PhD Horizons – what’s in it for you?

Niamh Nic Leoid, PhD student in Celtic & Scottish Studies and PhD Horizons Intern with the Careers Service, explains why PhD students shouldn’t miss this series of webinars.

With fewer than half of PhD holders in the UK going into teaching or research roles in higher education following completion of their doctoral studies, and even less having a long-term academic career, careers outside of academia are increasingly the destination for PhD graduates. The skills acquired during a PhD are valued in the job market and therefore making the decision to leave academia can be a very positive option. However, opening your eyes to the wide range of career opportunities available and how to translate your skills in a way that makes sense to your chosen sector can be difficult. 

Before becoming involved with the organisation of this year’s PhD Horizons I had made the decision that I was most likely not going to pursue a career in academia but was still unsure about my career prospects and what path to takeAfter just a few weeks of researching and contacting potential speakers, I’m now aware of so many more possibilities and have found it incredibly interesting and inspiring to see the paths that other PhD graduates have taken. I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more about this year’s speakers experiences during the webinar series. 

How PhD Horizons aims to help and inspire

This year PhD Horizons will be hosted as a two-week webinar series starting on Monday June 15th – Friday June 26th 2020. The series is dedicated to showcasing the breadth of career opportunities open to PhD graduates, focusing on non-academic career paths. The event is organised especially for the University of Edinburgh’s PhD community and is open to PhD students from all disciplines at all stages of their research, as well as early career researchers and post-docs. 

PhD Horizons aims to encourage you to think broadly about your options and explore career paths you may not have been previously aware of, while also helping you to make informed decisions as to your next steps. The event gives you the chance to hear from over twenty inspiring PhD graduates now working in a wide range of occupations, who are happy to share their post-PhD experiencesYou will also have time to ask them questions directly. 

The series includes daily one-hour long panel sessions covering a broad range of careers within:  

  • Lifesciences 
  • Third Sector 
  • Research & Policy 
  • Energy & Engineering 
  • Data & Technology 
  • Non-academic Higher Education 
  • Media 
  • Business & Finance  

Our speakers range from government researchers to consultants to patent attorneys, and many more. This is a unique chance to gain valuable insight into some future career options and I would encourage students to join as many sessions as possible. 

few of our speakers are alumni who, having previously attended this event and found it very helpful, are returning to share their stories with current students. You can learn from all their experiences no matter their current role or past PhD area, some of their career paths and stories might even surprise you.  

Something I’ve realised and found interesting is just how non-linear PhD graduates career paths often are, which further highlights how valuable and transferable the skills acquired during our doctorate studies are. 

The Careers Service will also be hosting a pre-series session titled ‘Making the Most of PhD Horizons’ and a session to conclude titled ‘PhD Horizons: Next Steps’ to provide you with further support and ensure that you really do get the most out of the series. 

No matter what stage you are at in your PhD or what your subject area is I encourage you to join these sessions to learn more about some of the many career opportunities available to PhD graduates. It’s a great opportunity to gain some real insight and you may even make connections that help you in the future. 

When? Daily 15 – 26 June, 11am and/or 2pm.  

Where? Online via Blackboard Collaborate.  

Who can attend?  PhD students from all disciplines at all stages of their research, early career researchers and post-docs.  

You can book a place on each session and find full event details  here. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *