Panellists required for RVC Careers Event

Looking to enhance your CV? Are you a recent PhD graduate completing a postdoc? Perhaps you are further into your career?

The Royal Veterinary College is looking for panellists to take part in a careers event it is running for its PhD students. The event aims to showcase some of the possible career options and will consist of two panel discussions; one of which will focus on roles within academia.

It could be a great development opportunity for your CV!

The event takes place on Tuesday 12th July at the Royal Veterinary College’s Camden campus, from 3pm.

We are looking for people who have themselves completed a PhD in the Biosciences field and are happy to talk about their careers. They could be just starting out on their career path, or have completed a couple of postdocs, or be further along their career path – all experience counts.

A bit more detail about what we hope panellists might cover over the course of the discussion:

*         A little about their background, why they embarked on their degree/ PhD in the         Biosciences

*         What motivated them to follow their current career path, a typical day in their workplace etc.

*         How they made themselves more ‘attractive’ to future employers

*         How they have utilized the skills they acquired in their degree/PhD in their subsequent careers

*         A description of a typical day in their place of work

If you are interested in taking part or would like further information, please contact Kirsty Whitelock, Careers Consultant at RVC, via

Leaving the Ivory Tower: Careers Networking Event – 18 June 2015

kclif logo

King’s College London Innovation Forum (KCLIF) is proud to announce their second Leaving the Ivory Tower: Careers Networking Event which will be taking place on 18 June 2015 at Chapters, Strand Campus. Doors open at 5pm with the event starting at 5.30pm.

Leaving the Ivory Tower aims to shed light on potential opportunities for PhD/post-doctoral students interested in pursuing careers outside of academia. Designed in a format that encourages intimate and meaningful conversation, a series of expert speakers from a wide range of industries will host small focus groups of 10-12 students for 15 minutes at a time.

The round table sessions will be followed by a networking reception with refreshments to enable guests to continue discussions with industry leaders.

Please click here to register. We look forward to seeing you on the 18th June.

Kind regards,


King’s College London Innovation Forum (KCLIF) are an affiliated group of the international Innovation Forum network assisting postgraduate students (Masters, PhDs & Postdocs) in developing knowledge for careers outside academia. We are currently looking for new students who are interested in joining the executive team to carry on our successful work-to-date. Please do get in touch with us if you would like more information / are interested in joining. Thank you.

PT Vacancy for Post-doc Researcher (deadline this Wednesday!)

Post-Doc Researcher, Cultural Enquiry (Part-Time)

Recruiter: King’s Cultural Institute, King’s College London

The main focus of this placement is to work as part of a small team to support the smooth running of the Enquiry which will hear evidence in to the potential role of the cultural sector in relation to future major sporting and other events and produce a series of recommendations for policy makers, event organisers and practitioners. The role has two main responsibilities: leading the research activity for the Enquiry and providing high level administrative support.

This project will be funded by Legacy Trust UK.

Duties will include:

  • Preparing and Presenting evidence for the Enquiry
  • Researching relevant topics
  • Mapping existing relevant activity and organisations
  • Maintaining an updated record of all submissions, interviews and consultations
  • Collating information
  • Synthesising into key findings
  • Presenting findings in an accessible way
  • Drafting the final report
  • Administering the Enquiry process
  • preparing, circulating and storing Enquiry paperwork
  • drafting agendas and lines of questioning
  • researching and preparing evidence papers for the Enquiry
  • organising meetings and events
  • making notes during meetings and producing a formal accurate record for circulation
  • ensuring that all Enquiry papers are stored appropriately and that systems are in place for long term reference whilst upholding confidentiality.

This project will be funded by Legacy Trust UK

Approximately 3 months from September – November 2013.

Interviews to be held on Friday 16 August.

Where do people get career inspiration?

Sometimes in my conversations with researchers, we get to a point where it turns out that the researcher, expert in their own field, needs a hand with figuring out what other careers there actually are in the world.  Here are some ways that I think you can find inspiration:

1) Talk to family and friends

Friends of mine, at Christmas, spend five minutes or so asking their family members what they actually do in their daily working lives.  (It reminds me that I’ve never really known what my own family does, beyond my teacher parents!).  You can extend that conversation by asking who their colleagues are and what those people’s job roles are.  Ask what they like about it, what makes them feel good, what they would change.

2) Read job adverts

Adverts are a great source of information.  Not only do they tell you about the specific job on offer, but they give you job titles (that you can then search for in different organisations); they give you salaries and benefits (always handy to know); they give you organisation names (that you can then search for vacancies other than the one on offer).  People in the careers business call this ‘Labour Market Information'; you could call it inspiration.

3) Listen to other people’s stories

If you don’t think your own family and friends have provided enough inspiration, take a look at and specifically these videos, based on the stories of PhDs and post-docs.  You might not like the editorial style (it’s a bit jumpy for me) but I like to hear about what people’s jobs actually involve and how they got into them.  Again, these people don’t necessarily have the same backgrounds and experiences as you, but they show what it is possible to achieve and what factors influence decision-making.

4)  Be curious

It’s becoming a dreadful habit for me, but whenever I see something interesting (a poster, a beautiful fabric, an exhibition), I start to think through all the different roles involved in getting that ‘thing’ produced.  Designers; people that commission design; people that research markets or exhibitions or pricing or packaging; manufacturers that create things and their marketing teams that get the thing in front of the public; journalists and PR teams that make sure the public knows about the thing; transport planners and logistics managers that allow the public to get in front of the thing; software designers that ensure the public can tell their friends about the thing.  And on it goes.  Where in the chain of that process can you see yourself?  What do you find yourself being curious about?

5) Decide which bit of what you know about already you want to stick with

So, you’re a researcher, in a university.  If you wanted to (and if there were the right job available), you could stay in the university as a lecturer or other researcher.  Or, you could think about the university as an environment in which to work – ie what other sorts of jobs are available in them?  You’d be surprised how many PhDs and ECRs work in universities in administrative capacities.  Or look at those organisations intimately connected with the university, such as grant-giving bodies (or REF co-ordinators?).

Rather than focusing on the environment, you could focus on your knowledge.  Who else is interested in your knowledge?  Is there an associated charity, think tank, industry research organisation, museum or learned society that would like to use it?  Or is time to transmit that knowledge to others by teaching?

Rather than focusing on your knowledge, focus on your research skill.  Where else can you turn this skill to good use?  Think tanks, policy organisations, market research, industry research, government or journalism might all use research in one form or another.

Rather than any of these reasonably well-known (to you) factors, think totally out of the box.  Use to find out information about other jobs (use the ‘Related Jobs’ link to help you diversify from one job title you might have thought about); or use industry tags such as ‘policy’ at  Or, work for yourself – search this blog using the Entrepreneurship tag for help.

(With thanks to Tracy Bussoli for the logic behind this suggestion!)

I bet there are more ways to be inspired: what can you come up with?

Career Spotlight: being an entrepreneur, or, Tucker’s Thirteen Tips for starting a business

Last week’s final Career Spotlight slot was taken by Dr Andrew Tucker, from Mettle Consulting.  Dr Tucker talked through the stages in his career which have led him to the point where his company has just received substantial investment from some new backers.

Career to date:

After an MPhil, Dr Tucker worked for the LibDems for a few years and then joined a start up dotcom business.  He moved to the US for his PhD, researching trust, and came back to the UK to find work variously as an academic and consultant.  He launched one business, Trusted Reputation, which did not work, and then found funding for a post-doc from the ESRC.  Finally, in December 2010, having found a business partner, he launched Mettle Consulting.  His PhD thesis, subsequent book chapters and then the post-doc research, were the basis for the businesses and were crucial in being able to create his own PR when approaching clients.

Lesson 1

Don’t listen to people who are ‘experts': they are likely to put you off!  Certainly listen to common sense (see Lesson 5 below) but if you believe in something, go for it.

Lesson 2

Work for cash, not sweat equity (share options).  Dr Tucker’s experiences at the dotcom start-up showed that you should value your own labour.

Lesson 3

Do something you enjoy.  Starting a business is almost as hard as doing a PhD: the perserverance required is similar but in both instances you have the feeling that you have actually achieved something.

Lesson 4

Finish your PhD before you start a business.  You’ll need massive amounts of energy and time and the two are likely to be hard to combine.

Lesson 5

Listen to your wife/husband/partner/family.  You might not have to take their advice but they know you and your abilities.  You will need them when, on day 1, you have neither clients nor contacts nor cash: they will help you learn from the awfulness of that to get through to day 2.  Find yourself advisers (Dr Tucker has about five people with whom he talks through ideas).  Again, you don’t have to take their advice but they will help you find your voice, just as you are finding your voice through your PhD.

Lesson 6

Find your USP.  Don’t join the hordes – they have clients and form.  You are the expert in your field – the PhD proves that – so you must be the go-to person for clients.

Lesson 7

Find a business partner.  They should be your mirror image in terms of skill set.  Dr Tucker met his at a conference and was called up by him a couple of years later when the partner had spare capacity to support a new business.

Lesson 8

Be lucky!  Or opportunistic.  Be in the right place at the right time (eg meeting the right business partner).  If something is not working, change it.

Lesson 9

Bin the first business.  Fail fast.  People just don’t make a success of their first business, so get it out of the way quickly.  It will be very painful but you will learn a lot from it.

Lesson 10

Don’t be an accountant (ie don’t expect a regular life!) but do hire one.  Dr Tucker did not pay himself out of his business for 18 months, wanting to ensure that the junior staff had a salary.  Only now is there a reasonable expectation of a good salary.

Lesson 11

Don’t give up your IP.  Find ways to make sure that you hold onto it: it is what gives you value.  It will be hard – a buyer or client might want it – but find other things to negotiate on.

Lesson 12

Play the long game and don’t aim for everything all at once.

Lesson 13

Be a leader.  You will have to turn yourself from a one-man band to someone that other people are turning to for direction.  But eventually you will need to trust these other people so that they can focus on the work and you can focus on the strategy.

Career Spotlight: Life Science Consulting

Last week’s Spotlight feel on ex-KCL post-doc Muneer Ahmad, now a senior strategist at Lifescience Dynamics.  He gave a very detailed insight into his work and that of life science consultancies generally.

How did he get into consulting?

Whilst doing his PhD (at Imperial), Muneer ‘bumped into’ someone who was VP of a consulting company, at a conference.  This led to him doing some work editing business intelligence reports about drugs and possible markets.  He examined questions such as how did patients with cardio-vascular disease get diagnosed, how did they get treate, how patients complied or not with their medicine; all information that would help figure out how a market would develop.

He then worked for Oliver Wyman as a risk consultant, and then, on redundancy, took a role looking at prescription data with another firm.  All this experience served to make him an attractive candidate at Lifescience Dynamics.

What are the similarities and differences between business and science?

Both are about solving problems.  Both want to know a ‘truth’.  But business does not have the luxury of time; so you are looking to get the best answer within a given time, efficiently and effectively.  In both, you have to be a team-worker.  In business you are having to use your judgement more often, given that often you are not working with complete data.

What does Lifescience Dynamics do?

Active in over 80 countries, they have worked with the top 20 pharma companies on over 400 projects.  There are three main themes to their work:

1)  Competitor Intelligence.  Looking at pricing, understanding the pipeline, conducting interviews with contacts, finding out what stage clinical trials are at.  You might conduct ‘war games’ for a client, where you simulate what would happen if a competitor released a drug on the market and you would ‘develop a playbook’ of possible outcomes.

2) Market Research.  You are now not just ‘dumping data’ on the clients but also having to provide interpretation: answering ‘so what?’ for the clients.

3)  Market Access: covering pricing and reimbursement.  It used to be that decisions about what drug to prescribe were made by GPs; now more often these decisions are made at PCT/SHA level to give a formulary to their GPs.  You can say the market has gone from being prescriber-led to payer-led.

What is an analyst’s typical day like?

One project might need two or three analysts, one senior consultant and one project manager.  Imagine you had been given the task of writing a two page document on rheumatoid arthritis.  You would spend the day researching data, possibly creating a survey questionnaire, possibly talking to PIs working in the field.  You might be taken to client meetings where you would have to be sensitive to cultural differences (you may have been asked to research across 5-8 countries). ‘Be brief.  Be bright.  Be gone.’ is the consultant’s mantra!

PhD entry?

Many of his colleagues have scientific and PhD backgrounds.  You are always likely to start at the bottom (think of working as a freelance in disease information).  Your bosses may be younger than you.  But ‘clients love PhDs’!

Your careers consultant: five ways to use me

1) Are you wondering what you might do when your current research post comes to an end?  Perhaps you’d like some help deciding what the next best step could be.  I can act as a neutral sounding board for your ideas and help you to source inspiration and contacts for your next move.

2) Does your CV still date from your undergraduate days?  Have you figured out how to explain your research to a non-expert audience?  Come to a CV writing workshop on the Researcher Development Programme, and by all means use me to give you feedback on CVs, personal statements, application forms or covering letters.

3) Feel that your interview technique might be a little rusty?  Again, the RDP can help.  Or, you could book a practice interview with me to give you an employer’s eye view of your performance.

4) When was the last time you met a real live employer (excluding your academic colleagues!)?  Look out for our ‘Spotlight’ series next term or check out the careers events page on the KCL website.

5) Can’t come in?  No worries.  Keep reading the KCL Graduate School blog for regular updates on vacancies, conferences and careers information: take a look through the archives for lots of other topics.  Plus we could talk over Skype or just over the phone.  I’m working on a series of webinars for next term too.

To make an appointment, for the time being, please email  I see researchers on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, at Strand, and can come to Guy’s on a Friday.  Please include your phone number and email address in your email.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Latest Vacancy: Law Post-Doc in Australia

**The deadline for this post is passed, but this may help you identify employers, job titles or skills you need to research your next posting**

Details include:

Applications are invited from early career researchers of exceptional calibre for the Dean’s Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in 2013. It is an opportunity for researchers who have completed their doctorate (PhD or SJD) in the last five years to undertake research in a field consistent with the School’s research strengths. The appointment is part of UNSW Law’s strategic priority to attract researchers of high quality and potential in its key research areas.

Fellows are selected on the basis of their research accomplishments and potential, their academic career interests, and the capacity of the School to provide mentoring.

• The position is full-time, and is available for a period of two years at Level A or B.
• Level of appointment will be determined on the basis of previous experience and achievement relative to opportunity.
• An attractive relocation allowance will be offered to the successful interstate or overseas applicant.
• Applicants are expected to commence in or as soon as possible after July 2013.
• Women and people from equity groups are encouraged to apply.

See for more information.

A Phd to advise Phd’s…

Careers Adviser/Trainee Careers Adviser

From £31,233 (TCA) or £38,996 (CA) pa inc. London Weighting

If you enjoy communicating with people, want to join a diverse team and are looking for a role with variety and opportunities for training and career progression, why not join our team of Careers Advisers?

We recruit from all disciplines and we are particularly interested in candidates with a Science or Engineering background and/or with a PhD (plus some experience of work outside of academia), since some roles will focus on careers advice to Science and Engineering students, including research students.

Please refer to the Job Pack file for more information about the role.

Please visit to apply.

Closing date: Sunday, 7 August 2011.
First selection round: week commencing 15 August 2011.
Second selection round: week commencing 22 August 2011.


If you want to talk informally about this job contact

3 of our current advisers came too us after a period of postdoc’ing.