Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology
Endocrine Abstracts (2012) 28 YE1.4

Endocrine Signaling Group, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom.

Even before the current economic crisis, life in academia was already tough enough, with a distinct lack of career structure for basic scientists. Now that funding levels continue to plummet, a career in academia seems even less attractive. However, for many basic scientists, it is still their major aspiration; to gain a faculty position that allows them to pursue their research interests. I was hopelessly naive to what life as a University Lecturer was going to involve. Two decades ago many Lecturers were really only that by name, rather than action. In today’s academic environment, your life as a faculty member will most probably involve a lot more teaching and administration than your PhD supervisor had to do at a similar stage in their careers. And the competition for your time, from non-research activities, is just one of the major challenges that you face. The ultra-competitive nature of grant funding and publications now means that there will inevitably be more failures than successes, in terms of funding and papers, and these are the primary outputs by which you are judged. Persistence is key, along with a little self-belief, but there are times when the odds seem very much stacked against you and it is not uncommon for academics to go several years between funding. In those periods in particular, making sure that you stay active, both in the lab and in the wider scientific community, are vital to make sure that you are not forgotten. Having productive sidelines with other colleagues is a great way of ticking over until you get that lucky break again (because, unfortunately, luck plays rather a large part in the process). There’s no escaping that life is tough, but with a little strategy, you can survive and succeed in having an extremely rewarding career.

Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.

Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.

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