Doing a PhD and searching for Research positions


Hello and thank you for stopping to read my message! I am doing my Ph.D. currently in my second year. Yet, as a full-time student, it became financially difficult for me to support myself. I don't have a grant, but thankfully my tuition fees are paid for. I am currently searching for Research assistant or associate positions, but I haven't had any luck. I have a good publication record as well as research experience. it is becoming difficult to even do proper research without financial stability! So, what do you think, and if you know of any opportunities or where to look for them, please, link them. Thank you very much!


I think it really depends on what you are area of research is in. I have been searching the same recently (i'm in 3rd year phD) as I know I don't want to stay in academia due to the fixed-term nature of all posts, even research fellow level unless you bolster it with teaching. My advice would be to seriously think about what you want in a job (the basics- working hours, financial stability etc) and go from there.

From my own searches it seems to be easier to find permanent research jobs if you have strong statistical skills or are from life sciences/ biology/chemistry background as most research jobs are in scientific or pharmaceutical companies or as statisticians. That being said there are some roles working in civil service or in government that want more qualitative skills also- but many of these are in London.

I think have a look online for current jobs and what they want, I have also found googling job roles on Linkedin really helpful as it shows in the real world what experience/quals people ACTUALLY have in these positions, as usually the ideal scenario isn't always what gets people the job it's experience and who they know.

BUT I am considering leaving my PhD early due to changes in career (away from pure research) so I might have a slightly negative attitude at the moment just as a warning haha!

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I did a full-time RA role during my PhD and have done a lot of teaching support roles. I feel it is quite significantly luck based. The best way is if you know the supervisor and they give you the role without a real application process. A lot of academics are reluctant to to do short-term projects because they can't guarantee they will get; A) someone at all, B) someone competent enough to do the work and C) someone that will finish the project. I was fortunate that my supervisor got me two of them herself and other academics are now submitting grants with me in mind because I somehow have a good reputation. I would suggest talking with academics in your department that know you, telling them that you want to short term projects or available to do mundane projects. It won't get you anything immediately but it might yield long term. Also, when trying to get work like this it is better to be seen as flexible than a specialist.

PS: I am assuming that you want part-time of short term research contracts in the UK