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Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


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December 13th, 2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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How to get back to academic research after 5 years of absence?

Hi guys,

I have this huge problem and I hope someone could give me some sort of advice. I am from one of East Europe countries where I successfully defended my PHD math degree. Also I worked as a lecturer in one of the local universities.
However, due to personal circumstances I left my job and research, moved to United Kingdom and began to work in a bank. But this job gives no pleasure, and I am really considering to get back to math.
But the problem I have, is that I don't want to go back to my country. I want to start something new here. But without any contact I have no idea how to get into any university in UK. My prime goal is to concentrating on research, but I can do also some lecturer duties if necessary.
So, any ideas what should I do?

Last edited by skipjack; January 3rd, 2015 at 06:42 AM.
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December 18th, 2014, 06:31 AM   #2
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Unfortunately it is very very difficult to get back into research after absence. You have to be able to demonstrate in an interview that you are more motivated than fresh PhD graduates and post-docs and it's really hard to demonstrate that and compete without being able to show recent publications.

Here's what I would do...
i) re-read your thesis and your previous publications. Maybe read over some of the important papers that you referenced in your thesis too, to get it all back to the front of your mind. If you performed computer simulations, try to get hold of your old programs and data and rerun some of them to familiarise yourself with the code.
ii) start to read the literature again like you did when you were doing your PhD. For sure you will want to look at any papers that have cited your work and those of your supervisor and colleagues.
iii) get back in touch with your old PhD supervisor or any old colleagues over the phone. Ask them if they have any tasks that you could help with (chances are they will bogged down with shitloads of work) and volunteer to help out with some of the grunt work for free.
iv) if they do give you something to do, leap on it straight away! Get it done! No messing about! This is your chance so grab it by the balls!
v) try and get on a new publication as lead author or co-author...
vi) whilst all of this is going on, apply to every job under the Sun. Research is now a global market, not a national one, so be prepared to work outside the UK if you really want a job.

Last edited by Benit13; December 18th, 2014 at 06:35 AM.
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January 3rd, 2015, 02:09 AM   #3
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Thanks Benit13 for your reply. I know it would not be easy. I am already rereading my thesis and some articles from my research area (Navier-Stokes equations).
Unfortunately, my old PhD supervisor does not have nothing for me (I called him already). Not surprisingly, because I live abroad and he have few fresh PHD students to work with.
As for ''every job under the Sun'' is not very helpful. Because is almost impossible to compete for lecturer or post-doc positions. So maybe I could start with some assistant jobs in faculty, but these jobs are not advertised online. That's why I was thinking to write to most UK universities emails with my CV and cover letter. How do you think this is good idea?
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