Job Fields in ACADEMIA

Research

In the past, greatest novel discoveries and innovations have been found by academic researchers. Thus, by following an academic research career path, you have the possibility to make a large impact by working on a research query which fascinates you most. The route towards a group leader or professorship position also brings along increasing independence to move forward own scientific visions and research ideas. Consequently, a successful academic research path enables great career satisfaction.

Given that tenure track positions as a group leader or professor are sparse and competitive, one has to prove its outstanding scientific as well as additional qualifications in order to reach such a position. During the lengthy time of PhD and postdoc positions with limited contracts, it is not only a requirement to perform great science and publish in peer-reviewed journals, but also to get involved in further activities and courses regarding supervision, teaching,third-party funding and collaborations, for example. Demonstrating increasing skills in the various areas, combined with networking at conferences and through collaborations, may open new doors for joint funding applications or new job options.

Although it requires a high level of self-motivation to follow this path and the salaries are rather low in comparison to industry, an academic science career usually reveals high job satisfaction.

At the same time it is a risky path, however, and most PhDs continue with a postdoc by default. It is thus highly recommendable to be self-reflective whether the academic research career is really a good fit or whether alternative options, also outside of academia, might be more suitable. Scientific support positions, such as head of facility or lab manager, may also represent alternative academic research positions.

But if you are driven by scientific intellectual stimulation and are passionate to deep dive into challenging research questions over longer time, than the academic research career is definitely for you.

Job Positions:

Postdoc, staff scientists, group leader, head of facility, professorship

Skills:

analytical skills, technical skills, project management, writing, leadership

 

 Links with further information

Postdoc / Group Leader:  

Professorship: 

Head of facility

 

Source: https://80000hours.org/career-reviews/academic-research/ Blackford, S. (2012). Career Planning for Research Bioscientists. UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Gramlich, P., Bodewits, K. (2018). PhD! And, next? A guide for natural- and life scientists. Munich: NaturalScience.careers

Science Management

Science Management is a growing job sector enabling strategic planning, organization and guidance in scientific institutions. Science management positions allow to remain closely involved with science, but away from the bench. Typical tasks involve coordination and management of scientific projects and collaborations, scientific consultations and support, communication and networking, conception and organization of tenders and sponsor programms, analysis of scientific development and development of strategies, and much more. Depending for which positions you apply, your task can differ greatly. It’s thus important to carefully interrogate those at interviews.
Scientific managers work, among others, at universities and scientific institutions (e.g. administration, research programs, third-party funding), at public science- and sponsor organisations (e.g. coordination of scientific ministries, research programs of EU) or regional organisations (e.g. city administration, scientific sponsoring).

In order to obtain a scientific manager job, it is essential, next to a PhD, to reveal experience in administrative tasks, involvement in scientific circles and first experience regarding third party funding applications. An interest in the development of scientific (political) systems and communication is a prerequisite. Scientific manager jobs are generally very interactive and involve multi-tasks, but mostly can even be carried out in part-time, thus being convenient for coordination with family life.  

Job Positions:

Research cluster management, compliance officer, grants officer, dean of graduate program

Skills:

organisational skills, project management, communication, writing, teamwork and independent working, multi-tasking, analytical thinking

 

 Links with further information

 

Source: https://www.netzwerk-wissenschaftsmanagement.de/index.php?article_id=130; Gramlich, P., Bodewits, K. (2018). PhD! And, next? A guide for natural- and life scientists. Munich: NaturalScience.career; https://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/studium/imstudium/careerservice/veranstaltungen/wissenschaftsmanagement.pdf

Education

Science education involves the teaching of science in the typical subjects of biology, chemistry, physics, maths and informatics  to non-scientists. Scientists enter the educational sector mainly as lecturers at universities or as teachers at schools.

The position as a lecturer or teaching professor (Lehrprofessor in Germany) at university majorly includes teaching of students and only allows some research on the side. Although permanent positions as teaching professors have been sparse until today, more and more universities are opening more of these positions due to the huge lack of professional lecturers.

Given a similar shortage of specialized teachers in schools, it is also possible to become a science teacher in an elementary or high school. Teaching jobs at schools are regarded as being very family-friendly with a reasonable salary for high school teachers. The way to become a school teacher after a scientific path at first differs greatly between countries and schooling systems. You can either start as a temporary teacher and attend part-time educational or pedagogic courses on the side, or you might be required to do some training on the job (Referendariat), before you can access a permanent position.

Job Positions:

Professorship (teaching), Research & teaching faculty position, Public outreach specialist

Skills:

Teaching/explaining/presenting science, communication, organisation

 

 Links with further information

 

Source: https://karriere.unicum.de/berufsorientierung/berufsbilder/quereinsteiger-lehrer   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_education; Gramlich, P., Bodewits, K. (2018). PhD! And, next? A guide for natural- and life scientists. Munich: NaturalScience.careers;  https://www.spiegel.de/karriere/karriere-an-der-uni-warum-manche-wissenschaftler-gern-lehren-a-836081.html