Improving your chances

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Work experience and short internships

There are opportunities to build your skills, experience and understanding of careers outside academia by engaging with short term activities. These might be organised by you or by another organisation.

An example of the latter is the British Science Association Media Fellowships, which provide annual opportunities to spend 3 to 8 weeks working alongside journalists in a media organisation. Past placements have been provided by the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4 News and the New Scientist.

Competitions and awards

Prizes and awards for scientists are common but might depend on your discipline. For example, the Royal Society of Chemists has several annual awards publicised at:

Their website also hosts excellent careers information and vacancy lists.

Courses and qualifications

Do you want to, and is there time to, develop some further skills or gain qualifications to accredit your prior experience and expertise? Would it be helpful to shift your identity from university researcher to something else?

CQSD courses at the University of Reading

The Centre for Quality Support and Development at the University of Reading (CQSD) is available for all staff. On offer is a programme of over 500 workshops and courses. There is no charge for attendance at these sessions. A full list of courses and other useful information can be found at

There are also pages on the University website supporting the development of research staff. These can be found at

Certificate in Research Career Management

The Certificate in Research Career Management is designed for staff who are on a research contract at the University of Reading. The award is intended to show evidence that you are effective at managing the research process, and your personal and career development.

The programme, which leads to an award accredited by the Staff Educational and Development Association (SEDA), is based on a well established programme of staff development events for research staff and others, with the addition of a Learning Record and a Professional Development Record. Most courses start in November each academic year.

Courses outside Reading related to academic careers

Vitae, the national organisation supporting the career development of researchers, hosts Advancing in Academia courses for research staff. These are advertised on the Events page of the Vitae website. Details of current courses are advertised at:

Other courses and qualifications

Other professions have their own courses and qualifications. If you are considering career change, it does not take long to find something suitable for you. In some cases, you might decide to invest in a short course to help make the transition to different type of work. Many employers are happy to invest in training their staff and cover all or some of the costs; you are encouraged to think carefully before investing your own money. Courses and qualifications that others have found useful are in the fields of statistics, journalism, marketing, management, procurement and communications.

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    Carrington Building
    Reading RG6 6UA
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