Introduction: A Practical Guide on How to Survive and Thrive as an Early Career Researcher

Dominika Kwasnicka, Alden Yuanhong Lai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


Many people complete an undergraduate degree and think ‘Great, I don't have to go to uni ever again!' But there are some, like us, who are interested in a career in research - we stay on at universities or research institutions to pursue graduate degrees, postdoctoral training, and eventually our first faculty research positions. We call ourselves Early Career Researchers or ECRs for short. The name implies we are still early in our careers, still training to become independent scientists, and we are not yet expected to ‘know it all' compared to our senior colleagues (in theory at least). We are encouraged to experiment with our research topics and approaches, and we often experience successes and failures along the way. Our institutions may also prioritise our status as trainees allowing more flexibility around teaching or service requirements. In short, we often have a huge sandbox to play in, while we seek to establish our independent research portfolios. Being an ECR, however, can be quite daunting as we transition from relatively structured coursework to a much more independent work schedule. We quickly realise the need to develop a range of skills such as project management, networking, and media engagement. The challenges of building and managing a research team as the lead investigator start to surface. We may be thrown into work situations that are novel to us (e.g., talking to the media, giving an industry talk). Yet, these skills are not usually taught in formal coursework to graduate students, and we may lack the means to systematically learn them in our current positions. The Survival Guide for Early Career Researchers aims to fill this gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSurvival Guide for Early Career Researchers
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783031107542
ISBN (Print)9783031107535
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Academia
  • Competencies
  • Early Career Researchers
  • Impact
  • Research Dissemination
  • Research Skills
  • Science Communication
  • Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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