Research Fellow/Research Assistant


I'm about to submit my PhD thesis in the next few weeks, and am wanting to stay in academia and do a postdoc, so have been looking around at various positions. The problem is there is the Research Fellow/Research assistant issue, (a Research Fellow being a postdoc and a research assistant being someone without a PhD). I seem to be facing the issue that I am not eligable for a Research Fellow position until I pass my viva. It seems some places will allow a candidate to take on the position as a (lower paid) research assistant until they have a PhD at which point they then take a pay rise and become a Research Fellow. But other places don't seem as willing.

I was wondering if anyone had encountered this problem and could give advice. I don't want to (and can't afford to) sit around doing nothing between submitting and having my viva / doing corrections / completing


this is strange, because I know of many students awaiting their viva (some have not even submitted yet) who are being paid as post docs in the uni that I am at... find somewhere that will take you now, and pay you a post doc salary now - they do exist.


My university has the policy that until you have passed your PhD you can't be formally employed as a postdoc, you appear to be to everyone in the department but you are only being paid as a research assistant. I know this because my officemate was in this position for a few months. He was staying on continuing the work he did in his PhD but for the 4 months between submitting and formally passing (after his viva, corrections and the admin were done) the was a research assistant and then got a ~£5k a year pay rise when he passed and his position was changed to a postdoc. Apparently this is common practice in some universities (usually for continuing students), but apparently some universities can't do this if the position is advertised as a "Research Fellow", it can only be done if the post is advertised as "Research Fellow/Research Assistant" for technical reasons I'm lead to believe


My understanding is as Laney says. I am applying for research assistant/associate positions on the understanding that I will be upgraded after my viva (hopefully :p)