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I have looked at Geology jobs but only oil and gas or engineering comes up which I have no interest in. I'd rather do something more academic.

I'm currently a student in a UK university and am hoping to become a researcher at a UK university in the future. Do the universities employ researchers who don't need to fulfil a teaching post?

  • As a short comment/answer: Yes. I can speak for the united states: Here, lots of univs do hire research associates or research engineers-I,II,II..... The scale/rank and salary would be based on your qualification. Geology... you may also want to look and universities doing research in porous media and perhaps energy harvesting from waves etc. From my understanding of the mathematics of geology, a lot of it is highly regarded in these circles. At times, these researchers may be asked to teach a course here or there or may have the freedom to develop their own course if they want. – dearN Nov 13 '16 at 13:23
  • I am in such a position, so yes. – Elad Den Jul 13 '18 at 9:17
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Such roles definitely exist in U.K. universities. For example the University of Southampton has 4 different types of Professorial Grade post, which depend on the balance of education, research, and 'enterprise' which a member of staff might undertake. It's possible to have a 100% research appointment under this scheme.

However, I don't know if every field uses all the types of post. I could believe that the more specialised research only posts are only available in disciplines where these is a reasonable expectation of very high value grants.

I'd expect similar arrangements to exist in other universities in the U.K.

However, relying on 100% research is a bit of a risk - with a role entirely reliant on outside funding you never know when those funds might dry up. Some teaching or service component, paid not out of grant funds, could add a bit of consistency and predictability to a role.

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I have seen two general approaches to accomplishing this. One has already been described in an answer and a comment -- apply for a position that is explicitly designed for doing just research, or doing primarily research.

There is another way people sometimes use to accomplish the same thing, and that is to get hired as a professor to do both teaching and research, and then to use grant money to "buy out" the teaching obligations. When I have seen this done, it didn't completely eliminate the teaching duties, but it reduced them to the point that the professor taught as few as one course every other semester.

The people I've seen do this were at the top of their profession. Some of them taught their occasional course well, some didn't.

At any rate, in the short to medium term, you might want to think in terms of a post-doc.

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