Just to introduce myself, I am currently a Research Assistant at Newcastle University Business School. I joined the world of academia in May 2011, having previously worked in commercial (public sector) research and consultancy for the last 10 years ish. More about that another time, but my experiences may be of interest to others, hence sharing through this blog.
Part one of my experience has been to quickly get reacquainted with academic literature, learn qualitative data management software (NVivo), and remember how time-consuming and slow the process of transcription is. Part two has been to understand the place of research in the university context, understand my place within it and figure out a new career path.
It’s this last element which has been much on my mind recently, and taken time to understand (not sure I’m there yet). Things I know for sure- 1) PhD is a must if I want to become a lecturer 2) getting work published is vitally important 3) getting work published in the right places is vitally important (3* and 4* journals). Things I still don’t know- 1) how to get PhD funding for a topic that both interests me and interests the funders 2) how to respond to multiple reviewers who may disagree 3) why some journals are considered a higher star rating than others and what difference this really makes.
My current position is managing a short term contract, hourly paid seminar work, and paying the bills. Despite this juggling, things are going well so far! More to follow, if you’re interested. Comments, advice, tough love welcome.
In Tuesday’s Guardian I read an article about how the Research Excellence Framework (REF), due to replace the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2013, could make life even more difficult for researchers.
Among the issues looked at in evaluating research, it is proposed that the impact of research outside of the academic world should be taken into consideration. It is anticipated that 20% of the evaluation will judge impact, output will make up 65% and environment 15%. Impact will be measured using case studies that show evidence of public engagement or benefiting the wider community.
Closing Date: 18 November 2010
Interviews to be held on 10th December 2010
Job Ref: A784A (IHG)
I have read a number of articles recently that report how demoralised people are who are entering the job market – whether they are new PhD graduates leaving university or experienced researchers looking for a new post or career change. Job seekers report that there are no jobs available and where there are jobs, competition is fierce (even more so than usual). What is interesting in these articles, is a discussion around the issue that much of this perception seems to be coming from media reports of the job market, rather than actual experience.
In reality, some employers are reporting that applications for posts are down – with people assuming they have no chance and ruling themselves out. University careers services are reporting lower numbers of job seekers at job fairs than in previous years.
I’m not suggesting that the job market is flourishing but perhaps there is more opportunity out there than you might think – especially if others are holding back. Have you talked yourself out of applying for something, or even thinking about your next move, because you think the marketplace is bleak? If so, where has this idea come from?
I’d be interested to know what your own experiences of this are, as well as those of your friends and colleagues.
Any thoughts or comments?
When I tell people I’m a writer, they ask me what my novel is about and if I have a publisher. When I tell people I’m doing a PhD in creative writing, I’m usually asked how a creative discipline functions within a traditionally academic environment. Actually, people usually ask if I think creative writing can be taught. For my answer, read this recent article in the Guardian Review by Rachel Cusk and pretend I’m there, reading it out loud and passing it off as my own words.
As a writer, there’s a clear – albeit financially unrealistic – career path: write a book then publish it. Repeat ad infinitum. As a creative practise-based academic, the boundaries over what I’m writing and why I’m writing it are much less clear, as are my thoughts about where I want to go next, and how I want to get there.
My PhD has prepared me for a career in academia but, having gone straight from my undergraduate MA Hons in English Literature at St Andrews University to an MLitt in SELLL here at Newcastle University, and then staying on for a Creative Writing PhD, I feel like I’m due a break from foot-notes.
So, for the first time since I started my PhD, I’m looking around the recession-scarred landscape to see what jobs both interested in and qualified for and trying to work out what I want to do once I’ve submitted my thesis
Over the next twelve months I’ll be finishing the writing-up process, going through my viva, and looking for paid employment. I’ll be blogging here regularly about the ups and downs of career hunting as a writer and a researcher, and what I’m doing in terms of professional development.
Viccy Adams is a final year Creative Writing PhD student at Newcastle University, funded by the AHRC. Her research examines the intersections between single-author short story collections and novels, with a particular focus on the contemporary British publishing industry.
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Many of you will be familiar with jobs.ac.uk – it advertises job vacancies in the HE sector. But there is more to it than that! Have you looked at the ‘Career Development’ section for example? It includes a salary checker, case studies and top tips, as well as an extensive range of useful articles. These cover a diverse range of topics – relevant to you whether you want a move out of academia or are aiming to progress your career within it. So whether you want to read about the skills required to present a paper at an academic conference, know what to include in a personal statement, consider using social networking as part of your professional life or look at new career ideas, you should find something here to interest you.
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