My name is Marcello
and I earned my PhD in particle physics at the University of Manchester, in
2013. Since then, I have been working as a researcher for the Science and
Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
STFC is a UK government body that carries out civil research in science and engineering, and funds UK research in areas including particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy.
I work in the technology department and I am involved in projects dealing with the building of instrumentation for experiments in nuclear physics. This type of instrumentation is not available commercially because it has very particular requirements. Hence, STFC employs dedicated teams of physicists and engineers to build this type of equipment. And I am one of them!
I decided to continue my education after the age of 18 and so enrolled in a bachelor’s degree of physics at the University of Manchester. This decision opened up many opportunities in my life.
I gained an objective view of natural phenomena and increased my employability.
Science and engineering have the power to change the world we live in. These subjects produce the most amazing technology and fuel the economy of many countries. For this reason, the analytical thinking of a physicist is highly valued in the job market.
As a student, I did not always find physics easy to understand and did not like all of its different branches equally. My favorite topic is the interaction of radiation with matter, so I decided to specialize in this area for my masters and PhD.
An education in physics gave me the opportunity to study and work in an environment which is professional, multicultural and at the forefront of human knowledge.
From the neighborhood I grew up in, I found myself involved in international projects investigating important questions about our existence. I spent time in laboratories in other countries to exchange information about my work. During this time, I also made strong friendships and discovered new places.
The knowledge I gained in high-school in mathematics, physics and computer science, has been beneficial to my career.
To summarise, I wanted to include some figures about salaries of researches in the initial and middle stages of their careers:
- PhD student (22-25 years old): about £12,000 per year.
- Post-doc researcher (25-35 years old): from £28,000 to £35,000 per year.
- Academic staff or senior researcher (35-45 years old): from £35,000 to £45,000.
Salaries will increase even further for managerial positions within Universities or Research Institutes and are generally higher in the private sector.
Apprenticeships are really good opportunities to boost your experience in science and engineering and I’ve found that it is easier to find apprenticeships in engineering than in science. Engineering or IT apprenticeships are valuable opportunities for aspiring scientists.
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