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Industry research

As a researcher there are options that will allow you to move beyond academia but still remain close to your research field. You may decide that you want to pursue a research career but in Government or industry; alternatively you may wish to move away from research and consider options that allow you to use your subject knowledge or specialist skills, perhaps as a journalist or technical author.

Continuing with a research career

There are a range of opportunities for you to conduct research beyond academia, most of which will depend on your subject, skills and experience. You need to provide evidence and convince potential employers that your research skills and expertise are relevant and transferable to their organisation.

Options include:

  • industry
  • public health laboratories
  • research institutes
  • research councils
  • NGOs
  • charities
  • central government
  • local government
  • trade unions
  • social research organisations
  • market research organisations
  • consultancy.

Using your specialist knowledge or skills

You could choose to move beyond research but still use or apply the knowledge you've gained. Some sectors and organisations will require further training and you may be expected to apply at entry level or through a graduate programme.

Options include:

  • technical or medical writing
  • technical/scientific sales and/or marketing
  • academic publishing
  • journalism
  • culture/heritage work
  • learned societies
  • HE sector (eg policy)
  • knowledge transfer.

Useful strategies:

  • Look at our PhD career stories for some inspiration!
  • Thoroughly research the area - you need to find out what skills the employer is looking for.
  • Consult the professional association, body or institute that relates to your area of research (or PhD) for research options in your field.
  • Specialist publications (eg Nature) are a source of information, ideas and vacancies.
  • Research councils UK - they may signpost you to employers interested in applications of your research.
  • Look at the biographies or profiles of staff working for organisations/companies - what experience have they got, and where have they worked?
  • Private sector research is more commercially focused and you will need to demonstrate business awareness (e.g. bids, budgets, funding).
  • Talk to your supervisors as they will have a network of contacts that you can tap into.
  • Speak to individuals working in these roles to gain an insight into the job role and organisational culture.
  • Network at conferences with representatives from non-academic bodies - what are they interested in? Could you find out more?
  • Research Student Skills Programme - identify and address any skills gaps.