Navigate your career prospects at the UNICA-Coimbra Group workshop for doctoral candidates

The 2nd UNICA-Coimbra Group international training workshop on career preparation for doctoral candidates will be hosted by the Centre for Advanced Academic Studies of the University of Zagreb in Dubrovnik, 15-18 October 2017.

Deadline for applications has been extended to Friday, 16 June.

The 3 ½ day programme will include presentations from keynote speakers, training sessions aimed at improving specific competences, debates and space for self-assessment and reflection on employability prospects and on the soft, transversal skills needed to respond to a global setting in constant change.

The workshop will bring together doctoral candidates from universities across Europe in a highly international and multicultural setting, which will allow them to meet peers who may have had a very different experience.

Participants will have the opportunity to step back and reflect, in a structured and guided manner, on the broad skills they have gained during their doctoral studies and that are key in the ever-dynamic global employment market.

In order to ensure a well-balanced geographical spread of participants, we invite each University to nominate maximum 2 doctoral students to take part in the training. The following items should be provided by 16 June 2017 to marta.wasowska@unica-network.eu.

  • A letter of endorsement, signed by the Rector/President or Vice-Rector/Vice-President of the University. The letter should indicate the contact details of the nominated doctoral student (name, surname, e-mail, phone number);
  • The candidate’s CV and statement of interest.

For further information about the workshop or about the application process, please contact marta.wasowska@unica-network.eu.

The fee for the participation in the training is €550 and includes: accommodation (4 nights) at the CAAS Residence, meals (breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches, 2 dinners) and the participation in the social programme.

For more events like this and advice on your future after the PhD, go to the King’s Do1Thing website. 

Follow the Graduate School on Twitter @KCLGradSchool for the latest updates on events and opportunities for PhD students at King’s. 

How to get a tenure track job in the USA

On 15th of May, Dr. Karen Kelsky from The Professor Is In spoke to KCL PhD students and researchers about  academic careers in the USA. She kept a packed lecture theatre engrossed with her tips and wisdom for over 90 minutes and didn’t pull her punches on some of the trickier aspects.

Our colleagues at UCL Research Careers have written a blog post summarising her talk which is well worth reading if you are applying for academic jobs in America.  Follow this link to read it.

Spotlight Series: Science Beyond Academia Nora McFadden – Science Procurement Manager, The Crick Institute

Nora’s career in science started with her undergraduate degree in medical microbiology at Warwick which she followed by jumping straight to a PhD at Imperial College.

After working as a post-doc she realised that she didn’t want to be a PI and couldn’t see a future for herself in lab-based academic research.

She moved initially to lab management at CRUK as the Crick was being developed and it was made clear to her that progression within her role would be possible. She became involved in procurement for the Institute as it was being built and works there currently, managing the purchasing of supplies and equipment for a large and complex institution.

Nora emphasises that science background is essential as she needs to understand the scientific context in order to effectively provide equipment and supplies as well as communicate effectively with researchers.

Her work is varied and requires very close attention to detail with lots of opportunity for project management. The skills of a researcher in managing, communicating and understanding data, problem solving, analysis, time management and being flexible and adaptable all come frequently into play. There are frequent opportunities to interact with the research the researchers and this kind of role can be great for those who don’t want to lose touch with science but do want to try a different profession.

The environment is often more formal than academic research. There are regular office hours and the culture is often more like that of a business than a university.

For those interested in applying for professional support roles within science, Nora recommends that you try to get some experience of and contact with people working in these roles and show your interest and willingness to get involved.

CVs and applications should be skills focussed and much less detailed than academic CVs as well as thoroughly tailored towards the role and institution you are applying for.

How to be well informed about working in life science

I want to work in the life science industry: How do I become more commercially aware?

As a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher, you may be considering a job in the life science industry. Without any previous industry experience, it can be an uphill struggle to show that you understand the sector, how it works, and how they make their money. This knowledge is known as commercial awareness and can take some time to develop. Often, it is developed once you are in a sector, as you become familiar with how the organisation works.  However, many employers want you to illustrate that you have commercial awareness on your CV and in an interview. It is therefore worth doing some research and trying to gain a little more expertise in this area. It will make a big difference to your chances of securing an industry job.

Here are four tips on how to do this:

 Hang out where industry people hang out!

Membership organisations such as OBN, OBR and OneNucleus often organise networking events where you can learn about current trends in life science and meet people from industry. Go along to an event, update your knowledge of the sector and speak to people about their jobs. It sounds obvious but networking within academic circles will not improve your understanding of how industry works.

Understand the sector

The life science sector has undergone a lot of changes over the last 20 years, with new business models evolving. Do your research to understand what is happening e.g. new business models now means that research and development happens within a range of organisations such as biopharmaceutical companies, medical technology companies, contract research organisations and not for profits.

Begin your research by reading online publications and following relevant people and organisations on Twitter e.g. The Government Office for Life Science. The following articles also give an overview of the life science sector in both the UK and globally, respectively:

Enter life science business competitions

There are several competitions that can help scientists learn about the commercialisation of research, which is an important part of developing commercial awareness. Try to enter such competitions as they often provide some training as well as exposure to industry experts.

 Get some work experience

This is difficult to achieve whilst continuing to do your research. You are already in a full-time job, after all! Some researchers take annual leave and some work at the weekends to broaden their expertise.  If potential work experience will benefit your current research or your PI, it might be possible to organise some time away from the laboratory.

Here are a few ideas for gaining work experience that will improve your commercial awareness:

  • Look out for part-time work opportunities doing consultancy work. These are sometimes posted on the Kings College London Graduate School Blog. Also look at the OBR website or Freshminds for occasional consultancy opportunities.
  • Sign up to the Kings Research Consultancy where you have the chance to work with an external organisation on a topic that relates to your research.
  • Look out for part-time work opportunities or project based work that can be done alongside your research. Look at Kings JobOnline for such opportunities and look for roles that have a business or commercial focus.
  • Keep up to date with business issues that relate to King’s researchers, by subscribing to and reading the Kings College London Graduate School Blog. Search in the ‘Business’ category on the right-hand side.

Many thanks to Dr. Tracy Bussoli for this guest blog. Find more about Tracy here.

Internship Opportunities Available for Postgraduates

Do you want to develop new skills through a paid summer internship?

Many students choose to engage in internships to help fund their studies and to gain skills to help with employability. Knowing this we thought we would share some opportunities which are available exclusively to King’s students!

Finding & Applying to Opportunities
New opportunities will be posted on King’s CareerConnect. If you are interested in applying for the Summer Scheme vacancies or if you are looking for Part-time work, you must first locate the ‘Exclusive Internships for King’s Students’ tab, and click ‘Search and apply’.

You can also find the Kings Internship Team on Facebook. They regularly post alerts to all new vacancies on their Facebook page so why not ‘like’ their page so you don’t miss an opportunity!

There is now also an RSS feed for opportunities advertised through the King’s Internships Part Time & Summer Schemes. Please use the URL to add to your webpages and KEATS pages: https://kcl.targetconnect.net/content/rss/kingsinternships

For a flavour of what schemes you could be applying for, please see the list of opportunities currently being advertised below:

Summer Schemes

Deadline  Opportunity title Company
20-Apr-17 Video Production Intern 1ClickPromos
20-Apr-17 Software Development Intern Sequel Business Solutions
23-Apr-17 Data Team Internship River and Mercantile Group
01-May-17 Business Development Intern BuddyHub
07-May-17 ETF Securities ETF Securities (UK) Limited
07-May-17 Marketing and Social Media Intern Kafoodle
12-May-17 Business Project Intern Celgene