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A collaborative guide to take you through all the steps of university life.

Top 10 hints when starting your first academic job

Professors Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman develop on ten valuable hints for ECRs starting on a new job.

Finding a Scholarship Project

Project based PhDs are not normally an open call for projects, academic staff will offer specific and clearly delimited PhD proposals which the successful candidates will be expected to carry out. These PhD projects will normally include some direction around: aim and objectives, theoretical and contextual literature, and data collection plan (including access to data). With a fully funded three year full-time PhD Scholarship, you could expect to see included: PhD fees; maintenance allowance which are often tax and national insurance exempt and is expected to cover normal living expenses; a contribution towards conference attendance, and additional funding may be available for research training.

An introduction to combining a PhD and a job

Completing a PhD and working full time? As easy as translating hieroglyphics is to Professor O’Gorman. Or identifying aeroplanes by their wingspan is to Dr. Maclaren. Im not so sure. I was certainly sceptical. Especially because my job wasn’t just any job. For the first year of my PhD I was a professional rugby player, representing Scotland on the HSBC Sevens World Series. Without going in to too much detail, this involved travelling the world for approximately three months every year, travelling to such destinations as New Zealand, the Gold Coast in Australia, Tokyo, Las Vegas and South Africa. Certainly not the worst job in the world. And it was a huge honour to represent my country playing a sport I love. However it is not the most conducive to any kind of studying, never mind the trials and tribulations of a PhD.

Patience, perseverance and publications

I recently got an acceptance from a journal for my article: “Exploring the disconnect in policy implementation: A case of enterprise policy in England” but only after nearly 3 years of writing, rewriting, editing, and addressing comments from colleagues, reviewers, and the editor. No-one told me that the publication game took so much time, patience and perseverance not to mention pain. The only mantra I heard over and over again was “publish or perish” – this old adage is alive and kicking, and more often than not, keeping me awake at night!

Top Ten Hints on Building Your Academic Reputation

By about the mid-point of your PhD journey, it becomes apparent that getting a successful completion signals not the end per se, but the end of the beginning. For some, the PhD is the summation of their academic endeavours, allowing you to retire undefeated from the world of education bearing its highest accolade. For others, especially those aspiring to an academic career, PhDs are the entry ticket to a world where reputation is all. So how do you build your academic reputation?

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