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Introduction to the UK academic sector

Students at LSE come from many different countries and PhD students are no exception. Many of you will be familiar with the academic system in the country you studied in previously, but may not know so much about how things work in the UK. This set of slides [pdf] gives an overview of how the system works here.

The key points are:

  • The typical job titles and career path for academics in the UK are different to that in the US and in many other countries. The slides linked to above give an overview of the differences.
  • The Times Higher Education supplement and Guardian Higher Education are good ways to keep in touch with sector news.
  • Most academic jobs are advertised on jobs.ac.uk.
  • Research Professional is a database of funding opportunities. LSE has a subscription to this funding database and so you will be able to create an account from an LSE computer and then access it off-site using your account. It includes funding at all levels including conference funding, travel funds, early-career research fellowships etc.
  • The Russell Group is a group of research-intensive universities in the UK.
  • The REF (research excellence framework) is an important measure of the research quality of departments and is run approximately every 6 years. It last ran in 2014. The submissions and results of the REF (in previous years known as the RAE) are freely available online. At time of writing the most recent set is from the RAE 2008.