Guest Blog: Energy Geographies Research Group Career Event

17 Feb 2016

UKERC delivers a programme on cohesion, learning and skills in UK energy research, supported by the RCUK Energy Programme. Joanne Hillman and Bregje van Veelen give their impressions of a recent careers event the programme helped fund at the University of York.

In December 2015, postgraduate and early career researchers from the energy geography community attended a career event co-sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society’s Energy Geographies Research Group (EnGRG) and UKERC at the University of York.

The event aimed to help postgraduate students make informed career choices. Participants heard from leading energy geography experts including Professor Stewart Barr, Professor Gavin Bridge, Helen Stockton, and Dr Adam Cooper on a number of themes, ranging from understanding the requirements of a research or teaching career in UK higher education to gaining insights into non-academic careers across government and third sector bodies.

Two delegates reflect on the experience:

Joanne Hillman, a ‎PhD student studying low carbon and social enterprise, Liverpool John Moores University

I recently attended the Energy Geographies conference in York. The delegates were from across the energy geographies spectrum which helped make the session really informative and varied whilst still being very relevant to the research I am doing. This workshop helped me to start building a network of people who are researching in similar fields to me. The other participants were at different stages of their research from starting out, like me, to having recently complete their PhD; this was very useful as I was able to discuss problems and issues with people who had been through similar things recently.

The facilitators and speakers from the workshop were all extremely helpful and approachable before, during and after the event. I learnt a lot from this workshop that I will be able to take forward with me when attending conferences in the future.

Bregje van Veelen, a PhD student, University of Edinburgh

It was great to have an event like this that brings together researchers with similar interests and at similar stages in their career from pretty much every corner of the UK. The workshop provided a really good mix of discussions around different themes and topics, many of which were focused on the practical concerns that postgraduate and early career researchers may have – for example, related to publishing, teaching and future career options.

Whilst I think the content of events like these is certainly important, I think their main value potentially lies in providing a space for researchers with similar interests to come together and tease out directions for future research and collaborations.

The event organiser, Dr Karen Parkhill, Chair, EnGRG would like to thank her fellow EnGRG committee members, the guest speakers and the delegates for their stimulating contributions, and UKERC and the RGS-IBG for kindly sponsoring the event.

The next UKERC Career Roundtable is set for the spring and will be on legal careers in the energy sector. It is organised in partnership with DWF LLP, Queen Mary, University of London, and the UK Energy Law and Policy Association.