Life Beyond a PhD: Planning a Career in Academia


This session will set the potential for a career in academia within the context of recent developments and the changing landscape of higher education in the UK, with a particular focus on the Research Excellence Framework (including plans for REF2021, issues of Open Access, Grant Opportunities & Funding, as well as Innovation & Impact); the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF); and the potential for a Knowledge Excellence Framework (KEF).   It will consider the transition period between completing a PhD and finding your first academic position and outline some of the the things that you should consider during this time to enhance and strengthen your CV, as well as prepare for interviews.

PhD Researcher Feedback (2018)

  • Brilliant speaker. I left the workshop with more of a plan concerning making myself more employable for an academic job after finishing the PhD. It was great to have such a passionate speaker!
  • I found it very useful and insightful, and will recommend this class to other colleagues
  • Excellent session - very informative and honest. Really engaging - there are not many two-hour long sessions you attend where the speaker holds your attention completely throughout but Prof. Gormley-Heenan managed to do just that. It was incredibly helpful and insightful. I would highly recommend

Bookings for workshops are via PhD Manager:

Please click on Calendar (on the left hand side) where all the events are listed.

PhD Manager will hold your booking and attendance records for all Researcher Development activities.


  • Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan

    Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan is the PVC for Research and Impact.

    Cathy is responsible for developing and leading our research and impact strategies as a research led university, ensuring that Ulster University achieves its research targets, and that our research informs our teaching and benefits society locally and globally.

    She is a Professor of Politics with research interests in the areas of political elites, peace processes, the politics of divided societies, public policy and governance. Until 2016 she was based in the School of Criminology, Politics & Social Policy at Ulster where she was also Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) from 2010-16. She is a regular political commentator for the BBC on both television and radio and has recently completed making a new radio programme for BBC World Service on Walls and Peace.

    Cathy holds a first class honours degree in politics from Queen’s University, Belfast and an MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies with Arabic from Oxford University before becoming a UK Kennedy Scholar in the J.F.K. School of Government and Public Policy at Harvard University, USA. She also holds a PhD in History and International Affairs from Ulster University. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the winner of the UK Political Studies Association’s Bernard Crick Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007.

    She has been elected and/or appointed to a number of national boards including the National Executive Committee of the UK’s Political Studies Association (PSA) from 2012-16 and is also a member of the UK’s Kennedy Scholars Association. Currently, Cathy serves on the boards of Matrix, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel; Catalyst Inc (formerly the Northern Ireland Science Park); and the UK government’s advisory body on EU Exit, Universities, Research and Innovation chaired by universities and science minister Jo Johnson, among other things.

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework

This session maps on to Domain B of the Vitae Framework: Personal effectiveness which includes the sub-domain areas of:

  • B1: Personal qualities
  • B2: Self-management
  • B3: Professional and Career Development
The Vitae Researcher Development Framework