More career opportunities in higher education and in the public sector

Find an overview over jobs in the higher education sector here. These are the slides presented by Daniela on October 27, 2018.

The higher education and research sectors offer a lot of job opportunities next to the classical academic career track. Higher education institutions not only employ professors and junior scientists, they also a highly specialized staff that runs the organization of the institution and provides services to students and scientists. These jobs are a good option for people who would like to stay within the academic environment, but prefer to have the bigger picture in mind and who like to work with people. In this the higher education sector, networking should be relatively easy: Start with IST. There are a number of employees at IST within the SSUs and administration who have a background in science. Get in touch with them and ask them about their jobs!


Many higher education institutions have positions that focus on teaching rather than research. In the German speaking countries, teaching-focused institutions are usually called “Fachhochschulen,” but also universities sometimes offer “Senior Lecturer” positions. In the US academic system, look for jobs at R 2/3 universities. R1 universities are research focused. If you like working with children or teenagers, K-12 teaching might be an option for you. In many countries there is a severe lack of science teachers.


There are jobs available in core facilities and scientific service units such as facility manager or staff scientist. Jobs are also available in scientific computing and data analysis, as well as in units responsible for IT core infrastructure, such as cluster management, HPC expert etc.

Research management and administration

If you like the big picture at the organizational level, you can switch to research management and administration. Higher education institutions have divisions for strategy development, policy making, and management. There are staff units for gender and diversity, research ethics, and much more.

Here you find and article on working in research administration.

Program coordinators of PhD or funding programs

If you like management/organization/processes, there are many jobs as program managers of PhD and funding programs. Jobs are also available in scientific quality assurance, for example as evaluation coordinator.

Project management

If you like facilitating projects and working with people, project management might be a good option for you. Many research institutions hire project managers to handle large EU projects and other bigger institution or department wide projects.

Science communication

If you like people and communicating, there are jobs available in the communication departments of universities and research organizations. Jobs are also available in alumni networking and fundraising, as well as in career centers and for public outreach activities. Most jobs in research administration are also a lot about working with people and communicating.

Science writing

If you like writing, science or grant writing might be an interesting option for you, as well as science journalism.

Journal editor

If you like to keep up with science, but do not want to do the research yourself, you may want to consider becoming a journal editor.

Scientometrics/ bibliometrics / research analytics

If you like to analyze & solve problems, jobs in research analytics, scientometrics/ bibliometrics might be an option. There are jobs available at companies such as Elsevier or Thompson Reuters that develop and provide research analytic tools to universities.

Coaching/ supporting scientists

If you like to support others and enable personal growth, there are jobs in teaching. You can also become a trainer for soft skills in science. Other options are career development, or jobs in research administration such as dual career support, ombudsperson, or gender and diversity expert.

Science Policy

Science policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for the conduct of science towards the goal of best serving the public interest. Topics include the funding of science, the careers of scientists, and the translation of scientific discoveries into technological innovation to promote commercial product development, competitiveness, economic growth and economic development. Policy advisers work in Think Tanks, governmental and other public or international institutions. Careers in science policy are – like many – others in high demand and rather competitive.

If you are interested in working for the European Commission, you can find information here:

… and this is their career webpage:

Science Europe is an organization that represents the interests of European research organizations and funding agencies:

In addition, there are think tanks and other policy organizations such es EU-Life or the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Where to look for jobs?

In the German speaking world, the weekly newspaper “Zeit” has many job placements for jobs in the higher education sector:

For the UK, check out

In the US, check out

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