Pursuing an academic career

This page is aimed at early career researchers who are keen to follow the academic career route by carrying out further research positions and/or eventually becoming a lecturer. Understanding your motivations and how to develop further in this area may therefore be your main focus. The Researcher Development Framework, developed by Vitae‌, is a useful tool which details the attributes required to be an effective researcher and has been designed as an inspirational guide to personal development to help you make the most of your strengths. You may also find the Bristol academic career pathways and role profiles a useful resource in helping you to understand the different academic roles within the University. It is useful to have a look at these to see what skills and experience you need to acquire in order to progress. These will be similar to those that you will need whichever university you move to next and the jobs.ac.uk guide to moving up the academic career ladder (PDF, 427kB) will provide you with a useful overview, tips, and tested techniques for making yourself promotion-ready.

This is also the time to consider the realities of an academic career and if it really is the right route for you. Manchester University has developed an excellent online resource 'is an academic career for you?' which will help you to explore the realities of an academic career, help you decide whether such a career is for you, offer ideas to help you make it as an academic and also suggest alternatives.

The following sections offer you some useful questions to ask yourself and activities you can do to help you consider your next steps.

Becoming a lecturer

The skills you need if you are looking to become a lecturer.

Research fellowships

Support and guidance for successful fellowship applications.

Gaining teaching experience

How can you gain teaching experience to help your professional development?

Alternatives to a lectureship

Options if you would like to stay in Academia but not as a lecturer.

Movement and progression

The process and procedure to progress at Bristol.

Interviews and applications

Tips and techniques to improve your performance in the recruitment process.

Recommended Reading

These books are available for you to loan via the career service:

  • The academic career handbook by Lorraine Blaxter
  • Moving on in your career: a guide for academic researchers and postgraduates by Lynda Ali, Barbara Graham
  • Building a successful career in scientific research - a guide for PhDs and postdocs by Phil Dee
  • Success strategies for women in science by Peggy Pritchard
  • Successful research careers - a practical guide by Sara Delamont et al

Online tools and publications to help you consider your academic career: