Careers Conference for Researchers

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.

The conference began in 2017, becoming an annual event due to popular demand. Each year we work closely with researchers and Divisional researcher training leads to ensure that the programme contents reflect the needs and aspirations of Oxford’s researcher community. Browse the conference brochures below to see the range of sectors, speakers and employers participating in previous events.

Usually held in spring, 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.

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The next Careers Conference for Researchers will run in 2021: the date and format (physical or virtual) will be posted here as soon as we have a firm plan.

If you can’t wait until then for insights into careers beyond academia, try the following:

  • Read the speaker bios in the conference brochures below and career profiles on, for inspiration around potential next steps; they have been in your shoes!
  • Consider ways to expand your insights into new professional areas, such as joining the team of Oxford researchers who select people to profile on and jointly edit new submissions.
  • Book a 1:1 appointment with a Careers Adviser via CareerConnect to discuss next steps, how to develop your professional network or any other career-related matter.
  • For upcoming workshops/seminars, please check the termly researcher programme available on our researcher landing page and the events calendar on CareerConnect.

And, of course, 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.

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.

Looking for more?

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