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Transition to Lecturer

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
In his 2002 Report “SET for Success” Sir Gareth Roberts stated:

“The academic career expectation in science, engineering and technology is that a good postdoctoral researcher will fill a couple of postdoc positions (ideally in prestigious research groups and preferably at least one outside the UK) and then take up a lectureship at a research intensive university.”

“Postdocs or other CRS not following this career trajectory often believe they are treated as “inferior” by the HE system, where most academic staff in SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) are the product of precisely such a career path.”

To hear what a senior Queen's professor has to say on planning your research career, click here.

Queen’s University, Belfast is a member of the Russell Group which is made up of the top twenty most research active universities in the UK. The research reputation of UK universities is rated every four years by a process of peer review. The next review is due to be completed in 2014. The university actively recruits top researchers for a range of posts (see current jobs).

It is difficult to get precise statistics on the success or otherwise of contract research staff in making the transition to university lecturer. At Queen’s the percentage is thought to be less than 10% overall and considerably less in the most research oriented Schools.

Queen’s criteria for appointment to lecturer posts stresses:

Research vision

You need a consistent track record of publications. By the time you come to applying for your first lecturing position you should have established yourself as an independent researcher. Establishing a network of contacts with which you undertake research can prove beneficial in this regard. Moving from contract to contract with a constantly changing research focus can be detrimental.

Also give some thought to your ideas for future research. Are you at the forefront of an exciting area with potential for new breakthroughs?

Research reputation

Your reputation will be judged mainly from your publications in prestigious international journals. Quality is more important than quantity. Being involved in organizing national and international conferences also counts.

Research sustainability

In a word, money! Does your research area attract substantial funding? As a contract researcher you cannot be the lead author on grant proposals but you may be able to contribute. Try to get your name on the proposal and aim to be the named researcher.

Teaching experience

Teaching experience at degree level is usually one of the essential criteria for a lectureship. Often the exact amount is not specified. Refer to the grant conditions under which you were employed to see if you are expected to carry out some teaching. You can also gain experience with the Open University (particularly with their Summer Schools) and in Further Education Colleges. Apply for the PGCHET to get your experience accredited.

Contact Information

Paul Gillespie
Careers Consultant
Tuesday 9am- 4:30pm
Thursday 9am- 5pm

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