Alternatives to a lectureship

How about if you would like to stay in Academia but not have the standard lecturer role at Bristol.  Well here are some ideas of alternatives.

Academic posts

The standard lecturer role at Bristol involves a mixture of research, teaching and administration and leadership with the emphasis on research because Bristol is a research-intensive university.

Teaching-focused lecturer

If you would like to focus on the teaching side, you could pursue the teaching path within the Academic Career Pathway or you may wish to work within a teaching-focused institution such as the University of the West of England (UWE).  Here is a case study of a Bristol researcher who chose to make her lecturing career (PDF, 7kB) within a teaching-focused environment.

Research-focused lecturer

Some lecturers work in research-only departments, leaving them free to focus purely on research.  Here is a case study (PDF, 19kB) of a Bristol researcher who secured one such lectureship here at Bristol.

Indispensable researcher

Some researchers manage to get off the funding lottery by specialising in a technique which is crucial to the department and is therefore core-funded.

Researcher with long-term prospects

Some researchers work in departments in which it is possible to have a long-term career as a researcher choosing to remain on career pathway 2

Here is some advice from a Bristol researcher who has managed their career in this way:

"I'm a Research Fellow at the Norah Fry Research Centre where I do applied research which tries to improve the lives of disabled children, people with learning difficulties, their families and supporters.

I've been at Bristol since 1999 mostly on a whole series of short, fixed-term contracts, but more recently on a permanent one. I've stayed in research here through putting in successful grant applications with colleagues and at times it's been a massive personal and professional strain. Working pretty much only on external grant income is not enviable but it does mean you never get complacent and realise how important it is to be flexible and to keep your skills, knowledge and networks bang up to date.

My advice if you want to stay as a researcher in HE is to not be too precious about diversifying - into doing some lecturing, training, consultancy, freelance writing - all things that can take some of the pressure off of raising your own salary all the time."


Some academics work part-time on their research or teaching roles and take on other roles such as research facilitator.  If you think you would like to do something a bit different, ask around and see if there is someone that you can talk to who does a similar role here or at another university.

It is also important to revisit your original motivations for an academic career which can change over time. It can be easy to push any concerns to the back of your mind, especially if facing them may mean that you need to consider seriously whether your academic career is on track or even if academia is still for you. Perhaps look at our section on considering alternative career options so you are aware of what else is available to you.