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Agency and Networking

in Researcher Career Development

ERASMUS + Researcher Identity Development


Career Paths

Role: teaching-only position


Woman Portrait

What struck us about Cathy’s story was 

  • No work-life balance (personal)

  • Financial issues during degree meant seeking more work and taking on governance issues in post (work experience)

  • Changing career intention and career management (career thinking)

Cathy had a professional practice before beginning her PhD in a local North America university, given she did not want to move her young family. She imagined seeking a local research-teaching position afterwards. She began participating in the Canadian study in 2007 in the third year of her degree. She completed the degree in 2009 when she was in her early-to-mid-40s.

Holly was a full-time teacher in a religious-affiliated school and single mother with pre-school age children. She began her PhD in a local university in North America to get her ‘brain back,’ while continuing to work full-time to make ends meet. In 2006 when she began to participate in the Canadian research program, she was working on her dissertation. She hoped for a teaching-only university position afterwards. She graduated when she was in her mid-to-late-30s.

What struck us about Holly’s story was 

  • Being a single parent and re-locating with family (personal)

  • Financial issues during the degree and managing teaching responsibilities in her post (work experience)

  • Choosing a teaching career during degree and dealing with lack of career development structure in her position (career thinking)  

Nancy began her degree in 2005 and joined the study the year after. Earlier, she had left her European homeland to move elsewhere in Europe for her undergrad (different language). After meeting her future partner on an exchange program, she moved to Canada to join him and taught part-time at the same university as him (he was in a permanent teaching position). She continued teaching during the degree to partly fund her studies. On completing, she hoped for a research-teaching position but was open to other options since she and her partner did not want to move.

What struck us about Nancy’s story was

  • Managing work-life balance (personal)

  • Financing the PhD and collaborative research on the side in her later post (work experience)

  • Changing career intentions and growing confidence in leadership role (career thinking)

Explore the other themes


Researcher Identity Development (2020).

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