Focus on series

Our members' listing of all Focus on themes. Find all our resources on a topic in one place.

TIP: If you keep a website for researchers, help them to find more on these topics by linking us

Previous themes (available to Vitae members only):

Focus-on: Careers Beyond Academia

These Focus-on resources can be used by researchers and those supporting them to learn about careers beyond academia.

Focus-on: Research Leadership, Independence and Management

These Focus-on resources can be used by researchers and those supporting them to prepare for shifting from being led and managed to being responsible for leading and managing others.

Realising your potential

Your doctorate is more than a research project, it is an invaluable opportunity to develop yourself professionally and progress in your career. Make sure you make the most of this time by thinking about, and planning for, what comes next!

Focus on an inclusive research environment

Equality and diversity is a term used to define and champion equality, diversity and human rights as defining values of society. It promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination. Learn more about creating an inclusive research environment during this Focus:on and look out for the #vitaechat on Tuesday 5 December about balancing caring responsibilities with a research career.

Getting started in a new role

Make the best start in your new role as a doctoral researcher or member of research staff. Starting with your professional development and career goals in mind can help make the transition into a new role smoother, and enable you to identify and seize opportunities as they arise.

From REF and TEF, changes in funding streams following Brexit, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Citizen science, Open research, through to new technologies, countless factors influence the way we conduct and communicate research in 2017.

Work life balance and well-being

There are so many demands on your time, so much to do. So, is it possible to have some sort of balance or is this just the way it is if you want to be effective?

The good news is that it is possible to keep a sense of balance and be effective. This ‘Focus on’ showcases what works and what doesn’t and also how to have a life outside of research.  It provides useful strategies and proposes a range of suggestions that have been found useful in balancing the different demands in our lives.

Planning ahead to manage your career

At the start of the academic year it is easy to think the end is far away, but planning and owning your career takes time. Do you know where you need to be by the end of this year, in order to get to where you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years’ time? This 'Focus on' is designed to help you think through your career options, understand yourself, and connect with other researchers at varying stages of their career. 

Career transitions

Signpost careerHow do you decide on a career to suit you and how can you make a successful career transition? Opportunities for researchers can be found in a wide range of sectors and over half of researchers go on to pursue a career outside academic research or teaching following their doctorate.


What does it take to develop an enterprising mindset? The research environment offers many opportunities for enterprising individuals and researchers are likely to have relevant knowledge and skills.

Equality and diversity

Equality of opportunity offers every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination. With only 21% UK professors being female and 0.4% of UK professors being black, it is clear that there remains a long way to go.

Getting started in a new role

Between August and October we will be focusing on new beginnings. Whether you're just starting your doctorate, a new research project or a new job, it can be daunting to embark on a new professional journey.

Leadership for researchers

Cartoon aerial image of people standing in an arrow shape. One figure standing in the middle of the group stands out as they are depicted in a different colourMake the most of high level research knowledge and skills by fostering the skills and behaviours practiced by good leaders - whether your future lies in or outside academic research.

Mentoring and coaching for researchers

Mentoring and coaching each aim to help an individual clarify their goals and/or improve their self-awareness, skills and knowledge. They can draw on existing expertise to offer invaluable support for researchers' professional development.

Moving on and up for research staff

Seize opportunities for progression and independence. Consider moving in varied career directions, as well as the transition from postdoc towards academic independence.

Open researchers within open research

Individuals aspiring to a research career need the knowledge and skills to operate effectively in an open research environment. It's about accelerating the pace of research and engaging the public who are often the ultimate source of research funding.

Starting your PhD

Hands throw multiple paper planes up into a blue skyCongratulations on starting the journey towards your doctorate! It can seem daunting, but taking a professional approach to your development from the start can help make the path smoother, and enable you to be a more successful researcher in the long run.