Early career researchers: career and skills development - AHRC



A PhD in the arts and humanities provides high-level skills that can make a significant contribution to many different areas of the economy and society.

However, we recognise that the period following completing a PhD can be a challenging time as you look to explore different career options.

Many early career researchers want to pursue an academic career and will look to colleagues and peers for advice on applying for academic posts.

Equally, we recognise and welcome the movement of researchers into other areas. There is a range of other sectors in which you may wish to develop your career. We encourage you to keep in mind a broad range of career possibilities, considering how highly competitive academic employment is.

How we define an early career researcher

For the purpose of grants eligibility, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) defines an early career researcher as someone who is either:

  • within eight years of their PhD award (this is from the time of the PhD ‘viva’ – oral test), or equivalent professional training
  • within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary functions).

These periods exclude any career break, for example:

  • family care
  • health reasons
  • reasons related to COVID-19 such as home schooling or increased teaching load.

Ways you can develop your career

You may be eligible for:

We also offer:

Watch a YouTube video on how AHRC supports early career researchers.

Peer Review College membership

AHRC Peer Review College membership reflects the range of disciplines and subjects within our subject domain. By joining us, you’ll take on a fundamental role in the peer review process, ensuring that the highest quality research proposals receive funding in accordance with robust and transparent decision-making.

You can also draw upon Peer Review College expertise by taking part in wider activities, such as training peer reviewers or helping to develop new policies or processes. One objective is to further diversity our membership and cement plurality of voices in our decision-making processes.

Apply to join our Peer Review College (SurveyMonkey). The recruitment round closes on 25 November 2021.

Read AHRC’s peer review resources for more on developing your career.

Last updated: 15 November 2021

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