as a personal achievement and to cross it off my bucket list. Read the rest of this entry »