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A Self-fulfilling Prophecy: Building a Successful Career in Health Research



A Self-fulfilling Prophecy: Building a Successful Career in Health Research

Simon Stewart

ISBN: 978-0-470-51096-4 April 2007 184 Pages


To date, non-medical researchers, particularly those working in nursing and allied health, have suffered from a general lack of good, strategic advice on how to build their careers. Designed to assist readers in building their careers, A Self-fulfilling Prophecy: Building a Successful Career in Health Research, is a fascinating insight into author Simon Stewart’s, career as a health researcher. Using his unique experiences as a basis for the book, Stewart helps identify and overcome the many different obstacles of building an effective career framework.

The book breaks down the key to a successful career in health research, through a systematic analysis of how you can improve your curriculum vitae and positively influence external factors that will determine the eventual success of your career. PhD candidates and Post-Doctoral Fellows provide insights into how they have developed their own research careers, thus providing evidence that it is possible to achieve something substantive if you are able to think and judge your career in a critical manner.

A Self-fulfilling Prophecy: Building a Successful Career in Health Research offers guidance on the following issues:

  • How to choose an attractive research topic
  • How to benchmark yourself against peer competitors
  • How to compose a competitive research grant application
  • How to improve your overall skills as a health research
  • How to break the mould and stand out as a health researcher

This book will be a useful and informative read for anyone who is starting a career in both non-medical and medical health research or for readers who are looking for direction and inspiration in their existing career.

Author Profile vii

Foreword ix

Preface xi

1 Becoming a Strategic Researcher: Increasing your Chances of Long-Term Success 1

Introduction 1

Mentors and Role Models 2

Positive Peer Relationships 5

Hot Research Topics 6

Active Professional Engagement 7

Rapid Career Progress 8

Summary 9

2 Critical Self-Analysis and Personal Improvement: Do I Currently Have the Skills and Knowledge to Become an Expert Health Researcher? 11

Introduction 11

Critically Evaluating your Strengths and Weaknesses 13

Summary 20

3 Benchmarking your Capabilities and Performance: Improving your Chances of Success within a Competitive Environment 23

Introduction 23

Benchmarking your Career Progress 24

Identifying your Career Targets 26

Profiling your Competitors/Peers 27

Understanding the Background to Research: Australia’s National Priorities in Funding Health Research 28

Purpose of Personal Support: The NHMRC Post-Doctoral Training Fellowships 30

Scoring Individual Applications 31

Picking the Winners 37

Summary 38

4 Choosing the ‘Cutting-Edge’ of Health Research 39

Introduction 39

Identifying a ‘Hot’ Research Topic 39

New Research Horizons: The Heart of Soweto Study 42

Increasing Admissions for Heart Attack in Soweto: A Historical Comparison 46

Taking it One Step Further: Identifying a Unique Topic 52

Summary 54

5 From Potential to Reality: The Importance of Achieving Timely Milestones to Bring your Research to Fruition 57

Introduction 57

Completing a Timely and Successful PhD 59

Key Qualities of a PhD-Qualified Researcher 64

Consolidating a Foundation for Success: Post-Doctoral Fellowship 68

Summary 70

6 Becoming a Prolific Publisher 73

Introduction 73

Publishing: What Should You Be Aiming for? 74

Key Attributes of a Prolific Publisher 77

Summary 80

7 Successfully Applying for Competitive Research Funds to Support your Career Path and Research Programme 81

Introduction 81

Improving your Chances of Funding Success 82

Putting It All Together as Part of a Persuasive Research Application 85

Developing a Compelling Curriculum Vitae 121

Completing a Successful Interview 130

Summary 131

8 Putting It All Together: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Career Success in Health Research 133

Introduction 133

Putting It All Together 133

Personal Reflections on an Emerging Research Career 135

Summary 165

References 167

Index 169

"…provides the tools necessary for building an effective research career." (Doody's Health Services)

"It will be an informative read and invaluable resource for anyone who is starting a career in health research..."  (Journal of Advanced Nursing, November 2007)