• Research Careers beyond Academia

    White silhouette business people walking in digital world
    September, 3 2023, Noor E Karishma Shaik


    This blog post discusses different job opportunities for researchers outside academia. Additionally, the post highlights that the skills developed in academic research, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis, are highly sought after in the tech industry.

    Academic researchers who want to transition into alternative or adjacent careers to academia face a unique set of challenges. Although the skills they develop in academic research, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis, are highly valued in the job market, researchers may struggle to convey the value of their experience to potential employers. Additionally, they may need to acquire new technical skills or learn how to apply their existing skills to new contexts.

    To overcome these challenges, researchers can utilize their professional networks and seek mentorship from individuals with industry experience. They may also choose to take online courses or attend bootcamps to develop new technical skills. Finally, it is helpful to tailor resumes and cover letters to emphasize the transferable skills gained through academic research.

    Despite the difficulties of transitioning from academic research to industry, it can be a rewarding opportunity to apply research skills in new and exciting ways. Here are some specific jobs that may interest academic researchers:

    Machine Learning Engineer/Data Scientist

    • Develops machine learning models and algorithms for real-world applications.
    • Requires a PhD or demonstrated experience in machine learning and deep learning.
    • Strong programming skills in Python, R, C++, or Java.
    • Familiarity with machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch, and scikit-learn.

    Research Scientist

    • Conducts research in a specific field and publishes findings.
    • Needs experience in project or funding management and technical expertise in the relevant field.
    • Requires a PhD and a demonstrated track record of conducting and publishing research.
    • Strong critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, as well as the ability to work collaboratively as part of a research team.

    Project Manager

    • Oversees projects to ensure they are completed on time, within budget, and to stakeholder satisfaction.
    • Works with cross-functional teams to develop plans, identify risks, and manage timelines.
    • Needs experience in project management methodologies and tools.
    • Communicates project status and progress to stakeholders and senior management.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in business, engineering, or project management.

    Research Grants Officer

    • Helps researchers prepare grant proposals and manages the grant application and award process.
    • Works with academic researchers to secure funding for research projects.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business or finance.
    • Needs experience in grant proposal writing and project management.

    Data/Quantitative Analyst

    • Develops and implements mathematical models to solve business problems.
    • Analyzes large data sets, identifies patterns and trends, and creates statistical models to inform business decisions.
    • Requires a strong background in statistical modeling, data analysis, and programming languages like Python, R, SQL and Scala.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field, such as mathematics, statistics, or computer science.

    Data Privacy Manager

    • Ensures the organization complies with relevant data privacy laws and regulations.
    • Develops and implements data privacy policies and procedures.
    • Works with cross-functional teams to ensure compliant data collection, usage, and storage.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field.
    • Needs experience in data privacy compliance and risk management.

    Science Communicator/Technical Writer

    • Creates clear and concise documentation for technical products and services.
    • Works closely with product development teams to translate scientific concepts or technical information into user-friendly documentation.
    • Strong writing skills and a background in technical writing or a related field.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field.

    Technical Recruiter

    • Identifies and recruits top talent in the industry.
    • Works with hiring managers and HR teams to understand the needs of the organization and identify potential candidates.
    • Requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field, such as business, psychology, or human resources.
    • Needs experience in recruitment, sourcing, and talent acquisition.

    These are just a few examples of the many jobs available to academic researchers. While some jobs may only require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD experience in the relevant area is also highly valued. The eligibility and requirements for each role may vary depending on the organization. Here are some online sources you can explore for more information on industry jobs for researchers: Nature Jobs, Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, ResearchGate and Science Careers.

    Industry professionals often work collaboratively with cross-functional teams to solve complex business problems and improve decision-making processes. Strong problem-solving and analytical abilities, as well as excellent communication and teamwork skills, are essential for success in these roles. Therefore, these roles require a combination of technical and business expertise, as well as leadership skills to achieve targets.

    By leveraging their transferable skills and developing new technical skills, researchers can successfully transition to a rewarding career outside academia.

    Article Contribution: Noor E Karishma Shaik (Editor-in-Chief, IMPACT Blog) is currently working as Academic Researcher at University of Melbourne.