Pathways – Managing your Career in an Uncertain World

and there was even a free lunch...

Each year we run a major university-wide programme, “Pathways – Career Options for Researchers”.

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.

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
  • after his star turn in 2015, our Director of Student Life, Dr Paul Redmond will be back to talk about how job markets are changing and what that might mean for researchers (Paul’s a well known “turn” on TV, radio and at conferences across the world – always interesting, always entertaining, always positive and always thought-provoking – a great end to the day)

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)

Research/teaching staff:

Over half of our panellists last year had post-doctoral research or teaching experience in addition to a PhD.

If you’re a member of research/teaching staff, I’d recommend attending as early as possible in your current contract.

If you want to move on in academia, you’ll need to plan strategically to get the right publications, and make the right contacts. Talking to our panellists can help you find out how others have made that happen.

If you might be considering a move outside academia, that’s perfectly possible – but it does take some planning. This is where you can talk to people who’ve successfully made that move.

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.)

Got a PhD and want to talk about your career?
Could you contribute to a panel?

This event can only run successfully thanks to the generous support of those who have “been there themselves”. If you have a PhD, ideally gained within the last 10 years or so, we’d love to hear from you – you don’t have to be a Manchester alumnus.

With the informal format of the event, there is no preparation required for taking part in Pathways, other than to give us brief career information which will be made available to delegates online. You tell us which times you are available, and our professional Events Management team will do the rest.

On the day, we’ll organise and chair the panels for you, have lots of help on hand to let you know where you should be and to deal with any administrative issues, large or small, we’ll feed you and have (soft!) drinks on hand throughout the day in our “Green Room”, and take care of your travelling expenses.

A consistent message last year from participants was that they enjoyed themselves as much as the delegates, who were very appreciative of the time given up by those talking about their careers. You’re not expected to be career experts, just to give the benefit of your own experience – good and bad – to others following in your footsteps.

If you think you can help, please just drop us an e-mail at and we’ll be happy to e-mail or phone you back to discuss it – we’d be delighted to hear from you.

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