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Academic and Research Career

Research career is about moving forward to being fully independent as a researcher. It requires establishing goals and paths bearing in mind the type of existing positions, requirements, profiles, funding and institutions in your country and abroad. Research can be performed at universities, public research organisms and private companies and research organisms.

The European Framework for Research Careers (2011)  describes four broad profiles on the researchers’ career development, which are independent of any particular sector (universities, research institutions, companies or NGOs):

  • Researcher R1: First Stage Researcher. Individuals doing research under supervision in industry, research institutes or universities. It includes doctoral candidates.
  • Researcher R2: Recognised Researcher. PhD holders who have not yet established a significant level of independence, and researchers with an equivalent level of experience and competence.
  • Researcher R3: Established Researcher. Researchers who have developed a level of independence.
  • Researcher R4: Leading Researcher. Researchers leading their research area or field. It would include the team leader of a research group or head of an industry R&D laboratory. In particular disciplines as an exception, leading researchers may include individuals who operate as lone researchers.

Most people progress through a number of roles, when pursuing an academic/research career: 

  • Research-only role (where you spend your time doing only research with limited or no teaching duties).
  • Teaching-only role (wheremost of your time is for teaching with little or no time allocated for research).
  • Research and teaching position, i.e. a lectureship, where you will be expected to both teach and conduct research.

The route you take will depend on your interests, the funding and opportunities in your subject area and the job market at certain points in your career.

The League of European Research Universities (LERU) has made a study of academic careers pathways in some countries of Europe.