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How to be an Academic Superhero

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay

In universities across the world, academics struggle to establish and sustain their careers while satisfying intensifying institutional demands. Drawing from the author’s decades of observation and experience in academia, this exceptional book responds to the challenges of fostering and sustaining a successful academic career.
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Chapter 28: Get recognized

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay


In the development of your successful academic career, an important adjunct to getting known and networked (discussed in Chapter 9) is achieving favourable recognition for your work. Fellowships, awards and other markers of peer esteem are not only rewards for work done and very good for the ego, they can also lend support to your continuing career advancement efforts. Some awards may come to you unexpectedly; others may demand some effort on your part.

It pays to pursue early career grants and fellowships (e.g., British Academy, Churchill Fellowships, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation) and travel awards. Many organizations offer research and travel grants to emerging scholars. For instance, in the United States, the National Science Foundation offers prestigious awards through its ‘Faculty Early Career Development Program’ (CAREER) to support junior academics who ‘exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations’ (National Science Foundation, 2017). In Britain, the University of Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Studies recruits outstanding early-career researchers to participate in the two-year-long Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Leadership Programme (University of Warwick, 2016). And the Institute of Australian Geographers makes substantial awards available to early-career scholars to present papers at International Geographical Union meetings. Apply for such awards as well as scholarly prizes (e.g., journal and society awards for your work). An increasing number of journals (e.g., British Journal of Criminology; Economic Geography) and organizations (e.g., Australian Institute...

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