Postdocs and final year PhD students from Engineering disciplines have taken part in a special, one-day Symposium held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and organised jointly by Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh.
The Engineering Postdocs Careers Symposium discussed typical career challenges for early career researchers and highlighted an array of potential career options that postdoctoral research staff might consider. Invited speakers included:
- Dr Elma Charalampidou (EGIS) and Dr Yuhang Chen (EPS) from Heriot-Watt University and Prof Lesley Yellowlees and Dr Alistair Elfick from University of Edinburgh who reflected on their career pathways and strategies in academia;
- Dr Brian Miller of uFraction8, Cyrille Mathis of ThinkTank Maths Ltd, and Dr Wim Rampen of Artemis Intelligent Power who discussed entrepreneurship and business development as a way for researchers to see their research make a difference to Society;
- Dr George Beckett of Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) and Dr Stephanie Glassford of Marks and Clerk LLP, who illustrated how research staff can successfully use their high level skills to progress from one discipline or sector to another
- Claire Pembleton from University of Edinburgh’s Innovations Consultancy team and Jim Berryman from the Innovate UK KTP programme who encouraged postdocs to consider undertaking consultancy or a KTP as a means to develop linkages with industry.
- Dr Sara Shinton, Head of Researcher Development at University of Edinburgh and former careers advisor and consultant, who very ably facilitated the event and discussion panels.
The Symposium was a joint initiative led by Dr Timm Krüger, Chancellor's Fellow and Postdoctoral Champion at the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh and Dr Peter Szabo, Postdoctoral Research Associate from the Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University.
The Symposium provided a great opportunity for early career researchers to discover new career paths and to understand career challenges in academia, industry or even both. The panels and speakers reflected that it is possible to steer our own careers rather than be driven by luck and change.
The event was jointly supported by the Schools of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS), and Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), Heriot-Watt University, and by the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh. Organisational assistance and guidance was provided by Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD) and Heriot-Watt’s Centre for Academic Leadership and Development (ALD). Head of ALD, Dr Ruth Neiland, said, “The Symposium was an excellent initiative to help our Postdocs widen their career ambitions within and beyond academia. It’s especially timely as the UK’s ‘Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers’ is currently being reviewed, bringing consideration of how best to enhance career development of research staff once more to the fore."