Edinburgh Local GradSchool 2017

Edinburgh Local Gradschool is a three day non-residential course that gives you time to step back from your PhD, think about the skills you have developed and how they will help you to take that next step in your career.  You’ll have the chance to meet researchers from other universities or subjects and work on group case studies, which give you the opportunity to practice skills such as communication, networking, leadership, influencing, team working and time management.

The GRADschool is aimed at 2nd and 3rd year PhD researchers and has a strong focus on career development and personal impact.  As well as having a Careers Adviser on hand, our team of experienced tutors are from a range of backgrounds and will be able to talk to you about how their research background helped to get them where they are now. It is designed to support you in making informed choices about what you would like to do next, motivate you to write up and challenge your assumptions about your skills.

As a result of the programme, you will:

  • develop your professional and personal effectiveness
  • broaden your skills for becoming a more effective researcher, such as communication, team working, project planning, and decision-making.
  • plan and manage the next steps of your career
  • understand yourself and challenge your assumptions

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • meet doctoral researchers from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds countries, and career stages
  • work with experienced tutors as role models who openly share their career experiences both of research and other careers
  • practice building and working in a successful team

The course will run on Wednesday 31st May – Friday 2nd June 2017 from 09.00am – 5:30pm each day.  Participants MUST attend on all days.

For more details please visit: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development/postgraduate/doctoral/courses/gradschool/outline


Academic career stories at University of Edinburgh

Academic career stories at University of Edinburgh

The Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) have developed a new resource to showcase the academic career journey from PhD student to group leader or head of institute. You’ll find it useful if you’re interested in developing an academic career after your PhD.

The resource is a collection of video case studies from individuals at the University of Edinburgh who are at different stages of the academic career journey and across a range of disciplines. The case studies show the challenges and rewards of an academic career, and the personal qualities and experiences that can be influential in helping individuals to progress an academic career. In addition, the videos demonstrate the type of support provided by PhD supervisors, research group leaders, and other academic colleagues that has helped the individuals progress their academic career.

To view the resource go to:


Your PhD – More Than Just a Thesis


Completing your PhD is about so much more than finishing your thesis and passing the viva. There are a lot of expectations on PhD students now to gain experience and develop their skills. One reason why this agenda has been pushed at a national level concerns PhD graduate careers and researcher careers.

PhD graduates are not JUST seen as the next generation of University academics – they are being actively recruited by a wide range of sectors.  Only around one third of PhD graduates end up in a permanent academic post.

You can find more information about career destinations on the Vitae website in the What do Researchers Do? section.

Employers of PhD graduates rate them highly BUT there are specific problems often highlighted by those recruiting PhD graduates.

We want our PhD graduates to be aware of the skills they develop during their PhD and the full range of careers this opens up to them as well as making the most of their PhD to help prepare them.

Many employers value the skills that a Postgraduate researcher brings to them (more on these in a minute) but – by itself a PhD it is no guarantee of a job in any field. And as you all know – working in Academia is highly competitive.

It is down to you to sell the benefits of your experience and demonstrate how your skills translate. To help you to achieve this Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework contains a wealth of useful vocabulary which you can use to help you to articulate your skills. But remember to provide examples to illustrate how you have used these skills.

So, the key points here:

  • Get out of the office or lab and take advantage of the opportunities which are available to you
  • Keep a record of the skills that you are developing so that when you begin to write applications or update your CV you have it all there in front of you
  • Investigate the variety of careers which might be open to you and think about what skills you have which would help you do that job so that you can clearly tell the potential employers how you meet their criteria

Good luck!

Fiona McCabe (Doctoral Training Manager, IAD)