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Welcome to Careers in UK & Global Health

Isobel EPowell6 November 2019

UK & Global Health Month!

Interested in becoming a healthcare scientist or working in research, development, biotech, or clinical trials? What about working in global health environments? Supporting health organisations as an advisor? Join us for UK & Global Health month and learn more about this industry. Come along to our beyond academia skills session and test your commercial awareness skills. Gain tips on how important showing your big-picture industry awareness is and what scope there is to reframe the way we see the public health sector.

Thinking about attending but not sure if it’s for you?

If you’re interested in the wellbeing of the public and want a role that not only utilises your researcher skills but allows you to support local national or even global communities, public health could be for you. Public health roles focus on the key areas of health protection, health prevention, health research, and education.

Outreach and engagement are key areas in which research skills are vital to this industry. Educating the public on health and wellbeing, preventing global epidemics and researching the impact of lifestyle on our health are just some of the great opportunities this industry can offer you. If you want to continue in a role which utilises your research skills but stay within a health sciences industry, maybe UK & Global Health is for you. 

 

Heres whats coming up…

A career in UK & Global health allows you to use your skills in research to improve the lives of local, national or even international communities. Check out the events coming up this month and learn more about this diverse and global industry. Careers in public health often span across public sector healthcare, charities, NGOs and research organisations.


Researchers Skills Beyond Academia Session
Mon 11 Nov, 12.30-2pm

Could Venture be a faster route to curing cancer? Led by Deep Science Ventures

Commercial awareness is a key skill to learn that proves you, as a candidate, are conscious of the economic and political trends in your desired industry.
Many of our largest sectors such as pharma and healthcare are driven by scientific innovation and the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science. Yet, as products and markets become more complex and internal R&D sees lower returns, the linear process of academic research (grant -> discovery -> venture -> push to market) has become ineffective at realising and capturing value. Deep Science Ventures are shifting the paradigm in applied science through a new framework for launching science companies. In this workshop, we’ll explore the commercial landscape of pharma/healthcare through the lens of entrepreneurship.

Sign up on MyUCLCareers Today


Careers in UK & Global Health Forum
Mon 25 Nov, 5.30-7.30pm

This forum will give you the opportunity to get an insight into the UK & Global Health sector from PhD level speakers who have paved a career for themselves in this industry. Find out more about what a career in public health encompasses, the wide range of industries and specialisms this covers and gain tips on how to find a researcher role. This is a key opportunity to gain an insight into a career you may not have previously considered.

Our first speaker is a Health Content and Public Engagement Specialist – Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

“I was responsible for the strategic development of the charity’s health content and engagement programmes. In that role, I focussed on making co-produced, evidence-based information and campaigns to help empower people to make informed choices about their health. I have run national roadshows, lead sessions at key conferences around patient experience, facilitated health professional learning workshops, and worked with my team to deliver health promotion projects across the UK.”

“My PhD training has been invaluable and some of the key transferable skills include: understanding scientific writing and academic research, conducting research and handling data (quantitive and qualitative), being able to explain complex jargon in plain English, using my editing and writing skills, presenting at conferences or facilitating small groups, my experience of project management including budget, team and strategic management and the ability to work independently. “

Sign up on MyUCLCareers Today

 


What else can you do to get career ready?

Alongside this, we have a team of careers consultants with research backgrounds who work closely with UCL’s researcher community and can provide support regardless of whether you’re looking to continue in academia or explore other options. Our “Researcher appointments” can be booked at any time through your myUCLCareers account and can be used to cover a range of queries from exploring options to getting support with applications/interview preparation. The careers consultants also run separate workshops covering a range of topics on academic and non-academic career routes for researchers.

Details of the full events programme can be found here

 

Reflecting on Finance & Consultancy Careers for Researchers

Isobel EPowell30 October 2019

Finance and Consultancy Month… let’s reflect:

As Finance and Consultancy month comes to a close, we are reflecting on what has been an insightful and engaging collection of events. Whilst taking the leap out of academia can seem like a daunting and unfamiliar prospect our alumni and professionals have given us plenty of reassuring and motivational messages throughout the month. The first key area of reflection for this month is therefore on transitioning.

Transitioning out of academia and into a corporate role…How do you deal with any attached stigma?

  1. It’s your career path! Everyone takes a different route to find their thing – don’t be afraid to acknowledge that academia may not be for you. Check out our previous blog post on this
  2. There is a world of research beyond academia. So many roles within finance and consultancy are research-focused – Check out our post by economist Keith Lai for ideas
  3. Your interests can be applied across the sector. Branching out and exploring other options can broaden your horizons, make you more employable and expand the practical reach of your research expertise. Consultancy is a great way to do this, offering your expertise to support businesses to grow.

Moving between academic and non-academic arenas, is it possible?

  1. Yes! Many people still contribute to academic papers alongside their roles, if publishing is your passion there are always ways to continue…
  2. Some organisations hire for roles with this in mind, creating and publishing research can be part of your job! Check out a previous blog on this
  3. Balancing the two may not be your thing. Many finance or consulting roles require strong research, writing and publishing skills – just utilised in a more corporate setting

The best and worst parts of a non-academic career, is it really for me?

  1. Stability, consistency and great benefits. The biggest response to this from both our finance and consultancy panels was the increased stability, lack of stress around funding, working more collaborative and less sporadic work schedules.
  2. It all depends on what you want… teamwork, deadlines, short projects and managing client needs are central to careers in finance and consultancy, so, if this isn’t for you, it may not be the right career path. Don’t Panic! There are plenty of industries where other skills are more suited. Key an eye on our blog for more case studies.
  3. Longer more intense working hours and less autonomy. Despite this, many of our contributors mentioned the increased satisfaction from shorter lead times and a better work-life balance.

So, what does this all mean fo you?

After hearing from professionals working across roles as consultants, economists, data scientists and traders the biggest piece of advice about their industry is to decide if it really is for you. Map out your skills, your interests, what drives you, how you like to work and see if that aligns with a career in the Finance or Consultancy worlds.

For example, in consultancy the key skills required are:
Teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, confidence under pressure and adaptability

Often consultants are working towards:
Fast-paced project delivery
managing a diverse portfolio of clients
and engaging a variety of industries

Roles are more structured and strong commitment is needed:
Core working hours mean more stability but overtime is frequently required to deliver projects
Consultants may work client-side within a given week, so travel is important
Managing projects within cross-organisational teams mean flexibility is key

These are the key aspects to explore before diving into applications. Is this for me? and what kind of working lifestyle do I want? 

Finding an industry where your skills as research are valued and utilised may seem tricky but you can find roles across all sectors and industry. This is where our themed months come in to play, if you’ve decided finance or consultancy organisations are not for you, join us on another themed month and hear more about careers in UK & Global Health, Data Science & Data Analytics, Communications and Research, Government, Policy and Higher Education…. the list continues! Our speakers have come from backgrounds in physics, biology, maths, humanities and more ending up in completely different industry utilising those same core skills they learnt in research.

Come along to our events and find out how your skills are so transferable across the sectors and explore how you could branch out to support an organisation to develop!

Check out our full programme of researcher events on our website today!

 

Finance & Consultancy Month – Guest Feature

Isobel EPowell24 October 2019

Researchers Guest Feature:

Taking a closer look at our monthly employer-led events topics

During our themed months, we will be taking a deeper look into each key topic. In these posts, we will be investigating what a career in this industry looks like for a researcher. Each month there will be insights from an expert who has been through the process of transitioning out of academia. Each contributor will give us their key tips for following a non-academic career path whilst letting us in on the things they wished they had known before taking the leap. Find out about the roles their organisation has to offer and get some key tips on applying.

This month it’s all about Finance…

Taking a deeper dive into the financial industry from the perspective of an economist specifically looking at what this is like for a researcher, we have our first contributor – Keith Lai. 

Keith Lai is an Economic Advisor for the Office for National Statistics and completed his BSc (2008), MSc (2011) and PhD Economics (2018) all in UCL. His thesis was on applied economics of crime, using an individual-level dataset held by the Ministry of Justice, where he worked for three years as an assistant economist between 2009 and 2012, to study the micro effect of criminal justice punishment on the labour market and reoffending outcomes. 

Tell us about your role and the organisation you work with…

I am an economist working in the Office for National Statistics, the largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK. The ONS publish a wide range of economic and social statistics that inform every public debate you see and hear, such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, international trade, government finances, gender pay gap, crime, etc.
Largely speaking, economists have two roles here. Firstly, we provide commentary on the economic and social statistics that ONS publish, to help the public understand the latest development in the UK economy and society. Secondly, we research into the best methods of measuring the economy and wellbeing, taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities that big data offer.

Whats a brief overview of your industry? are there opportunities specifically for researchers?

The civil service rarely looks specifically for PhD candidates (in the departments I have worked in any way!) but there are definitely roles that researchers could slot into and perform really well, such as in the Government Analysis Function which covers economists, statisticians, data scientists, operational researchers, social researchers, etc.

Describe your PhD background, is it related to your current role?

My PhD thesis was on the Economics of Crime and Criminal Justice, where I empirically tested at the individual level the impact of criminal justice punishment on labour market outcomes.
The topic area of my PhD is not particularly related to the projects I am currently doing at the ONS, but the skills that I had picked up, such as critical thinking, data manipulation, time management, public speaking, etc. are all transferrable to my current career.

Did you find the transition out of academia challenging?

I actually found the change very pleasant! Towards the end of my PhD, I missed working in big teams and interacting with people from a diverse background. I also enjoy being able to completely switch off after work.

Is there anything you wish you’d been told when looking to transition out of academia

Being in academia can be a bit like inside a bubble and you can easily feel stuck to stay, or lost about where to go next if you leave, but it really is perfectly fine to take the leap.

Any advice/tips specifically for Postdocs? 

One must have mastered many difficult skills to survive in academia for any length of time. Without a doubt, those skills are fully transferrable to jobs outside academia and someone in possession of them are very likely to succeed in whatever they choose to do. The difficulty might be in trying to look for a position that perfectly fits their expertise and research interest, which by then could be quite a niche and narrow. I think being open-minded about different challenges and opportunities could help the transition out of academia.

What is your top tip for researchers when applying to your organisation?

Be enthusiastic about contributing to the public good!

A big thank you to Keith for sharing their insights into the industry and what life after a PhD is like! Want to hear more? Come along to our events and hear from PhD level speakers across a range of industries all with valuable insights into what life is like after academia.


What’s coming up! Check out our final event of this month

But, how do I know if I like it or not? If you’re considering a career in consultancy but you’re unsure what the day to day might look like, come along to this taster session to give it a go!

Employer Taster Session in Consultancy
Tues 29 Oct 19, 12.30 – 2.30pm

This employer-led careers taster session for consultancy will allow you to experience a hypothetical task which someone in this role would undertake.
This is a practical opportunity to gain experience of a career in consultancy. Participate in a hypothetical task to improve your understanding of the industry and the types of careers available whilst networking with an organisation which hires researchers. This employer taster will highlight a career which has opportunities spanning across science, business, technology, data, the arts and more.
Research students and staff book here


Here’s how to book your space

This term we will be taking all research student and staff bookings for all researcher career events including both employer-led events and careers consultant-led workshops via the MyUCLCareers portal. If you’re a research student you’ll already have an account, just sign in with your standard UCL single sign-on user ID and password. For research staff, register your details with us to set up access to a myUCLCareers account – click here to see the guide.  By streamlining our offerings through one platform we hope to offer you clearer, more detailed and consistent event content.

Any questions? Email us at careers.researchers@ucl.ac.uk

What else can you do to get career ready?

Alongside the employer-led sessions, we have our careers consultant-led programme of events. Details of the whole programme can be found here. These programmes are for you. Learn a new skill, find out about an industry, or even just ask some questions to help settle your concerns – Get ahead of the game and take these opportunities to explore opportunities and develop yourself and your commercial awareness before you’ve even left academia.

Fellowship application tips from UCL Research Facilitators

SophiaDonaldson10 June 2019

Money is crucial in research, and fellowships are a great mechanism to secure the money to pursue your own research ideas. In May four of UCL’s research facilitators kindly came to UCL Careers to deliver a workshop on “Writing a Successful Fellowship Application”. All three of UCL’s Schools were covered by Dr Jen Hazelton, Jacob Leveridge, Dr Melanie Bradnam, and Pascale Fanning-Tichborne, who also brought in two current fellowship holders, Dr Miranda Sheild Johansson (Leverhulme fellow) and Dr Lluís Masanes (EPSRC Early Career Research fellow). If you missed the event, they plan to run a similar workshop with us once a term – so check out our website for updates. But in the meantime, here are 5 top tips I took away from the session:

1) Know your funders

Perhaps it sounds obvious, but you need be aware of everyone who might be keen to give you money, whether they be Research Councils, charities, trusts, societies, the EU, your home country’s government etc. You should also know how they and their various funding streams differ in their focus, their reviewers, and their approach. Some may require very scientific applications, others may prefer a lay style. If you don’t do your homework, you risk missing opportunities and pitching your project ineffectually.

To help you, UCL subscribes to GrantFinder (https://search.grantfinder.co.uk/education), which you can use to research possible funding sources. And the research facilitation offices offer one-to-one appointments where you can chat through your options (as well as get feedback on your applications – see contacts for your school here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/about/contact), and newsletters to which you can sign-up to ensure you don’t miss deadlines.

2) Know the deadlines. ALL the deadlines.

Some funding streams have limits on the number of applications that can be sent per institution. For these, UCL operates an internal triage system where applications are first sent to research facilitation offices who will oversee a process to determine which applications get developed for submission to the funder. The internal deadline is (obviously) before the funder deadline – so if you don’t investigate this and only work to the funder deadline, you may find you’re too late. To avoid disappointment, sign up to research facilitator newsletters, check their websites and ask around your department to see which schemes operate an internal triage system.

3) Seek collaborations, partnerships, and support BEFORE you apply

The majority of funding applications will be rejected, so it can be tempting not to approach potential academic collaborators and industry partners until you know you’ve secured the money. But this is NOT the most sensible plan. Your applications have to seem well researched and doable to convince funders to hand over their cash – if you don’t actually have collaborators on board yet, your project may not happen. And just as importantly, your collaborators may offer valuable insights and advice to strengthen your applications. Rest assured, people understand funding may not come through first time, so aim to convince people that you and your project are worthwhile, and build good working relationships that can last through more than one funding call.

4) Be specific

About everything. We all know research methods and ideas can evolve over the course of a project, but funders want to know exactly how you’re going to be spending your time and their money. It makes you seem like a good bet. Those collaborators and partners you’ve already secured (a la point 3)? What exactly will they offer you? Support? Training? Expertise? Access to equipment? Why do you need it? And why are they the right people to offer it? Which methods will you use exactly, and why? What are your key outputs? And when will they be completed? And if you really don’t know yet, then be clear how you will decide and what will influence your decision. This doesn’t mean being overly technical (unless the funder requires it). It means showing you have a clear plan.

5) Interviews really count

If a funding application process involves an interview, said interview really counts. Applications will likely be given scores/ranked in the first round, but the message from the workshop was that the scores are almost reset for the interview. So everyone is on an equal footing and in with a shot. If reviewers have highlighted weaknesses in your application, be ready to address these in your interview (and always address them in writing too if given the chance). If progress has been made in your research/plan since you first submitted the application (and these processes can take a while, so interviewers might expect progress!), this is your chance to update the panel. And practice! We offer practice interviews, and even more importantly when it comes to funding interviews, so do the research facilitators, and your supervisors/departments may well do too if you ask!

Best of luck with your applications!

Many thanks for the workshop go to:

Dr Jen Hazelton, Senior School Research Facilitator, for The Bartlett, Engineering, and Mathematical & Physical Sciences, Jacob Leveridge, Deputy Director of Research Facilitation for UCL Arts & Humanities, UCL Laws, UCL Social & Historical Sciences, the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies and the UCL Institute of Education, and Dr Melanie Bradnam and Pascale Fanning-Tichborne, Strategic Research Facilitators for the School of Life and Medical Sciences.

Don’t miss our Academic Careers in the USA Event – 5pm Monday 20th May

SophiaDonaldson14 May 2019

We often get asked (by you) about getting into academia in the US, so we’re shipping in a real expert to give you the lowdown. After spending 15 years as a tenured professor, department head, and university advisor, Karen is now an academic careers coach. Join us at the below event to get the benefit of her advice! Sign up via the links below.

‘Hacking the Job Market’: Academic Careers in USA

Lucas Lecture Theatre Strand Building KCL

Mon 20 May 2019, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Sign up here: https://uclcareers.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=3273&service=Careers+Service

Dr Karen Kelsky, author of The Professor is in will speak about the current American academic job market and offer tips for getting on to the much coveted tenure track. The event will begin with an interactive session by Kellee Weinhold (strategic communications and academic productivity coach for the Professor is In).

5.00pm- 6.00pm – Acing academic interviews

Kellee will move through standard interview questions, explaining common errors and weaknesses and providing examples of effective answers with attention to brevity, spin, word choice, tone, body language, and more in an interactive session

6.00pm-7.30pm – The US job market and how to hack it

Karen will walk you through the conditions of the current American job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while looking for a tenure-track job in a lecture style session.

Karen will cover:

-The big-picture conditions of the U.S. tenure track job market

-How to think like a search committee

-The four core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate

-The all-important 5-Year Plan

-The ethos of job market documents

-The most common mistakes made by job seekers

-The three keys to academic interviewing

-The non-academic option

Karen also examines the pervasive intangible pitfalls that can bedevil job documents and interviewing, including narcissism, excessive humility, and hyper-emotionalism. You’ll leave with a broad understanding of the real (as opposed to fantasy) criteria of tenure track hiring, and how to tailor your record and application materials to maximize your chances of success. Finally, she will also touch on the current political situation and outlooks for US academia.

Sign up here: https://uclcareers.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=3273&service=Careers+Service

Do academics need an entrepreneurial mindset to succeed?

SophiaDonaldson16 July 2018

Bit of a rhetorical question, this one. The answer is yes, academics benefit when they think like entrepreneurs. If you’re not sure why that is, or you have no idea how to think more like an entrepreneur, check out this brilliantly amazing guest post (ahem – I wrote it) on the even more brilliantly amazing careers blog The Professor Is In.

What’s academia like in China?

SophiaDonaldson25 April 2018

Last week Professor Limin Zhu from Donghua University kindly gave a talk at UCL about careers for PhDs in China. It was an illuminating session, largely highlighting that academia in China isn’t too different from academia in the UK. Here is what Professor Zhu told us:

Publish, and publish well: It was no surprise to hear that publications are key to academic success in China. Professor Zhu focused the majority of his attention on the very top universities in China, where he felt you would need a 10+ impact factor publication to be considered.

Institutions matter: Where you studied will influence your eligibility, with higher prestige institutions in China tending to only recruit those who gained their first degrees and Masters/PhDs from high-ranking universities.

The benefits are good: We heard that packages for new lecturers – which might include research budget and accommodation assistance in addition to salary – are good, allowing a very comfortable life.

The pressure can be high: Getting a lectureship position isn’t the end of the process. Every couple of years your performance will be reviewed to assess publication output and research funding generation.

Foreigners are welcome: Professor Zhu referred to a drive to attract top talent from abroad, saying that high-performing post-docs should be very welcome.

There are lots of options outside top-tier universities: Although his talk focused largely on the highest-ranking Chinese universities, Professor Zhu told us there are ~2,300 formally recognised universities in China, and many more private universities too. He said the pay doesn’t differ too much between them (although in lower-ranking universities there is less chance of attracting large research grants or bonuses for e.g. Science and Nature publications). And just like in the UK, outside of the highest-ranked research-intensive universities, lecturers may have a heavier teaching load and less time (if any) to focus on research. Accompanying this will be a reduced pressure to publish.

MRC created a tool to stop you missing funding opportunities

SophiaDonaldson25 September 2017

Navigating the academic research landscape is tough. Knowing what is expected of you at each career stage, and scouting available opportunities, can sometimes feel like it takes up as much time as actually conducting your research! So for medical researchers, the MRC has made a handy interactive tool to help. It categorises career stages, and tells you what you should be up to when you’re in them, like so:

MRC tool_crop

On the tool’s funding view, it tells you the type of funding available at each stage. And even more helpfully, it tells you which funders offer each variety of award. That frees up a little more time for you to actually apply for them! Have a play with the tool and see what you think.

MRC tool_funding_crop

 

Dr Karen Kelsky told us how to get tenure in the US

SophiaDonaldson24 May 2017

USA

Last week Dr Karen Kelsky, tenured professor turned careers guru and author of The Professor is in, spoke to our researchers about how to hack the US academic job market. She focused specifically on US ‘tenure-track’ positions, which involve a few years of teaching and research, and then guarantee you consideration for a permanent academic appointment. However, most of her advice was applicable to post-doc roles too. If you couldn’t make it along, here’s a summary of the take-home points:

– The market is tough. In case anyone is under any illusions, the US is not an easy alternative to the UK. Karen told us the US produces ~60,000 PhDs a year, and a tenure-track opening may attract 200-1000 applications. Just like here, the majority of US PhDs end up leaving academia.

– The Academic Search Committee are more overworked than you are. The academics sifting through applications are even busier than you are, so Karen estimated they give only ~2 minutes of attention to each tenure-track application. Better make the good stuff easy to find!

– Know the institution. Karen talked us through US university types – from Ivy League to Community College – and it’s certainly a more complex system than ours. But just as in the UK, when looking at lectureship positions, institution-type influences the pay and teaching/research load. Make sure you’re applying for a role that suits you, and you’re emphasising the right things in your applications. The Fulbright Commission and good old Wikipedia will give you an idea of US university types.

– Stop thinking of yourself as a student. Karen was very firm on this. When looking to hire new lecturers the search committee are looking for a new peer, not a student. Present yourself as a peer, and have references from people who can speak about you as a peer. Start now. Network with as many people as possible, at conferences and via social media, sharing your outputs and your ideas. Like what? Like a peer.

– Have a 5-year plan. A future focus in your applications, with a specific and detailed plan, will help recruiters see what an asset you’ll be to their department. And once you’re on the tenure track, sticking to a clear plan will help you meet the tough plublication criteria that qualifies you for tenure.

– Brits babble on (and other nationalities are too blunt): For a US audience, Karen says we Brits are way too wordy. Don’t write a cover letter that reads like a Hugh Grant script. Present the facts, and get to the point. Karen also mentioned some nationalities write so bluntly it appears arrogant…even to a US audience whom many perceive as unashamed self-promoters! To check how you’re coming across, book a researcher one-to-one appointment to discuss your application documents.

– (Almost) always negotiate. Once you’ve been offered a position, in the US there’s far more room to negotiate your pay and conditions than here. Karen outlines some rare cases where it may not be appropriate in her book, but for the most part, negotiate away.

For more useful tips for getting ahead in academia check out Karen’s blog and book, as well as our UK-centred schedule of academic careers workshops, covering career planning, applications, and interviews.

How do I build an academic career in the US?

SophiaDonaldson8 May 2017

Karen publicity picGood question, right? At UCL Careers, we get asked this a lot: how does the US academic system differ to ours? And how do I maximise my chances of success over there?! If you’ve been asking these questions, you should book a spot on next Monday 15th May’s evening workshop. We’re shipping in an expert on the subject – Dr Karen Kelsky – to share her words of wisdom. And when it comes to progressing in academia in the US, Karen wrote the book. Literally. She’s the author of The Professor is in, “The definitive career guide for grad students, adjuncts, post-docs and anyone else eager to get tenure or turn their Ph.D.  into their ideal job”.

Karen will be speaking about the current American academic job market and offering tips for how to get on to the much coveted tenure track (as well as non-academic options). The event will begin with an interactive session on interviews by Kellee Weinhold from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, with Dr Karen Kelsky speaking from 6:00pm-7:30pm.

To find out more and to book a spot, see the Eventbrite page here: http://bit.ly/2quKezt