How to become an academic!

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So, as a first dip into this blogging world, here are my top tips for becoming an academic.  By this I mean a lecturer at a University and is rather limited to chemistry. I scanned my experiences as a researcher and created the following list, which I will add every so often (so you don’t get one humongous large post).

Getting a job in academia: A chemist’s (not a pharmacist’s) view.

Given the current economic climate in academia world, trying to become a full-time academic may not seem the most logical thing to aspire to, especially given the potential workload (more on that later perhaps).  So, based on my observations during the past eight or so years as an RA at Newcastle, here are my top tips for getting ahead and getting a job in academia.  Please bear in mind that my limited experience is based purely from a chemistry point of view and may well not apply to other sciences, engineering and almost definitely not the humanities.

Number 1- Get a fellowship.  This is possibly the quickest route to becoming an academic, unless you excel at steps 2-10, in which case you may already be there.

Fellowships are great because they let you carry out up to five years of independent research without (in theory) the additional encumbrance of teaching and administration.  There should also be a guaranteed job at the end of it, unless you spend all your time down the pub. A number of fellowships for various disciplines are available, and the BDD at Newcastle probably has a list somewhere.  The only drawback with applying for fellowships is that they are EXTREMELY competitive, with a success rate around the 2-5% mark.  This means you probably do need to perfect points 2-10 after all.  Hmmm.


One thought on “How to become an academic!

    Rachael Roberts said:
    23/06/2010 at 3:41 pm

    Ross, you make a really valuable point about fellowships.

    The Business Development Directorate support research staff to apply for funding, including promoting and supporting applications for fellowships. You can find out about the support available and look at the most recent newsletters advertising funding opportunities, on their website -

    So what’s tip number two?


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