Job Vacancy – Skills for PhDs and Research Staff

If you hadn’t spotted it, here’s another vacancy for supporting PhDs and research staff in developing their skills, including their ability to manage their careers – closing date 10th March. It’s officially called the “North West Hub Manager” but you can be forgiven for not having the faintest what “the North West Hub” is! Read on for the explanation …

UK GRAD is/was the organisation supported by the UK Research Councils to focus on supporting PhDs in developing skills, outside purely research skills – in other words, the skills which help differentiate you from all the other competent researchers, for jobs inside or outside academia.

For the last 5 years, they’ve operated as a Centre in Cambridge, with Hubs in each region. How do I know? Because the Careers Service was in there at the beginning, coordinating the NW Hub, and figuring out how this new organisation would work.

It’s been a big success, the NW Hub has been in the forefront of many developments (we always call our NW annual conference “Leading the Way” and our website is “Postgrad Talent NW” – typical Mancunian/Liverpudlian understatement), and now with a new 5 year contract having been awarded to the team at UK GRAD, we’ve decided it’s time to hand the Hub over to a new team.

Dr Judith Williams, based in Medical and Human Sciences at Manchester University has been chosen to coordinate the NW Hub, and she’ll need a new Hub Manager. Although it will be physically based in Manchester, it’s very much a NW role – one of our guiding principles as a region has been to draw on the many strengths of all our NW HEIs, large and small, in an equal partnership.

 From working closely with the last two incumbents, Sarah Ashworth and Belinda Bray, I know you’ll only thrive in this role if you love organising events and networking with people. A new challenge is that the Hub will now not only be supporting PhDs, it has been expanded to cover early career researchers – so there’s a whole new network of contacts to set up at all 14 HEIs who work in this field. You’ll be mainly working with the university employees who work with PhDs and research staff (rather than you having to be in direct contact with all those PhDs and research staff yourself) but that’s still a lot to go at.

Plus, the whole of UK GRAD is changing, now combining with UK HERD, an organisation set up to support early career researchers, so if you like being in at the beginning of turmoil and change (personally, I love having an influence in shaping an organisation), this is the role for you.

And one BIG, BIG hint – when we recruited Belinda, we asked applicants to say why they were interested in postgraduate skills development. We had 35 applications, some with 10 page descriptions of themselves, but the short listing was easy – we interviewed the only 5 applicants who bothered to mention that they were interested in, you guessed it, postgraduate skills development…

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