For information about the C19 Matters Fellowship, an initiative jointly run by initiative jointly run by the British Association for Romantic Studies and the British Association for Victorian Studies, click here.
Postdoctoral and Early Career Resources
This page contains useful links for Early Career and Postdoctoral researchers. Whether you are looking for advice on how to turn your thesis into a monograph, or puzzling over the difference between a ‘Research Fellow’ and a ‘Research Associate’, the information below should point you in the right direction.
Please note: none of these links are sponsored by BAVS; they are simply helpful resources that other ECRs have found useful.
If you have any suggestions for other good resources to add to this list, please do contact us (see Contacts).
Searching for Academic Jobs
Most academic vacancies are listed on Jobs.ac.uk:
You can also sign up for email alerts in your chosen discipline.
Academic vacancies are also listed on the Times Higher Education website at:
Early-Career Positions Explained
Research Assistant: works on someone else’s project(s)
Research Associate: works on someone else’s project, but with more autonomy
Postdoctoral Fellow/Researcher: works on their own project
Teaching Fellow: often maternity or research leave cover. A full teaching load, so maintaining your own research/publication record is difficult, but great experience
Lecturer (entry level): Likely to be your first permanent job, but sometimes 1-2 year contracts
If you want to propose your own research project, the main postdoctoral funding bodies are The Leverhulme Trust or the British Academy.
The Leverhulme Trust offer the following funding opportunities:
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships:
Study Abroad Studentships:
The British Academy offer Postdoctoral Fellowships:
Please bear in mind that both the competition for both Leverhulme and British Academy postdoctoral fellowships is intense. The application process is also very involved. Make sure you leave considerable time for planning and writing your grant application, and discuss it in detail with your intended Research Institution.
The AHRC offers some Early Career research funding opportunities, but most of these schemes are aimed at scholars who already have a contract:
University Research Fellowships:
Some universities offer their own fellowship schemes, which may be equivalent to BA or Leverhulme awards. These opportunities will be advertised on Jobs.ac.uk and THES (links above).
Universities may also advertise positions for postdoctoral researchers which are attached to a larger research grant within the department or institution. These can vary from 1-5 year’s duration, and (often) come with no guarantee of a permanent job at the end of them.
Applying for academic jobs in the USA
Please see two useful articles on the US job market below:
Publishing your work
‘Getting your thesis published’:
‘Fiver Secrets to Publishing Success’:
‘The Art and Craft of Publishing in Scholarly Journals’:
Deciding if Academia is for you
Thesetwo sites are extremely useful for familiarising yourself with the realities of academic life, and for deciding if it is the right path for you:
http://www.beyondthephd.co.uk/ (interesting interviews with early-career academics)
http://www.academiccareer.manchester.ac.uk/foryou/ (a hard-headed look at routes into academia)
They also help with deciding what areas of you CV you need to work on over the next couple of years, to put yourself in a good position for getting a permanent job.
The following is a blog run by an early-career researcher, which gives an insight into life post-PhD:
Building your academic profile
To raise your public profile, and to maintain a profile page if you lose institutional affiliation, try:
You could also build your own website/blog in order to showcase your publications, teaching and research expertise. Include the link on your email signature.
Take a look at the following for helpful advice on building your professional reputation as you hunt for part-time or full-time jobs:
There is also excellent Early-Career advice at this blog, run out of the University of Warwick:
REF (Research Excellence Framework)
Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The last REF was held in 2014. The next REF has yet to be confirmed, but will probably take place in 2020 or 2021.
The results of REF 2014 can be found here: http://www.ref.ac.uk/
Useful blog post on the REF aimed at ECRs (though only relevant to 2014 REF): http://www.nadinemuller.org.uk/guides-to-academia/the-ref/
The Research Councils (including the AHRC) define ‘impact’ as ‘the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’. It is important to demonstrate the impact that your research might have beyond the university. Find out more below:
AHRC Impact pages: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/research/impact/
Impact Case Studies from the AHRC: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/research/casestudies/
RCUK Pathways to Impact: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/innovation/impacts/
RCUK Pathways to Impact – Case Studies: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/brief/impactcase/
Interesting article on Impact and Early Career Researchers: https://phdlife.warwick.ac.uk/2014/01/03/impact-and-early-career-researchers/
Blog post on Public Engagement – an aspect of Impact: http://www.nadinemuller.org.uk/guides-to-academia/public-engagement/
It is increasingly a requirement that publically-funded research is made freely available via open access (for example, to qualify for funding or to enter a submission for the REF). Find out more here:
Research Councils UK information on Open Access: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/openaccess/
Higher Education Funding Council for England: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/
An interesting short articles on the issues that OA raises for ECRs: http://openaccess.blogs.sas.ac.uk/category/early-career-researchers/
If you are interested in exploring Open Access further, you may want to read Martin Eve, Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge UP, 2014)