This is a guest post from Sara Shinton, Head of Researcher Development, University of Edinburgh — see Sara’s blog here.
An analysis of the portfolios of major research funders over the last 20 years would reveal many shifts, but perhaps the most marked is the trend away from single discipline, narrow topic research towards a collaborative model. Researchers are expected to develop connections in other disciplines and sectors and to work with them on projects on a grander scale, with a broader scope or to address specific societal issues. Read the rest of this entry »
On 6 February 2017 a group of university researchers ventured out into the Peak District but this was no ‘walk in the park’. This was one of the biggest cement research groups visiting the biggest cement plant in the UK.
HOPE Cement Works is situated in the centre of the Peak District National Park (Derbyshire) it is currently part of the Breedon Group and employs 165 people. It produces approximately 1.5 million tonnes of cement per year(approximately 0.05% of the world’s cement production!). Cement manufacture is the world’s third largest contributor of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which promote climate change by gradually warming our planet; these industrial emissions are exceeded only by electricity generation and deforestation. Cement production has such a high carbon dioxide count mainly because cement is the second most consumed commodity in the world after water (which is also mixed with cement to make it set and harden). Due to this large demand for cement, there is a lot of pressure on the industry to reduce its environmental burden. Read the rest of this entry »
In May 2016 I posted about the launch of a research project I am collaborating on with Billy Bryan (@BillyB100) looking into perceptions of value in the PhD.
The study has progressed really well over the last 9 months, we have now completed two phases: our survey for current PhD students got 200+ responses, and we also did 22 in depth interviews with PhD graduates across a range of career types. Read the rest of this entry »
Guest post by Ellen Buckley, Research Technician and PhD Staff Candidate, Department of Neuroscience and member of the Medicine, Dentistry and Health’s Research in Policy Group.
What is the current role of researchers in policy-making and how might or should this change in the future?
What are the routes to how research becomes incorporated into policy?
Why does policy not always reflect research evidence?
What are the range of policy careers available within universities, Government, NGOs and charities?
Read the rest of this entry »
Following this post and this post from @kayguccione about attitudes to leaving academia, this is a guest post from Dr Cally Guerin, University of Adelaide who edits the Doctoral Writing Blog (@docwritingSIG).
When doctoral candidates are nearing the end of their degrees, mentioning their future career paths can be a pretty touchy subject. Just look at these memes:
Brad Pitt in Fight Club Read the rest of this entry »
About every other day I see a piece on Twitter or a blog, or a similar about attitudes to leaving academia. It’s part of my job to consider these attitudes, especially when they may prevent people from freely accessing events, internships and mentoring designed to broaden researcher career horizons. I wrote about it in this post on silence and stigma in leaving the academy, where I make the point that supervisors and PIs have a responsibility to make sure they don’t prevent people engaging. Read the rest of this entry »
Via twitter (@kayguccione) I came across this anonymous article yesterday. It adds to a growing recent batch of articles in various places about the value of a PhD for life outside the academy. It describes very well the stats on the likelihood of working in academia permanently, and makes a clear call to reposition the doctoral degree as preparation for whatever should come next (like your UG or Masters is), rather than an academic gauntlet to be run where only the fittest (most stubborn, and most burned out) survive. I am all for this, in fact it’s part of the work I do, getting researchers to broaden their awareness of careers beyond academia — see v i s t a, and v i s t a mentoring (alternatives are available in other institutions). However, yesterday’s article offers the opinion that people aren’t talking about this issue, describing a “universal silence on non-academic career options.” Read the rest of this entry »
With the sunshine seemingly over and autumnal nights closing in, I’ve been reflecting on development events which took place over the summer and in particular the success of the Think Ahead: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Scheme (Think Ahead: SURE). 33 summer research projects took place over a 6-8 week period in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health and the Faculty of Science, with undergraduate students gaining valuable research experience to set them up for the final year of their studies and, in some cases, to support applications for further study. Read the rest of this entry »
As the build up increases to the Paralympics, Channel 4 have launched a trailer called, ‘We’re the Superhumans’ which is receiving a lot of positive press and has even been described as the “best TV trailer ever”. It is great in so many ways; uplifting, insightful, educational and inspiring, it really shows what people can achieve. But one aspect of it left me feeling very frustrated. Throughout the trailer people are singing, saying or signing the words “yes I can” but at 2 minutes 15 seconds the shot goes to an office with a ‘careers’ sign on the door and a man is his 50s, wearing a grey suit, is talking to a schoolboy who is a wheelchair user and saying, “no you can’t”. It only lasts a couple of seconds and then returns to the previous, positivity but the message is very clear. Careers advisers will tell you what to do, or more likely, what you can’t do, they’ll judge you and will ultimately trample all over your dreams and aspirations. Don’t take my word for it, have a look yourself. But do come back and read the rest of this post! Read the rest of this entry »