Tips for Early Career Researchers

An early career researcher faces a curious contradiction. On one hand, the current academic climate gives researchers better, broader, and faster access to technology and information. On the other hand, limiting factors like funds and resources play a critical role too. These factors affect early career researchers because they are aware of the potential of their researcher and yet they lack the experience when applying for grants. Therefore, government, industry, and academia need to support them.

The path to research is not easy. The emphasis on research and publication profile is immense. So, how do you overcome the challenges of becoming a prolific researcher?

Starting Your Research

It is important to choose a right place from where you plan to pursue your doctoral or post-doctoral research. It is equally crucial to choose a good supervisor and a research project based on your research interests. Ensure that the project can be completed in stipulated time and has the potential to provide significant outcomes. You should also try to learn as much as you can during this journey, but do not forget to give yourself a break! All too often, scientists feel guilty for not working all day.

Polishing your soft skills

It is advisable to improve your written and oral communication skills for presenting your ideas and networking with your peers. You must also inculcate reading habit in your routine to keep yourself informed. This will not only keep you up-to-date but also give you an edge in engaging discussions! Papers become out of date in two years for fast-paced fields such as genomics. Try to practice writing, focusing on areas where you may lack much experience. It is quite common to write and present your findings on a regular basis during your PhD program.

Funding Your Work

Publishing in a research journal is influenced by many factors. It is important to not only have good science but also time and resources to write and publish it. In this case, funding is crucial for completing research and getting work opportunities. Many research job specifications will require proof of previous research grants for assessment.

The first step in getting funding is writing a successful funding bid. Be prepared to trade off and check the requirements of the funding institutions or bodies. Keep a tab on new and emerging areas of research. When writing your proposal, emphasize the value of your research for wider applications, such as public health. At this point, you may also want to consider partnerships between institutions for funding opportunities.

Networking to Advance Your Career

Networking for early career researchers is essential for long-term success and career advancement. There are numerous benefits to networking, including knowledge transfer and collaboration, introduction to potential employers and mentors, opportunity to promote your work, and involvement in a peer-support network in your institution.

Attending conferences is a good way for getting into networking venues, but you can create your own networking opportunities too. These may include simply initiating good conversation at relevant events and sharing your well-thought perspectives on that topic. Showing genuine interest in the other person’s work and being open are also key characteristics of a good networker. When networking, it is important to keep your common goals and interests in mind.

Knowing and implementing the right tips will help you advance your career and contribution to your research field. What tips have you followed to kick-start your career as a researcher? Do share your experience with us by writing a comment below!


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