A flexible, rewarding career that offers opportunities to explore and tackle science’s most pressing and fundamental questions.
What Academic Researchers Do
Academic Researchers are concerned with designing, developing, implementing and analysing scientific experiments and investigations, to discover solutions to real-world problems.
Academic Research is a rewarding, flexible career pathway, that allows you to pursue your interests in science. There are many challenges posed by funding and proposals, however the freedom to follow your interests is well worth the hard work.
It is most common for Academic Researchers to continue their studies after graduation by completing a PhD, followed by a Postdoctoral placement and/or fellowship. Once this process is finished, they become lecturers, and work their way up towards professorship over the years.
Research Assistants typically work in a lab under the supervision of a PhD student, Postdoctorate fellow, professor or the lab manager themselves.
Common Responsibilities include recruiting participants, running experiments, data collection and analysis, and helping out in the lab in whatever way required.
Some Research Assistants are also placed in charge of writing or contributing to scientific papers and publications. They may also present their findings or methodologies in conferences and meetings.
Postdoctorate Fellows are individuals who have finished their PhD and want to begin their pathway to become an academic.
Postdoctorates typically work for the head of a lab or a professor, conducting research in their field of expertise, or a similar topic.
They may have Research Assistants and Honours or PhD students working with them, and they typically collaborate with researchers from other institutes or even countries.
Appointments at this level are usually for new academics.
Lecturers design and deliver lectures to students at their university, and maintain research and publication responsibilities as well.
This is the usual entry level appointment for new full-time academics.
Senior Lecturers make significant contributions by providing leadership and research in education. They construct and deliver lectures to students at their university, while maintaining research and publication responsibilities.
The teaching role of a Senior Lecturer typically involves curriculum design and teaching, and many senior lecturers are assigned responsibilities as head of the unit they teach.
The main difference between a lecturer and a senior lecturer is the position of leadership they have in the teaching side of their careers, as well as more experience and publications in the research aspect of their careers.
In order to receive the title Associate Professor, it is required that the applicant has made an ‘outstanding contribution’ to their field of expertise, and that the applicant is usually recognised at a national or international level.
The rank of Professor is only given to those who have demonstrated outstanding competence and academic leadership in research, teaching, and service as well as achieving international recognition of their scholarship.
The difference between professor and associate professor is that there is less of an imperative to demonstrate leadership qualities for the title of associate professor.