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Agency and Networking

in Researcher Career Development

ERASMUS + Researcher Identity Development


Having a life!

Life events

Major life events, such as the birth of a child, marriage, relocation, the death of someone close, illness or disability, whether expected or unexpected, have a profound effect on people. Alongside work or doctoral study many of the research participants experienced significant life events that impacted the direction or quality of their lives, for example: 


Social scientists


My husband and both my daughters are [there] and I’m here and it was tough to leave, you know, [and be] just on my own… I managed to make a life for myself here as well as maintaining my family relationships back [there] - for three years I travelled [back] when I could. I wasn’t sure I could do it… the first year it was really hard. I was very, very lonely. And so the way I dealt with it was I just worked all the time … I think that is why my summers are just so precious to me because this is the time [with family] (Nellie, research-teaching position)

Well, we’ve decided not to go abroad. I think that’s partly because I haven’t been very well [recently diagnosed chronic illness [so] …It’s nice to stay here. I know that …I’ve got specialist care at [the Medical Centre], so it’s that security of knowing that your wellbeing is being looked after. (Elizabeth, research professional)

It’s been painful [relocating to the UK], but I would absolutely do it again, because I think I’m a much, much better person for it, much broader minded, much more accepting, but it’s been very difficult, in particular making friends with British women. International people? No problem. But …I still don’t have a British friend that’s female, not one. (Jennifer, research-teaching position)



Ultimately [looking for a job] goes back to geographical location …We’ve got a little one here and we don’t have any family close by and so it is tough in terms of taking care and we obviously want to expand our family too, which probably puts a lot more pressure on [my partner] and in terms of balancing our work and our social lives and our lives at home together, so I think we want to move closer to home, but like I said I think it may not entirely be dictated by where …we want to go, it might just be where the job is, right? (Albert, post-PhD researcher)

At the moment, I work two …or three days from home because I’m still recovering from my back surgery, so I cannot sit long …and I cannot commute a lot. (Kadyna, professional)

My partner of 10 years has started a new full-time …job in [city name], and is looking to buy a home, but after 3 years of living in different cities and changing jobs, we have realized that we have also grown apart somewhat emotionally. Our relationship is now in question (though not ended).  I had originally planned to move out to be with my partner, but the thought of doing that without a secure job is a little scary, and I haven’t had a lot of time to look for jobs in the area with my current workloads. (Sam, professional)



The following websites provide guidance on how to cope with some of the more common life events

This is not an exhaustive list, with regard to either topic or region; however, it will help you to get started on finding supportive information as you negotiate major life events. 


Relocation – Home or Job

  • Relocation Expert: Includes tips and checklists, planning your move, moving overseas, settling children into school, after the move…

  • Family Lives: How to cope with moving house

  • Go to and search for articles ‘8 tips for a successful job relocation’ (Jacquelyn Smith) and ’20 questions to ask yourself before you relocate for a job’ (Jacquelyn Smith)

  • Better Health Channel: Tips on making friends in a new location or situation




Relationship difficulties




Disability and Illness


Becoming a care-giver

Tattooed Woman
woman 4
Young Man
Woman Posing

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Researcher Identity Development (2020).

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