What others have done | The Careers Service What others have done – Oxford University Careers Service
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Spending time looking at and listening to what others have done following their PhD or postdoc can be a valuable source of inspiration. Although data on post-PhD or post-postdoc transitions isn’t collected as consistently as the post-bachelor degree data, some larger-scale insights on what researchers do next is available.

  • Two Vitae reports provide a useful overview of early career researcher development. The first (2009) report analyses data collected from PhD students at UK universities on their post-PhD employment. A more recent (2016) report details career progression of early career (postdoc) researchers.
  • The League of European Research Universities (LERU) report Maps of academic career paths in 9 European countries including the UK produced by the League of European Research Universities (LERU). These show the different research positions available in an institution, the levels of responsibility, how they are funded at each stage and how a researcher may progress from one level to the next.
Learn where researchers go next

Individual accounts of how other researchers have used their training to develop fulfilling career paths may inspire career thoughts if you are currently unsure what your next role might be.

  • Research-Careers.org, developed by early career researchers in Oxford and beyond, features a growing number of profiles of researchers who have transitioned out of academia.
  • Vitae’s website contains an expansive set of researcher career profiles including academic/research as well as non-academic roles.
  • The Royal Society’s website also contains some interesting researcher profiles; includes some transitions back into, as well as out of, academia.
See ‘Careers Conference for Researchers’ resources

In 2017 we held our first annual Careers Conference for Researchers, aimed at researchers looking to move beyond academia. The podcasts and videos below  contain interviews with former researchers who moved from a DPhil or research position into jobs that make the most of their research training and experience.

Watch video interviews with speakers filmed by postdocs at the 2018 Careers Conference for Researchers. These cover speakers’ experiences of transitioning from PhD or postdoc into a new field beyond academia, as well as the role that mentors have played in their career development.

You can also see the brochure for the 2018 conference here.

Build your networks in Oxford and beyond

Networks matter. We see this through our work with researchers, and the insight is backed up by an article in FEMS Microbiology Letters about PhD student and postdoc job-searching: “Making meaningful connections and building relationships can be more valuable than other job-related skills… to progress within many professions.” (Blackford, 2018)

While you are in Oxford, make the most of your opportunities to build cross-disciplinary links and get actively involved in groups where you can meet people with different experiences and perspectives. Students have ample opportunity to network through colleges, doctoral training groups and student societies. If you’re employed here, join the Oxford Research Staff Society (OxRSS) for a warm welcome, a wide variety of social and professional networking activities, and the opportunity to express your views through departmental voice reps. Most student societies are also open to early career researchers.

Signing up for divisional training events is a great way to meet others outside your direct field of study, exchange ideas about potential career moves, all in addition to strengthening your skills profile.

The university’s inter-disciplinary research centres, such as The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), the Oxford Martin School, the Global Priorities Institute or Oxford E-research Centre (and many more) provide excellent opportunities to connect with researchers beyond your discipline.

Tap into resources in your department to find out where alumni in your field now work. Ask your department administrator how you can get involved in alumni events and/or use the alumni database.

Joint the Oxford Alumni Community for access to about 10,000 alumni willing to answer industry-specific questions and/or be a mentor.

Search the Oxford Careers Network for people in areas of work you are interested in, or who studied in a similar area. All 1200 members are alumni who have agreed to respond to questions and give advice. If you feel timid about networking more widely, start with this pool of willing, experienced people.

Of all online communities, LinkedIn is the most useful for careers insights and building connections.

What you can learn from LinkedIn

The search function on LinkedIn is an excellent way to identify former DPhil students and researchers whose fields of study or interest overlap with yours, see where they now work and what their current roles entail. You can use this technique for any university or institution with which you have a strong affiliation.

Having identified individuals with interesting career paths, you can then explore their employers’ websites to learn more about what those organisations do, whether you would be a good fit, and any potential opportunities. See our Networking guidance for more tips on how to do this.

Remember: Be specific with your keywords when you search because the LinkedIn database is very large. Include ‘Oxford’ (or other institution), your college or your department to pinpoint people whose training and experience correspond to yours. If you then decide to get in touch with someone whose profile you have seen, having those things in common may also increase the likelihood that you receive a response.

This information was last updated on 05 November 2018.
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Recent blogs about What others have done

OXFO L.E.V8 Accelerator

Posted on behalf of Oxford Foundry. Blogged by Mike Moss on 20/09/2019.

OXFO L.E.V8 (Elevate) at the Oxford Foundry is the University of Oxford’s most diverse accelerator. The programme takes in up to 12 high potential ventures a year and is designed to support and nurture early-stage start-up teams affiliated to the university.

Oxford students, staff and alumni can get six months free support to build their venture. This includes mentorship, masterclasses, and access to the Foundry’s global network of investors and partners including Biz Stone, Cofounder of Twitter and Medium, Jenny Tooth OBE, UK Business Angels Association, Professor Bill Aulet, MIT, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Robin Saunders, Managing Partner at Clearbrook Capital.

Ventures also get support to build a team – many ventures have met their cofounders through the Foundry, along with leadership and resilience skills support, financial, business, pitching, product-market fit, customer development and legal advice.

To date, the Foundry has supported 19 start-ups who have raised £7m, created 70 jobs and are having a global impact across sectors including retail, medtech, energy, publishing, fintech and more.

The accelerator is based in our Oxford Foundry building on Hythe Bridge street and runs from 18 November 2019 to May 2020.

“The Foundry has accelerated our growth by providing a space devoted to entrepreneurship, giving us access to people with diverse talents and expertise, and to its network of investors. It has been incredible. Such growth wouldn’t have been possible without the Foundry. We are now focused on raising capital and sales and marketing. We want to sign ten new clients by the end of the year.” Jason Lacombe, CEO, Veratrak.

We welcome solo founders and teams and it’s a fantastic chance to be part of a supportive and expert community.  The programme is equity-free.

Apply online on the Oxford Foundry website. Deadline: 30 September 2019.

International Mathematical Olympiad: Exclusive talk and weekly cash prize competitions

Posted on behalf of G-Research. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 28/06/2019.

G-Research, a leading quantitative research and technology company and long-standing Oxford recruiter is sponsoring the International Mathematical Olympiad 2019.

Weekly Competitions

To celebrate this, they are launching a weekly mathematical challenge in the style of IMO problems – with a cash prize of £1,000 each week for the first person to submit the correct answer. A ‘warm-up’ taster challenge will go live on Monday 1 July, and the first cash prize challenge will go live at midday Monday 8 July. You will find the puzzles here >>

Exclusive talk on Combinatorics: Monday 22 July, from 18:00

Professor Po-Shen Loh (Carnegie Mellon University), national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team will give a talk on combinatorics in London on 22 July.

When Bare Hands Fail: An Interactive Talk on Combinatorics with Po-Shen Loh,

Where: The Royal College of Physicians, 11 Saint Andrews Place Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4LE
When: Monday 22 July, from 18:00
Reserve your place: please email Alex.Whitlcok@gresearch.co.uk – places are limited and first come, first served so register ASAP to avoid missing out!

This interactive lecture will use one of the most difficult problems from a recent USA Mathematical Olympiad exam to illustrate the connections between modern combinatorial problems and theorems and techniques from other branches of mathematics, such as algebra, probability, and even topology.

Free event, and travel to and from the event will be reimbursed – please remember to bring your receipt with you on the day.

Bolstering your core employability skills – for Researchers

Blogged by Rebecca Ehata on 21/05/2019.

Do you know which skills employers are looking for – and which of these you already have? Are you looking for tips on how best to communicate your skills to employers?

Come to our workshop for DPhil students and research staff, Bolstering your Core Employability Skills for Researchers, to learn what core employability skills are, how to identify your current skills set, and how to demonstrate these in the job application process.

When: 4 June, 13:00-16:00
Where: Seminar Room B, St Cross Building
Book your place here.

Researchers in Schools programme: applications close 27 May!

Posted on behalf of Researchers in Schools. Blogged by Rebecca Ehata on 08/05/2019.

In the UK today, there is an entrenched link between household income and educational success. Pupils from low-income backgrounds are far less likely than their wealthier peers to attain five good GCSE grades, progress to higher education or have a fulfilling career.

The Researchers in Schools programme tackles this by mobilising the research community to become outstanding classroom teachers, as well as champions of evidence-based practice and higher education.

We offer PhD researchers a unique, generously-funded route into teaching tailored to your abilities, knowledge and experience. Through our programme, you’ll develop the skills to become a highly-effective classroom teacher, helping support pupils, regardless of background, to excel and progress to higher education.

  • Complete our Research Leader in Education Award, a fully-funded, three-year programme of professional development designed around the PhD skill set;
  • Create and deliver Uni Pathways, a university-access intervention based on your PhD, aimed at increasing target pupils’ chances of attending a highly-selective university;
  • Take one day of protected time each week to work towards the RLE and Uni Pathways;
  • Receive honorary academic status at a research-intensive university, providing access to research facilities and a network of academic support;
  • Benefit from competitive financial support, including generous funding options for your training year.

For more information and to apply, visit www.researchersinschools.org. Applications close 27 May 2019 so please submit your application as soon as possible!

May is a month of career development opportunities…

Blogged by Rachel Bray on 02/05/2019.

This term is already flying along… Take some time out of your research to reflect on your career development, and make some easily-actionable plans.

Join us for an updated Career Management workshop for DPhil students and research staff in one of three locations during 4th week:

  • Tuesday 21 May, 10:00 – 12:30 (followed by lunch), St Luke’s Chapel, Radcliffe Obs Quarter. Register here.
  • Wednesday 22 May, 10:30 – 14:00 (lunch provided), Gottmann Room, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford, OX1 3QY. Register here.
  • Friday 24 May, 10:00-12:00, Seminar Room A, English Faculty (St Cross Building). Register here.

This interactive workshop – piloted last week and received excellent feedback – will enable you to to step back, consider future possible career paths, and identify what you have to offer to employers within, or beyond, academia.

Topics will include job satisfaction, your values, career motivations and transferable skills. Our focus will be on making the most of what you already have, opportunities to boost any core employability skills during your time at Oxford and how to articulate these to others, whether in person or in applications. We will also share  top tips on effective, mutually-rewarding networking

You will be encouraged to draw your insights together to begin a realistic personal career plan and to consider your next steps.

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