Pathways: Career Options for Doctoral Researchers

pathwaysrenoldflowersYou’re always being told that networking is the key to exploring career options and strategies for getting into work, but where are you supposed to find the time and the contacts when you’re concentrating on your research?

Well, each year, we try to make it easier for you.

Instead of you having to find a load of contacts, set up meetings, and take multiple days out of your diary to talk to them, we find over 60 PhD qualified professionals and bring them to you – to Manchester, on campus, all on the same day.

Our Pathways event has been running successfully for 5 years, attended by hundreds of researchers each year.

When: Friday 7th June, 2013
Registration from 8.30am, 9.15 start, (free) lunch 1-2, 4pm finish (though you can come for part of the day if you have other commitments).

Where: Renold Building, North Campus
We’re back at Renold, now it’s been refurbished. It’s a nice venue for this event, with plenty of space for lunches and informal networking, and a wide range of flat rooms and lecture theatres (so less chance of running out of seats, as we did in some of our most popular sessions in University Place last year). If you don’t normally go to North Campus, think of it as an away day!

Want to attend? Online registration is now open
Important: If you want to be sure this event goes ahead, and that we book enough lunches to go round and venues large enough to seat participants, please register! We’ve just had to cancel a whole week of postgrad careers events for Arts, Languages and Cultures because registrations were so low, and I’d hate to have to do that again.

Who can attend? Doctoral researchers (current or past)
Any University of Manchester doctoral researcher, in any year, including those who graduated up to 2 years ago from this university, are eligible for a free place. If you attend another institution, there is a charge to attend (as the event includes catering), though your own university training department may be prepared to fund or subsidise you – ask them.

It is also open to any current University of Manchester member of research or teaching staff. Over half of the panellists normally started as post-docs, so this is as much a post-doc career event as a PhD career event. Having said that, the focus is on careers for those with a PhD, so if you’re a current member of research staff from an undergraduate or masters background, it won’t cover careers without a PhD.

This event isn’t open to either undergraduates or Masters – but if you decide to do a PhD at the University of Manchester, you’ll be welcome to attend from your first year onwards.

Wpathways2012ho’s going to be there? We can’t tell you yet (‘cos we’re still contacting panellists)
But come with an open mind and you’ll find really valuable advice and tips from some unexpected places. There are always panellists working both inside academia and outside academia – and those who started in academia but then moved on. We’ll upload a list of the profiles of most of the panellists the week before the event, but for information, here are some of last year’s panellists (pdf).

Some panellists come back each year, others just come for one year – there are always panellists who are attending for the first time, so you definitely won’t have seen them all before.

Will I find a job there? Frankly, no.
This isn’t a jobs fair (that’s the following week – more later). It’s the chance to find out how other PhDs found jobs, decided on careers and what they wished someone had told them when they were in your position. As most of them aren’t representing employers, you’ll get a frank (sometimes brutally frank!) response from them about what they thought of jobs they’ve done and how to avoid some of the mistakes they’ve made – something you really can’t get at a recruitment event.

So no employers then? Well … maybe (we hope so)
For the first time, following a suggestion from researchers, we’re hoping to add an employer panel in the afternoon, to give you direct feedback from people who recruit PhDs (and others), about what they look for and how PhDs can market themselves to employers. I’ll update you on this blog if we manage to set this up – fingers crossed.

Where can I get more information?

If you want any more info on the event, want to put in a plea for us to try and find someone for a panel (always a challenge but we try), or if you know anyone who’s now in work after having completed a PhD who would be prepared to attend (we do pay reasonable travel expenses and feed you) – just drop a comment here or email

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