Careers Beyond Academia: Options and Pathways for Researchers

Careers Beyond Academia: Options and Pathways for Researchers will take place online and in Oxford from 20-23 March 2023.


Whether you are curious about or actively pursuing a career beyond academia, you will benefit from our range of online and in-person events. The conference offers Oxford University researchers the chance to join online panel talks with PhD holders and former academic researchers speaking frankly about their daily working lives in a variety of sectors, attend an in-person networking event, and take part in interactive workshops to help you identify skills and strategies for optimising your career preparedness.

 Registrations will open in January 2023 

The Careers Conference for Researchers 2022 took place from 14-17 March 2022, online and at the Careers Service, OX2 6PA. You can  access the Conference booklet and   watch the keynote from Jacqui Hall, Head of Early Careers at AstraZeneca (you must login with your Oxford SSO).

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The main purpose of Careers Beyond Academia: Options and Pathways for Researchers is to give the Oxford researcher community (research staff including postdocs, research assistants and research technicians and PhD students who are nearing completion) an opportunity to discover and explore as broad a range of career alternatives to academia as possible. We are always looking for employers who recruit staff with the technical and transferrable skills that our researchers offer to take part in these events, and for former researchers to share their knowledge and experience of moving beyond the academic sphere.


There are three ways to get involved in the conference as an employer:

  1. Sponsorship: Sponsors benefit from a range of promotional opportunities, a free spot at the employer networking lunch, plus options to participate in the event schedule.
  2. Networking lunch: Come and talk to highly skilled researchers from all disciplines.
  3. Panel sessions: If you already have members of staff who left academic research (PhD or a postdoc/research assistant/technician role) within the last seven years, we may be able to include them as speakers for one of the conference panel sessions. Panel speakers typically give a short, informal talk (no slides needed) about their current role, experience of leaving academia/entering their current sector, tips on how to prepare for career transition etc., and take part in a Q&A session at the end of the panel. Do you have a staff member who could take part in this way? Our researchers really appreciate being able to hear from others who have taken the steps that they are contemplating.

For more information or to discuss your participation, please email

Former researchers

If you have moved out of academia within the last seven years or so, enjoy sharing your experience of making that move with others and are willing to do so in a conference session, please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for panel speakers and are grateful to everyone who finds the time to share their knowledge in this way.

Please contact to find out how you can be part of our next conference.

Conference brochures

The conference brochures contain details of all of the sessions taking place at each event. These include bios for speakers and workshop facilitators and an overview of employers who took part in the employer networking lunches.

We are proud to have persuaded speakers with fantastically varied research backgrounds and from a wide range of sectors and companies to take part in the panel sessions at each of our previous conferences. Browsing through their bios is a great way to start thinking about potential routes beyond academia. Be open-minded as you look, and don’t read only the panels most closely aligned to your research area; many of these bios give evidence of inspiring degrees of career flexibility.

Schedule and registration for the 2022 Conference

 You can watch the recording from the Welcome Session below and A Career in Industry – the Dark Side of the Moon?, the keynote address from Jacqui Hall, Head of Early Careers at AstraZeneca (login with your Oxford SSO to watch the keynote).


Start time Monday,
14 March
15 March
16 March
17 March


Next Steps: What Will I Do With What I’ve Learnt This Week? 9:30-11:30



Welcome Talk 10:00-11:00

with Patrick Grant FREng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)


Humanities PhD? Job Search Strategies and Tips 10:00-11:30


What Can I Gain From a Career Development Review (CDR) and How Do I Get One? 10:00-11:00



Applied Data Science in the Finance Sector: Sponsors' Panel 11:00-12:00


Data Analysis & Machine Learning - with SIG, 11:00-12:00



From Academia to Academic Publishing 11:30-12:30


Professional Roles in Higher Education 11:30-12:30



Science Careers Outside the Lab 12:00-13:00


Doing Good: Ethics and Values Beyond Academic Jobs 12:00-13:00



Using Your Research Skills for Freelance Consulting: Why and How? 12:30-13:45



Non-academic Careers for Medical and Life Sciences Researchers 13:00-14:30



Moving on from Academia: Where to Start? 13:30-15:00



Preparing for Career Changes: Getting into the Right Headspace 14:00-15:30


The Importance of Being Enterprising 14:00-15:30


 In person  &


Keynote: A Career in Industry – the Dark Side of the Moon? w/ Jacqui Hall, Head of Early Careers at AstraZeneca 15:00-16:00

Career Networking 16:00-17:00



Transition to Policy: Roles in the Public Sector and Think Tanks 15:30-16:30


Science Communications - Bridging the Professional and Personal 15:30-17:00


From Research to Consultancy 15:30-16:30



Go to the Session Details tab below for more information about each event.

Access to the Conference

The Conference is open to all current Oxford University DPhil students and research staff and is free to attend.

  • Oxford University research staff and students who have a CareerConnect account should sign up to all the sessions that they want to attend on the event pages in CareerConnect – follow the quick links in the Conference schedule. 
  • Oxford University research staff who DO NOT have a CareerConnect account can gain access on the CareerConnect registration pageNOTE: Once you have requested a CareerConnect account, it can take a few hours for it to be approved. Once the account is approved, you will receive a confirmation email that you can login to CareerConnect and register for events.  
  • NIHR researchers, and other University research staff who are NOT ELIGIBLE for a CareerConnect account should email to register their interest in attending.

For any problems with registration, please contact 

2022 Sponsors

SIG | Susquehanna International Group

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OxFORD Asset Management

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Jane Street

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We are also grateful for support from the Oxford University Researcher Hub.

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Session details 

The Careers Conference for Researchers is for researchers who are wondering what their next career move might be, are keen to find out which employers and sectors beyond academia value the skills they have developed as an early career researcher, and are curious to know how other researchers have applied their expertise in non-academic contexts.

Careers Conference for Researchers 2022 - booklet icon

Conference booklet

The Conference programme includes sessions run by the Oxford Careers Service's expert careers advisers, the Researcher Hub, Enterprising Oxford, representatives from University divisions, and top recruiters, all providing insights into the variety of career pathways available to researchers. Read the Conference booklet for details of each session and to find out more about our panellists and facilitators. 

Monday, 14 March

Welcome Talk, 10:00-11:00

A welcome to the conference from the Careers Service and the wider University, plus an outline of what you can expect from the Conference and how to make the most of these sessions to move your career planning forward. Watch the video recording from the Welcome session to find out what to expect from the Conference.

Applied Data Science in the Finance Sector: Sponsors' Panel, 11:00-12:00

Finance and business roles are not just for BA graduates! These sectors offer many different career pathways and call for a variety of skill sets.

Speakers on this panel will share their personal experience of moving from an academic to a finance or business role and give tips for those thinking about developing a career in these sectors.  A session led by our 2022 Conference sponsors:  SIG | Susquehanna International GroupOxFORD Asset Management, and Jane Street.

Science Careers Outside the Lab, 12:00-13:00 

Are you a scientist who is thinking about leaving research, but keen to retain some science in your role? There are many opportunities to use your expertise in science outside of laboratory roles, for example in science policy and administration, in patent law, or in science communication, journalism and publishing to name a few. In this session we’ll hear from people who have successfully transitioned from academic research to use their science degrees in different ways outside of the lab.

Moving on from Academia: Where to Start?, 13:30-15:00

If you’re exploring (or decided on) a career outside academia, but you need some pointers on how to make this happen, this workshop will get you started. During the session we will look at tools and strategies for identifying attractive roles and understanding what a job really entails, whilst also considering the importance of knowing your own skill set and using that to shape your job search. This is a virtual but interactive workshop, so please come ready to participate! 

Transition to Policy: Roles in the Public Sector and Think Tanks, 15:30-16:30 

There is an enormous need for insightful expertise and skilled policy-makers to guide our conversations across all areas of policy, whether local, in your home country or on a global scale. Speakers on this panel will share personal experience of their daily working lives, how they moved from academia to policy-facing roles and suggestions of what you can do now to strengthen your chances of gaining a foothold in the policy world. 

Tuesday, 15 March

Humanities PhD? Job Search Strategies and Tips, 10:00-11:30

Join us for this unique opportunity to hear careers advisers and a panel of Humanities PhD holders give guidance and tips on how to approach and navigate the non-academic job market. This is a great opportunity to learn how others have uncovered rewarding opportunities and successfully made the transition out of academia into the wider job market. 

From Academia to Academic Publishing, 11:30-12:30

One potential avenue for researchers looking to explore roles outside academia is academic publishing.

The speakers we will heave from in this panel have made the move into this sector, and will share their experience of leveraging their disciplinary knowledge and/or their transferrable skills to secure roles in the publishing world. 

Using Your Research Skills for Freelance Consulting: Why and How?, 12:30-13:45 

Researchers typically have knowledge and skills that others will pay for, yet many may not see this or think of consulting as a career development or income stream. In this session we will illustrate opportunities for independent consulting as a researcher, some popular models and how to get started. Researchers with freelancing experience will share what they enjoy about this role, challenges and tips for making it work.

Preparing for Career Changes: Getting into the Right Headspace, 14:00-15:30 

Moving from one research role to another or shifting into a new sector involves both practical activity and a mental shift. In this session, we’ll explore the mental and emotional aspects of managing career transitions. 

Science Communications - Bridging the Professional and Personal, 15:30-17:00

Researchers communicate a lot, be it via reports, articles, presentations or public engagement. So Scientific Communications too can take various forms, such as journalism or medical communication, to name a couple, or even by uncovering creative personal outlets. Find out about our panellists’ transition journeys and why science communications caught their fancy.

Wednesday, 16 March

What Can I Gain From a Career Development Review (CDR) and How Do I Get One?,  10:00-11:00 

“Aren’t Career Development Reviews a waste of time?”, “Wouldn’t I be better off just using the time to write up some research?” – If you have thought or said this in the past or you just wonder how CDRs can help you, then this session is for you. We will discuss the benefits of the review and how to prepare for one and apply the results and put it into the context of a wider look at researcher careers. 

Data Analysis & Machine Learning - with SIG, 11:00-12:00 

Analytical skill has become one of the most popular requirements in recruitment, across many disciplines. Susquehanna International Group (SIG) invites you to an applied data analysis skills development session, delivered by one of their quantitative researchers. 

Doing Good: Ethics and Values Beyond Academic Jobs12:00-13:00 

Many academics place ethics and values at the heart of what they do: from celebrating the beauty and relevance of arts and literature, to echoing silenced voices or exploring trauma. Critical thinking, teaching, writing, are conceived as intellectually stimulating and ethically rewarding, contributing to knowledge and its dissemination. Gathering former academics, early career academics and careers advisors, this session will discuss strategies for identifying roles that align with one’s value set, and explore career pathways and sectors beyond academia which offer similar or comparable attention to ethics, values and the public good. 

The Importance of Being Enterprising14:00-15:30 

In any career path, there are key skills and behaviours that help individuals attain success.  More often than not, those skills and behaviours are linked to an enterprising or entrepreneurial mindset, including creativity, spotting opportunities, and mobilising resources.  Find out how you, as a researcher, can learn and apply these skills in any career you wish to follow. 

From Research to Consultancy15:30-16:30 

Research skills are important in the multi-faceted world of consulting where small teams examine complex and often ill-defined problems. If you enjoy intellectual challenge, working collaboratively and quickly building relationships with colleagues and clients, consultancy could be attractive, whether working on big picture strategy questions or more specialised and niche fields.

Thursday, 17 March

Next Steps: What Will I Do With What I’ve Learnt This Week?9:30-11:30 

This interactive session will provide an opportunity to reflect on your learning from the conference and provide tools to help guide your immediate and longer-term career planning. 

Professional Roles in Higher Education, 11:30-12:30

Do you like working in Higher Education (H.E); do you like the vibe, your colleagues, and the environment? As you might be aware, there are lots of different careers to be found in HE outside of research. Many of them are very rewarding and multi-faceted. This session will be an opportunity to hear from and talk to ex-researchers who have developed careers in HE, and find out if this might be for you. 

Non-academic Careers for Medical and Life Sciences Researchers13:00-14:30 

If you are a medical or life sciences researcher aiming to use your scientific training in an industry or public-sector role and you want to know more about the options and practicalities of such roles, this session is for you. Our panel of speakers who work within, or alongside, business and the public sector will share insights into their daily working lives, the career steps they have taken and tips for anyone wishing to pursue a similar career path. 

Keynote Address from Jacqui Hall, Head of Early Careers at AstraZeneca, & Peer Networking

KEYNOTE TALK 15:00-16:00 - In Person and Online

A Career in Industry – the Dark Side of the Moon? with Jacqui Hall, Head of Early Careers, BioPharma R&D at AstraZeneca

Our keynote speaker will draw on her extensive experience of supporting and developing researchers in an industry setting to give insights on how best to prepare for roles beyond academia.

Please note that you can book to attend the keynote talk either in-person at the Careers Service or online. 


The keynote talk will be followed by a networking session (NB: in-person only) at which you will have a chance tomeet and chat with our conference sponsorsask questions of our keynote speakerexplore the kinds of support available in the ‘Oxford Ecosystem’ to researchers; and share thoughts, concerns and tips with your fellow researchers. Come and have a cuppa and a chat and meet some of the Careers Service team and: 

Jane Street

  • Joel Philips - Quantitative Researcher
  • John Martin - Quantitative Trader
  • Sam Price - Recruiter
  • Sarah Nagar - Recruiter

Oxford University Innovation Limited

  • Jaci Barnett MScEng MBA RTTP - Head of Consulting Service
  • Rebecca Glenapp - Licencing and Ventures

Research Services Innovation & Engagement Team

  • Leah Thompson - Enterprising Oxford Manager
  • Christina Brennan - IDEA Programme Coordinator

Oxford Policy Engagement Network

  • Jessica Hedge - OPEN Coordinator
  • Jessica Simkiss - Humanities and Public Policy Officer

Researcher Hub

  • Rachel Bray - Research Hub Lead
  • Linda Andrews - Policy and Projects Manager
  • Sameer Pathak - Senior Communications & Engagement Manager


  • Liam Guilfoyle - Co-Chair

Sign up for the Keynote Address & Peer Networking

Looking for more?

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