Benefits of Working in Public Sector Research

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There are regularly jobs advertised on with opportunities to work for institutes and charities such as the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and the Institute of Cancer Research. This article will consider some of the benefits of working in publically-funded or charity-funded research establishments.

Alignment of values

We’ve discussed in previous articles the importance of ensuring alignment between what is important to you in your work life and the values of the organisation you are considering to work for. Most employer websites include a section outlining the organisation’s vision and values. For example, the Institute of Cancer Research states on their website “we look for employees who share our values, aspire to excellence and are committed to building upon our success.” Organisations will want to see that you are motivated to contribute to the achievement of their vision. You are also more likely to succeed in an organisation where there is a good alignment with your values.


  • What are your key values?
  • Does working for an organisation with a non-profit making status appeal to you?
  • What attracts you to the organisation’s work, mission, vision and values?

Your career aspirations

Next think about your area of research expertise and your career aspirations and find out which organisation or institute would provide you with the best opportunity to achieve your goals. Publically-funded or charity-funded organisations are likely to provide an excellent learning and development environment, with annual career reviews and planning for employees being the norm.

Also whilst you may still find that as in academia many posts are short-term funded contracts, there is every chance that opportunities will be available for you to develop and progress a career within a public sector research organisation.

To research further:

  • Network and speak to current employees in the organisations you are interested in.
  • Spend some time researching employer websites and job sections
  • Be clear about your career aspirations and what you want from a new post

The location, environment and facilities

Geographical location is a key factor to consider when exploring job opportunities. How far are you prepared to travel? Are you prepared to relocate? Do you want to work for an organisation which operates globally? These are all key questions to consider in terms of location.

With regard to facilities, research organisations tend to have excellent laboratory and first class research support facilities. You can expect in many cases to be working in a modern and well resourced work space. When considering the environment, think also about the size of the organisation, demographics of employees and the culture within the organisation.

  • What type of organisation and environment are you suited to work in?
  • Reflect back on your work experiences to date, which environments have particularly suited you?
  • Take the time to visit organisations you are interested to work for, even before you start applying for jobs. What are the benefits in terms of location, environment and facilities?

Employee benefits

In addition to salary, job adverts will typically give you an indication of the wider benefit package you can expect. If you are moving from one sector to another consider what you will gain from the move and potentially where you may lose out.

A benefits check list is likely to include:

  • Annual leave provision and flexi working schemes
  • Pension scheme
  • Healthcare
  • Travel and other voucher schemes
  • Sports and social memberships

To find out more about benefits on offer from the organisations mentioned in this article visit their websites:

Or to search for job opportunities in public sector research on this website go to:

  • Find a job
  • Tailor your search by your field of expertise
  • Opt for “Research and Other Institutes” or “Other Public Sector” in employer types

Sign up also for the Jobs by email facility, to receive regular updates


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