Intro: Tim Cahill is a UOW PhD graduate with a wealth of experience in consulting in the public, private, non-profit and higher education sectors. For those of you who were around then, he was a keynote speaker at the Careers Central/ Graduate Research School ‘PhD Career Futures’ conference in 2014. As part of his work for ‘Research Strategies Australia’, he has developed a number of short videos highlighting the opportunities for researchers in consultancy. Thank you to Tim for giving us permission to share this video on the HDR Career Conversations blog. In such an uncertain time in the job market, Tim argues you should think about consultancy as a career option, either full time or as a side hustle – here’s why…
Dr Tim Cahill is a UOW PhD graduate with 15 years experience working with stakeholders in Australia’s Research & Development sectors to maximise the benefits of publicly funded research.
He has held executive roles in the public, private, non-profit and higher education sectors, including as: Director of R&D Advisory practice for KPMG Australia; Director of Australia’s national university research evaluation, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA); Chief Data Scientist at The Conversation Media Group; and Director and founder of Research Strategies Australia.
His thought leadership has appeared in the AFR, The Australian and The Conversation, and his work has significantly contributed to the shape of Australia’s higher education research policy, including research evaluation and industry-university engagement.
He is an international expert in research evaluation, higher education policy, scientometrics, research commercialisation and research collaboration across sectors.
Connect with Tim via LinkedIn and listen to his Podcast: ‘Research Strategies Australia’
Intro:I have known Dr. Conor West, as a HDR student, a project collaborator and now we are lucky to have her as a UOW colleague at Learning, Teaching and Curriculum. I love this honest account of her experience and feelings when finishing her PhD and working out what to do next. I think most readers will relate in some way…
Like many of us, the doctoral-shaped monkey on my back seemed to gain weight as the years of my PhD passed by. By the end, it was only my innate stubbornness and fear of disappointing others that kept us together.
I spent much of those four years riding waves of passionate curiosity and troughs of seething disappointment. Not that it mattered, as regardless of how I was feeling, my monkey always required something from me. Time away from it filled me with guilt. I convinced myself that a break could wait until the tables had been re-formatted, a new article annotated, or the next page of feedback was applied. Life happened in the space it left; I always gave my monkey the attention it screamed for. Until, unceremoniously, my monkey was gone.
It was an ordinary Tuesday, working alone from home when I realised the monkey had run out of tasks to throw at me. I had suddenly found myself looking at a submit button, with my full dissertation attached to the box above it. I clicked submit almost as a reflex, akin to accepting terms and conditions. I messaged family and friends and posted about my almost-completion. In silence, I got up to wash the dishes and heard the ping of an automatic email from HDR administration with their congratulations and estimates for examiner feedback. It was all very underwhelming, as I knew my monkey would be back. Continue Reading →
Introduction: The Australian Postgraduate Research (APR) Internship program offers HDR students the opportunity to carry out a 3-5 month research internship with industry. Advertised internships at the APR internship website tend to fall into STEM research categories. However, the scheme is open to HDR students of all disciplines. So how can research students from other disciplines take advantage of this great opportunity? Here Amy Montgomery, a PhD student in Nursing, shares her (sometimes scary) experience of initiating an industry partnership and creating her own internship under the program – Well done Amy!
I started my PhD with ideas bigger than Ben Hur. I wanted to research and change everything in the world of Delirium Care. I think most PhD candidates can relate to me here. So, as all PhD journeys start, I spent time fine-tuning and condensing my idea.
Once my idea was developed, I tested it on a ward in a public hospital. The same public hospital I have work for my entire nursing career. The intervention worked and the results were positive!
Introduction: A question that can haunt many PhD students from the beginning of their candidature is, “what will I do after I’ve finished?” Jo Khoo recently completed her PhD at the University of Wollongong, researching the private health insurance system in Australia and its role in supporting patients with chronic and complex needs. All job searches can be daunting, but Jo’s had the added complexity that she was moving overseas! Here, she shares her experience of planning her post-PhD career path and how she secured her current position as a Senior Analyst in Clinical Informatics at Clarify Health Solutions, a health data analytics company based in San Francisco.
For many people, the post-PhD job search can be almost as daunting as the process of thesis completion itself! It is intensely personal, as research has become part of the candidate’s identity, and as a result, the process can be really isolating, particularly if you are going into less familiar territory and looking for a job outside of academia (which is the reality for most PhD candidates).
I have been working in the public service at the Department of Social Services for a little over two years now and enjoying it so I wanted to write today a bit about the differences you can expect moving from working on a PhD or Masters to the public service. Now while everyone’s experience is different, I want to touch on some of the differences you may experience, and in particular the differences that I did not expect. Continue Reading →
Introduction: Research on the career outcomes of research graduates show approximately 6% are working in the government sector after graduation*. Public service recruiters recognise the added value that a Higher Degree Research graduate can bring and actively welcome applications. Dr. Katia Alferova applied successfully for a government department role in 2018 – here she shares her experience of the recruitment process.
Considering various opportunities to apply my skills and knowledge in practice, I was determined to find a job that would allow me to use my analytical capabilities and research experience while performing day-to-day professional duties. This opportunity arrived with a position of a policy officer in the area directly connected to my research domain and the responsibility to provide advice to the government and inform its decision-making process. I would like to share my experience with those researchers and PhD graduates who are interested in careers with government agencies, with a focus on the recruitment process. Continue Reading →
Introduction: In recent years, career development researchers have focused on the role of chance and luck in career development. They’ve found that, although on reflection we have a tendency to ‘reframe’ our career success in terms of luck, there are certain behaviours and attitudes that contribute to taking advantage of ‘chance’ events. Dr Rachel Loney-Howes a Lecturer from the School of Health and Society here at UOW was ‘lucky’ enough to start an ongoing academic position 6 months after her PhD (yes – 6 months!) In this blog post, she talks about one of the behaviours that helped make that happen.
I still can’t believe my luck. Six months after graduating from my PhD from La Trobe University in Melbourne, I was offered an ongoing position here at the University of Wollongong as lecturer in Criminology in the School of Health and Society. Six months. I was under the impression that I would be casually or contractually employed for at least three – maybe even five years – before I would be gainfully employed, as so many of my friends and colleagues were and currently are. At an HDR Panel for post-graduate research students in the School of Health and Society, which ran in October 2018, I was asked to speak about how I got so lucky. What was it about my experience as a post-graduate research student that made me a competitive candidate for my current role? And what pearls of wisdom could I share with emerging ECRs that might help them as they enter the academic job market. In this blogpost, I discuss some elements of that “luck” I encountered during my candidature as a PhD student – most of which came about because I literally “showed up.”;Continue Reading →
rnolReflections from School of Health and Society Research Student Careers Event
Introduction: As HDR Careers Counsellor I recently contributed to a career development event at the School of Health and Society (HAS) which included a panel discussion followed by some interactive career exercises. You guessed it – we asked for a volunteer to write a blog piece. Faysal Kabir Shuvo, a PhD researcher in HAS volunteered to share his learning from this event co-ordinated by the Head of Postgraduate Studies, Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng.
Dr. Iain Butterworth (far right) sharing his career story, pictured alongside Dr. Rachel Loney-Howes and some of the HAS research student audience.
The objective of this workshop was mainly to guide post-PhD career planning. The workshop was an excellent mix of professionals sharing their career journeys. Dr Iain Butterworth is the Head of professional services in the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Dr Rachel Loney-Howes, has recently been recruited as Lecturer in the School of Health and Society. And finally, we had Ms Sarah Ryan, our on-campus resource for all matters HDR careers. The workshop was nicely moderated by Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng, Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Health and Society. Motivated by my participation in the Careers Central Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Research (CRLH900) subject, I have started to explore a range of post-PhD career options. Therefore, personally, I was intrigued Continue Reading →
Introduction: One of the highlights of my role is hearing graduates share their career stories. It’s fascinating to hear how such divergent paths can share common themes. Careers Central collaborated with academics from the School of Medicine to run a PhD Careers panel and career discussion as part of the recent School of Medicine Research Forum. UOW PhD researchers Lauren Houston and Gabrielle Phillips both volunteered to write about their reflections on listening to these three wonderful career stories.
Introduction: Communicating the value of your research qualification in sectors where it is not a common qualification can be a challenge. Dr. Colin Cortie explains how he translated his PhD qualification by emphasising transferable skills in this useful post focussed on recognising your skills, addressing selection criteria and preparing for interview.
Completing a PhD will give you a lot of skills, but are those skills useful outside of academia? Will they get you a job? I had to ask myself these tough questions when I finished my PhD and started looking for work outside of my academic field. At that point I wasn’t even entirely sure what my skills were outside of very specific lab-based techniques, and so I asked for help from the HDR careers counsellor and attended a careers session called ‘Get Shortlisted: Resume and Selection Criteria for HDR students’. As part of this training we looked at the Australian Qualifications Framework , and I was pleasantly surprised to see that people with PhDs have the “knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and leading practitioner or scholar”. That sounds impressive (and it is), but is it employable?