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Odyssey Report 2022

Pathways Beyond Academia 2022

Pathways Beyond Academia

This report presents the findings of a self-assessment of the UCC Odyssey Programme in the first 1.5 years of its operation.  The programme was established to encourage the change in perspective needed for final year PhD’s and researchers to explore and progress to new career paths beyond academia.  Most professional training programmes focus on how to train individuals in a particular area e.g., Project Management, Leadership, Communication etc. but few focus on how to assist the individual with career advancement via mobility to a different professional sector.  The growing visibility and popularity of the UCC Odyssey Programme highlights the obvious need to assist with the long-term career goals of research staff and final year PhD’s within academia.  


Download the Report Here Pathways Beyond Academia


Significant Findings of the Self-Assessment

  • There is a disconnect between the career expectations of research staff and PhD’s within third level and the reality of the availability of academic positions globally.
  • Training should include (precise) information on the availability of academic positions globally. This information should be easily available in one trusted data source.
  • Information should be provided to research staff and PhD’s regarding the full spectrum of available careers beyond academia and where to find these roles.
  • Research Staff and PhD’s need support to articulate their skills to a non-academic employer. Only 2% of participants indicated they wanted a role in industry.
  • One must address and acknowledge the organizational cultural barriers facing participants who are considering moving to careers beyond academia.
  • The participants do not need to “upskill” or “re-focus” their education and training any further.
  • The participants already possess the competencies that are required for roles beyond academia. The challenge is they do not realise they already possess these competencies.
  • A 2-day programme is sufficient.
  • Operating a career intervention programme (inclusive of before and after one-to-ones) is hugely time intensive. Dedicated resources are required to sustain career intervention programmes.
  • Only PhD students in their final year should do a career intervention programme. Early PhD students tend not to be ready to seriously contemplate moving outside the traditional academic career.

“When I attended the Odyssey program, I learned more about the skills that are important for a job in industry. I also realized that most of the skills that I already have are transferable and are of great interest to industry”


Department of Human Resources - HR Research

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