RCUK Launches Research Career Case Studies to Inspire Young People

Research Councils UK (RCUK) published a number of  online suite of case studies earlier this month designed to inspire the next generation to think about pursuing a career in research.

Each case study tells their own personal story of how they got involved in research, what it takes to be a researcher, and their rewarding experiences from their chosen career paths.The resource currently includes 29 case studies in total covering a wide range of disciplines including maths, biology, and social sciences, as well as physics – a subject highlighted in a recent study, which found that fewer girls are opting to study physics at A level and missing out on a breadth of career opportunities.New case studies will be added to the site regularly to promote the wide variety of careers available in research as well as demonstrating the multitude of routes to those careers that young people can pursue.

Dr Steph Forrester has had three careers: a chemical engineer, a world-class Olympic triathlete, and now a sports technology lecturer. She said: “On retirement from triathlon, I was keen to combine my passions for sport and research and my current career does this perfectly. I always wanted a job that didn’t feel like a job, and I have certainly achieved that! Research is a very rewarding career in which you are constantly pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge, and then applying that to improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Theo Farrell is a professor of War in the Modern World at Kings College London, who researches innovation within military organisations, including the UK military in Southern Afghanistan. As a world authority in his discipline, he is often called upon to advise the military and government.

He said: “Research enables us to develop new knowledge, with which we can challenge received wisdom, improve society, make people healthier and hold governments to account. What drives you is a passion for your subject and often, your research involves a puzzle of some kind, and you just want to find out the answer.” Professor John Womersley, RCUK Champion for Public Engagement with Research, said: “We are delighted to launch this new online resource to demonstrate the benefit of research and highlight the exciting discoveries and developments that young people can not only contribute to but can drive themselves. RCUK believes that inspiring the next generation to consider the value of a career in research is vital to ensure that the UK maintains its world-leading position, providing critical contributions to the economy and the pressing challenges facing society.”