Careers Conference for Researchers


We are delighted to confirm that our next Oxford Careers Conference for Researchers will take place on Wednesday, 17 March 2021


This event is for you if you are:

  • unsure whether you want to stay in academia or wondering what your next career move might be;
  • keen to find out which employers and sectors beyond academia value the skills you have developed as an early career researcher;
  • curious to know how other researchers have applied their expertise in non-academic contexts.

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The day typically includes:

  • panels of PhD holders and former academic researchers speaking frankly about their daily working lives in a variety of sectors;
  • a networking lunch with employers who are actively seeking research-trained applicants  – a great opportunity to investigate options for the future;
  • interactive workshops to help you identify skills and strategies for optimising your career preparedness.

Browse the previous conference brochures to get a sense of the kind of career transitions that are possible and the range of employers who recruit people with a similar skillset to yours.

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The next Careers Conference for Researchers will take place virtually on Wednesday 17 March 2021. 

We are currently finalisng the programme for the day, which will be a mixture of speaker panels, workshops, presentations and of course a recruiter fair. We will upload details here as soon as we can.

Keynote Speaker Update

We're delighted to announce our 2021 conference keynote speaker:

Dr Christian Busch, Lead Faculty & Director, CGA Global Economy Program, New York University & Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics

Dr Christian Busch directs the Centre for Global Affairs Global Economy Program at New York University (NYU) and teaches on purpose-driven leadership, entrepreneurship, emerging markets, and (social) innovation at NYU and at the London School of Economics (LSE). Having received his PhD from the LSE, Christian has previously worked in business and consulting in Mexico, Germany, the UK, and the US. He has served as Senior Advisor for several multinational companies, and is part of the World Economic Forum's 'Expert Forum'. He is among Diplomatic Courier’s 'Top 99 Influencers', JCI's 'Ten Outstanding Persons', and is on the Thinkers50 Radar list of 30 management thinkers “most likely to shape the future of how organizations are led”.

Christian frequently speaks at conferences such as the World Economic Forum, TED/TEDx, and the Financial Times Sustainability Summit, and has guest-lectured at Stanford Business School, Peking University, IMD, and Strathmore. His research has been published widely in both academic journals and leading media institutions. Christian's bestselling book, The Serendipity Mindset (Penguin Random House), has been highlighted as a "wise, exciting, and life-changing book" (Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post); and a "bracing and hopeful antidote to a world addicted to efficiency and control".

This free event is open to all current Oxford DPhil students and research staff.

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.

The main purpose of this conference 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. If you are interested in sponsoring the 2021 Careers Conference for Researchers, please contact
  2. Employer networking lunch: The networking lunch has been a really popular part of each of the previous conferences, and employers with current or future vacancies for staff with a researcher profile have found participation to have a positive effect on the number of Oxford researchers applying to them. Whatever the format that is chosen for future conferences, it is highly likely that a networking lunch or equivalent will be a key part of the schedule. If you regularly recruit staff with research expertise and high-level technical skills and you would like to know more about taking part in this session in our next conference, please contact
  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 contact

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 (see details under ‘Panel sessions’ above), 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.

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