UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Early Career Researchers (ECRs) careers day 2023

17 March 2023

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology together with the Faculty of Brain Sciences organised an Early Career Researchers (ECRs) careers day on 16 February 2023, which was designed to cover the different career options available to researchers at their early stage.

ECR Careers Day banner

The whole day event brought together a diverse set of speakers who have transitioned from time as an ECR to successful careers both in and out of academia – from successful academic PI’s, industry scientists and start-up biotech CEO’s to funding managers, patent attorneys, performance coaches and career consultants. More than 200 people from all Faculty of Brain Science Divisions and Institutes joined the career day to familiarise themselves with possible career path options, network and ask questions to the speakers.

The career day started with an enlightening talk by Magdalena Bak-Maier a well-known go-to performance coach. The career day continued with sections exploring careers in Academia, Industry, charity, technical careers and instrument management, as well as non-conventional and out-of-the-box careers. Speakers shared their invaluable experience and insights experience and answered questions from an enthusiastic audience. The panel and Q&A sessions were followed by Dr. Sophia Donaldson, who represented the UCL Careers Researchers team and discussed the career guidance provision available at UCL for research students and staff. She emphasised the importance of taking advantage of the services available and the benefits they can provide.

The day was concluded with a presentation from the initiative’s sponsor Proteintech, a leading company in the biotech industry, followed by networking over drinks, providing an opportunity for attendees to connect with each other and discuss the various career paths they explored during the day.

A collage of photos from the ECR Careers Day

ECR Career Day attendees were asked to identify their highlight from the day. Here is what some of them said:

‘…my highlight was the openness, honesty and humanity of the speakers sharing their journeys…’
‘The variety of talks that were presented in the event and all were not biased and gave very realistic perspective/advice to different careers’
‘The emphasis on taking care of yourself and being aware of your passions and what you are capable of while enjoying yourself and not taking on too much without getting enough out of it. Many of the speakers spoke about work/life balance and how they identified what they wanted/needed from a career, not just in the work, and therefore why different paths were appealing to them’

The QS Institute of Neurology wants to recognise the amazing work undertaken by the ECR Careers Day organising committee, consisted of ECR and professional services staff volunteers, who made this idea a reality. Special thanks should be given to Dr Benjamin O'Callaghan, who led the organising committee, and to all the great speakers who volunteered their time to help support our ECRs decide on their future career steps: Magdalena Bak-Meier, Selina Wray, Jernej Ule, Soyon Hong, Joanna Gould, Edward Fletcher, Andrew Jarjour, Rosa Sancho, Shaakir Salam, Mary Rigby, Laura Riggall, Shama Rahman, Anna Hands, Sophia Donaldson.

ECR Careers Day agenda