I submitted my PhD in Cell Biology in July 2012 and had my viva on 12th September 2012. Back then, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do (what my supervisor advised me to do/what my supervisor and his peers did), which was do a couple of postdoc positions abroad, get some papers out (2 or 3 Nature/Cell/Science if I had sacrificed enough goats to the paper gods), be successful in a fellowship application and start my own lab! Sounded straight forward at the time but if you are also a life sciences postdoc, I don’t have to tell you how ridiculously difficult that is for ALL PhD graduates to do! I won’t go on about this because there are many articles (from Nature, The Guardian, Smart Science Career, etc) out there to tell you about the woes of doing a postdoc!
What I do want to tell you is what people do after their PhD and why? And to do this I have enlisted the help of my friends whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with. They’ve all gone to pursue their career in exciting places (e.g. Nova Scotia, San Francisco and Manchester). Some are still doing a postdoc and some have gone to do non-postdocs. Why did they change (or not)? How can you do what they’re doing? Should you do a PhD? I will pass on their words of wisdom in a series of career profiles in the next few weeks to help you get a bigger picture of what alternative careers there are out there or why you should stick with it!
Here is a list of the post-PhD career profiles we have so far:
- Senior Scientific Researcher at Genetech, San Francisco, USA
- Medical Resident at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
- Research Business Manager at the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
- Medical Student at the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
- Medical Writer at Nucleus Global, Manchester, UK
- Postdoc at the Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK
- Study Director at MedPharm, Surrey, UK
- Project Manager at Imperial College London, London, UK
- Associate Medical Writer at QVX Comms, Manchester, UK
- Postdoc at the Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, USA
- Postdoc at UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, USA
- Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, London, UK
- Postdoc at UCSF School of Dentistry, San Francisco, USA
- Postdoc at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
The series is now complete. Here’s my summary of the trends why people stay/leave academia and the advice that was given for those who are thinking of doing a PhD.