(345k) Plate Spinning: A Beginners Guide to Excelling in Academia As an Engineer/Scientist | AIChE

(345k) Plate Spinning: A Beginners Guide to Excelling in Academia As an Engineer/Scientist


Patwardhan, S. - Presenter, University of Sheffield
Clare, A., University of Nottingham
A vast majority of faculty members (also called academic staff) in western Universities arrive at their first academic position following the established progression from undergraduate to postgraduate and some postdoctoral study. This route prepares the new faculty colleagues well for executing research and elements of teaching but falls desperately short of the preparation required for modern academia. Often newly appointed faculty will face a steep learning curve as they adopt the many functions required to succeed in their new roll.

The challenges placed upon newly appointed faculty are tremendous. The struggle for credibility in research whilst balancing a teaching and administration role, in addition to managing an often young family, is a significant challenge. Meeting early career challenges to become a research leader is perhaps the most difficult stage of the modern academic career. This presentation provides a gentle steer towards taking a strategic approach by adopting a new view: thinking as a CEO of a small enterprise while defining a vision and constructing a pathway to achieve that vision. We will share the advice which benefited the authors and it forms the basis of discussion. We will introduce aspects that the authors found useful in their journey, such as mapping research niche, differentiating between aims and tools, building resilience, the “research transfer function”, networking and marketing. This frame of reference and a quick-start guide which is intended to facilitate new appointees in Science and Engineering to make sense and success of their first 5 years following appointment.

About the Authors

Siddharth and Adam, while still relatively early career academics, have enjoyed some success in their teaching, administration and research. However, their progression has been fraught with misadventures, failings, good/bad luck and lots of hard work. They have compiled this information to help new faculty in science and engineering to obtain the correct balance of the aforementioned. Adam is a Rolls-Royce/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair and the Director of Admissions for the Faculty of Engineering. He is also a Director of and Scientific Advisor to Texture Jet Ltd which is a University spin out company. Siddharth is Professor of Sustainable Chemical and Materials Engineering and EPSRC Fellow in Manufacturing. He chairs the Faculty Search Committee and recently as a chair of the Curriculum Committee, lead the transformation of chemical engineering education at Sheffield.