Diverse Career Paths: Academic Adjacent Careers

In this post in the Diverse Career Paths series, I’d like to highlight a brilliant April article from a colleague of mine, Dr Holly Prescott, at the University of Birmingham: “What are academic adjacent careers and how do I find them?”   Some of you might already be familiar with Holly’s blog, Post-Gradual,  aimed at supporting PhD students and post-doctoral researchers (if not – now is a great opportunity to become so!).

“There are lots of types of work that can see you stay connected to both research and the academic community. Some categories include:

  • Jobs that involve connecting universities to the ‘outside world’ (whether that’s industry, schools, cultural partners… whatever)
  • Jobs that include connecting organisations in the ‘outside world’ to universities (e.g. business development for companies who want to collaborate with academics)
  • Jobs that involve supporting students or academic staff, beyond academic subject teaching
  • Jobs with organisations who support research or researchers in some way (whether that’s funding their research, supplying equipment and materials, advocating for their professional field, and so-on)”

To complement Holly’s post – I am sharing a few visual representations I use in workshops to support your thinking about the journeys you might travel from research staff to what comes next.

  1. How far do you want to move from what you are doing at the moment?

4 boxes labelled research in higher education, professional services in higher education, research or current profession in a new sector, new role in a new sector.


  2. Which of your skills and expertise do you most want to take with you?


  1. As further inspiration and to help you gauge in more detail how far you’d be happy stepping away from your current working environment, spend some  time with the Widening Horizons Funnel from Vitae’s The Career-wise Researcher – see page 9  – the  Funnel provides a diverse range of career path ideas widening outwards from your research experience.  It’s a great starting point for thinking about where your skills and experience fit into the labour market.

While this post won’t necessarily provide any clear answers if you are grappling with the question of ‘what next?’ in your career, I hope it can provide you with a bit of inspiration.

If this article has piqued your curiosity, and you’re not sure what to do next:

  • Book a place on one of our upcoming workshops “Career Coaching with Peers” or “Squiggly Careers and Your Options”
  • Have a Career Development Consultation with Eleanor or Darcey to help clarify your thinking and next steps



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