May Newsletter for PGRs

and there was even a free lunch...

Each year we run a major university-wide programme, “Pathways – Career Options for Researchers”.  This article also contains links to advice on networking and how to use case studies of other people’s career to help you develop your own under How can I prepare? (useful even if you’ve been to Pathways before – or aren’t planning to attend).

Pathways 2017 will take place on

  • Friday 9th June ’17 – “Managing your Career in an Uncertain World” with PhD and employer panellists

Register here:

The official event info is here. If you want more informal detail and background, read on:

What is Pathways?

Now in its eleventh year, the University of Manchester “Pathways” careers event for PhDs and research staff makes it easy for you to get loads of relevant careers information, specifically for doctoral researchers.

We know you’re busy, and all that “networking” takes lots of time and effort, so we help you by bringing dozens of contacts to you – all in one place, on one day.

Is it any good?

In 2009 we were shortlisted for a Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers, which is great recognition. However, what’s even better is that now we’re bringing back people who attended Pathways as students and researchers, and who are now successfully established in their new careers.

How can I prepare?

Learning from other people’s careers is not always straightforward – it can be tempting to get caught up in what people have done rather than why people made the choices they did and how they managed their career. Why does this matter? Even if you aren’t interested in what people are doing for work, you may be able to learn a lot from how and why they did things.  This article helps you develop critical skills in using other people’s career stories to help you with your own:

Some exercises and ideas about developing your network map:

Read the background information on our panellists, also try and think who might be best placed to answer the questions of most importance to you:

What to expect:
Friday 9th June 2017, Renold Building

The morning will consist of “Question and Answer” panel sessions with people who have either completed their PhDs or moved on from university research posts in the last 10 years. Several panel sessions will run in parallel from 10.00-1.00, alongside more informal individual or small group conversations about careers in our Career Lounge – and there’s a free lunch.

All four Faculties and the Careers Service collaborate to attract panellists who have already completed their PhDs and are now working in a wide range of careers to talk to our current PhDs and research staff. You can never tell where PhDs will end up in their careers, but we’re expecting to see panellists in careers ranging from academia, lab based jobs, media and publishing, finance, teaching, communicating science, museums, business start up and more.

As there will be several panels or workshops running concurrently, we won’t be asking you to sign up to individual sessions in advance (too complicated, and everyone always changes their mind on the day anyway) but we will try to run some panels more than once.

On the day, it will be first come, first served for each panel. Surprisingly, this does seem to have worked remarkably well in previous years – sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

The format changes for the afternoon, with two larger sessions:

  • a panel of employers and others looking at the practicalities of getting jobs with a doctorate
  • Internationally renowned academic and trainer Dr Jen Allanson will be giving the final talk of the day: “Managing your Career in an Uncertain World”.

Who can attend?

If you’re a current or recent PhD or member of research or teaching staff from the University of Manchester, this event is for you, and it’s free.

Keep the date free and work on your supervisor or PI to persuade them it’s in their interests to let you attend.


If you’re doing a PhD, you can attend in:

  • your first year (to get you inspired & plan out all the fantastic things you’re going to do in your PhD)
  • your second year (to reassure yourself that the pain will stop, eventually, and that everyone else feels the same way in their second year…)
  • your 3rd/4th/5th/6th year (to convince yourself that you will finish this year, and there might be a way to be gainfully employed after all)


I’ve been before – is there any point in me coming again?

Yes, if your career ideas have changed, or if you want to get more suggestions from PhDs who’ve “been there, done that”, on how to turn your career ideas into actions. Some of our panellists are regulars; some are new to the event – come and hear what they’ve got to say.

Do I need to register?

Register here:

If you’re currently at the University of Manchester, remember to bring your university swipe card for Fast Track entry on the day. (For those without a University of Manchester swipe card, there will be an alternative sign in procedure.)


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