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Archive for June, 2014

Employment conditions for academics in US, UK and Germany – similar to being in a drug gang?

By uczjvwa, on 30 June 2014

A blog has been written by Alexandre Afonso on LSE’s ‘The Impact Blog’ that draws on data from the US, Germany and the UK,  looking at how the academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang. Certainly an interesting take on the academic job market!

 You can read the blog here: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/12/11/how-academia-resembles-a-drug-gang/

Sprint Development Programme for female undergraduates and postgraduates

By uczjvwa, on 26 June 2014

sprint logo image





Sprint is a groundbreaking new development programme for undergraduate and postgraduate women:

Building on the success of the prestigious Springboard programme, Sprint has been researched, designed and written specifically to address issues and challenges faced by undergraduate and postgraduate women. Originally pioneered at University of Cambridge, with more recent pilot programmes run at the University of Oxford, the summer programme will be hosted at City University and the winter programme will be hosted at UCL.

The Sprint Programme is a fantastic opportunity for women undergraduates and postgraduates, from all backgrounds, ages and stages in their lives and study, to take hold of their personal development and achieve their ambitions.

Across 4 action packed days, the programme covers a range of key development topics, with the aim help you to:

  • use your personal power and influence
  • identify your values, attitudes and direction
  • manage your time effectively
  • learn how to use assertiveness positively
  • build your image, networking skills and confidence
  • engage with inspiring role models and industry professionals
  • work with a mentor (provided by sponsoring companies) to continue help you achieve your goals


 Co-sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland, Microsoft and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the first ever London Sprint Programme will be held on 29th, 30th and 31st July and 1st September 2014 and is exclusively open to City University, University College London and Kingston University students.


Applicants will need to submit a CV and a 300 word letter detailing why they wish to participate in the course.  View further details on the programme, upload your applications documents and register through your My Careers Service account.

Any questions to Weronika Benning w.benning@ucl.ac.uk or Charlotte Turnbull c.turnbull@ucl.ac.uk

Applicants will be shortlisted according to clear evidence that they have thought about their future career, why they wish to participate in the course, and how it will meet their development needs.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 6th July 2014  and successful candidates will be informed within a week of the closing date.


Please note that if you are successful in being shortlisted to attend, as places are limited a £50 deposit is required which will be returned to you on completion of the programme.  If the workshop becomes fully booked before you pay the deposit, we will email you to let you know and keep you on a reserve list so that we can contact you if there are any last minute cancellations.

*Deposits will be returned when you attend the final workshop on the 1st September. Any latecomers will not be admitted to the workshop and will therefore lose the deposit.

* Cancellations– full deposits will be refunded only if you give at least two working days notice of your wish to cancel your place otherwise the full deposit will not be refunded.

*Please note that all successful applicants will be required to attend ALL four days of the programme

Opportunities for researchers in the Life Science or Health sector outside of academia

By uczjvwa, on 3 June 2014

Figure 1: Royal Society, The Scientific Century: securing our future prosperity, 2010.

Figure 1: Royal Society, The Scientific Century: securing our future prosperity, 2010.

Where do Science PhDs end up?

The rather weird and wonderful graph in Figure 1 is something I think all PhD students and early career researchers should see, as well as anyone considering starting a PhD. Created by the Royal Society in 2010, it outlines career destinations of science PhDs, and shows that staying in academia is the exception rather than the rule. Whatever your career intentions following a PhD, this is valuable information. The graph indicates that anyone aiming to stay in academia needs to keep their eyes on the prize; publish as much as possible, network, get involved in funding applications, find teaching opportunities etc. But the graph also tells those considering other options that they are not alone. Not by a long shot.

This blog will focus on careers possibilities for PhDs within the life science or health sector.

The Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industries

The pharmaceutical industry is dominated by the US, UK and the rest of Europe. The largest firms have research and development sites in several countries and operate within a global market for medicines. Biotechnology is a global industry at the cutting edge of medical, renewable energy and agricultural developments. Many biotechnology companies are small, often starting out as university research projects which attract funding to become ‘spin out’ companies.

Unsurprisingly many industry R&D roles are filled by people with PhDs, however, ex-researchers are also found in more commercial aspects of the industry, such as project management, marketing, sales, regulatory affairs, or investment and finance, where their research experience and scientific understanding is valued highly.

Contract Research Organisations

Independent contract research organisations (CROs) sell research services to clients including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and sometimes the NHS. Services can involve conducting laboratory research, data analysis, literature reviews or clinical trials. The skills developed during a PhD are obviously useful, and client-handling skills are very important.

Medical Communications

Medical communications organisations also take pharma and biotech companies as clients, however, their services involve the communication of science. This might take the form of writing journal articles or conference presentations to disseminate research to a medical audience, but it can also involve creating communications for the general public. PhDs are valued for their understanding of the research process, and experience deciphering scientific literature. Clear, concise communication skills, and good client-handling and teamworking skills, are paramount.

Patent Attorneys

Patent attorneys assess whether inventions are innovative and therefore eligible to be patented. The pharmaceutical and biotech industries often deal with intellectual property issues, and companies may employ in-house patent attorneys, or enlist the services of private firms. Being comfortable with science is essential, so a PhD is often a prerequisite for entry into the profession. Attention-to-detail, client-handling, and clear communication skills are required. Training involves a combination of exams and on-the-job learning, and it usually takes 4-5 years to qualify as a patent attorney.

The NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Program

The NHS is a huge UK employer, boasting numerous administrative and management roles which may appeal to PhDs. The Healthcare Scientist Training Program (STP) prepares future healthcare scientists to work within the NHS. Roles are largely diagnostic, although there is scope for conducting research, especially if it feeds into service improvements. Although a PhD is not required, as the STP is the only clear route to working within NHS science, many applicants have PhDs.

How to get in

Research the sector you’re interested in to identify all possible opportunities, and to decide which environment might suit you best. Recruitment into research roles is often through word of mouth, so consider who you already know with industry colleagues. Roles in the private sector are not always advertised, so you should be prepared to contact companies speculatively. You can identify companies to target, and find out more about different sectors, using the links below. Advertised positions appear in scientific publications such as New Scientist and Nature. Some of the larger pharma companies will post vacancies or careers information on their own websites. Some specific roles are recruited for by specialist recruitment agencies, so it’s worthwhile finding out who recruits in your field/for the company for which you hope to work.

Further Resources

Careers Tagged: www.careerstagged.co.uk

UK Bioindustry Association: http://www.bioindustry.org/home/

Biotechnology Industry Organization: http://www.bio.org/

One Nucleus: www.onenucleus.com.

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry: www.abpi.org.uk

Clinical Contract Research Association: http://www.ccra.org.uk

Association of Clinical Research Organisations: http://www.acrohealth.org/

MedComms Networking: http://www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/index.html

Healthcare Communications Association: http://www.hca-uk.org/members.html

Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys: http://www.cipa.org.uk/pages/contact


– Hilary Moor, Careers Consultant, Careers Group, University of London



Life Science and Health Sector Employer Fair on Monday 9th June

By uczjvwa, on 2 June 2014

Life Science and Health Sector: Employer Fair and one-to-one sessions for PhDs and Researchers

Book your place to attend

Monday 9th June – 11:00am to 1:00pm for fair, 2:00pm to 4:00pm for one-to-one sessions

Venue: North Cloisters for fair, Wilkins Haldane Room for one-to-one sessions

The aim of this event is to help PhD and other research students with their career planning by providing an opportunity to meet employers from the Life Science and Health sector.

The event will begin with an intimate fair which will have a few select organisations. Many of the employers present will be PhD holders themselves. The fair will be followed by one-to-one sessions that will allow you to discuss any questions you might have in further detail with a specific employer on a one on one basis.

In order to allow you to get as much as possible out of this event, please research the organisations thoroughly. Please see the Graduate School website for further information about the organisations and representatives who have PhDs as well as how you can book a one on one appointment with an employer: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2234

PhD students can book a place via the following link : http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2234

Research Staff can book a place via the following link : https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/signupform/