Human factors/cognitive scientist type jobs

Discussion in 'Jobs (Discussion)' started by amazing__lobster, Jan 21, 2013.

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  1. Just wondering if anybody here knows how one would go about getting into the research side of the defence industry?

    I'm coming up towards the end of a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (in one of the UKs top ten departments for research), and before this I was in the RE as a soldier (not a particularly exciting career, but the experience can maybe be put to good use). Anyway, my current research is focused on factors influencing visual attention, and the interplay between visual attention, eye movements, hand movements etc. I'm also based in one of the UK's top departments for psychology research for this.

    I have skills in research design, statistics, disseminating research (presentations, posters at international conferences, (currently writing stuff up for publication), programming (MATLAB mainly: - data preparation, communication with third party hardware, stimuli presentation etc), reaction-time analysis.

    Over the next year, I expect to get more experience with these skills, and also further ones like experience in signal detection analysis (although I'm also at the stage where if I need to learn a skill, I can go about acquiring it myself).

    Originally my intent was to stay in academia/university research environments, but increasingly I'm drawn to the idea of a career in industry, and particularly the defence industry.

    So if anybody here has any general advice, or contacts in this area then I'd interested to hear from you. Although if there are people in a position to offer post-docs reading this, then I'd be pleased to hear from you also.

    Best wishes,

  2. Have you asked BAe, Qinetiq, etc?
  3. Give DSTL a call. You could bring your PhD proposal to the table for support, or look for research posts within the department. I did some work with them. Apart from insane RAF Wing Commander trying to be clever whilst surrounded by gallactically intelligent PhD boffins they seemed very competent (if a little nutty):
  4. Ditto the above - have a look at Dstl - they will like the mil exp bit as well.

  5. I can only speak generally about the HF world, not being my part of the industry.

    Your career path will be very different to that embarked upon by someone with similar aspirations 5 or 10 years ago. Be aware that MOD research funding has been significantly cut in the last few years, disproportionately so compared to other areas in order to ensure money finds its way to the front line. As such the opportunities these days are more limited, however the demographic within the industry is rapidly ageing, and there is the chance to make a mark as a 'young gun'.

    A lot of research goes out to consortia these days, which keeps it away from the BAE and QinetiQs of the world, indeed some people may comment that it has been deliberately kept away from those two in order to widen the supplier base. As such I would recommend you consider some of the small/medium enterprises that are cropping up and increasing taking the big boys' dinner away. This will offer you a more dynamic environment, with a growing market share, and the chance to make a mark more quickly.

    The big boys are and will be shedding a lot of jobs over the next few years. However, if you are a little more conservative, almost all of them have Human Factors departments that will periodically require new blood. Finally, Dstl is an option. Dstl is probably one of the only parts of MOD that has been growing over the last 10 years, and there is some angst in industry that they taking on work that could be put out to the competitive market, however they have a significant HF presence and get involved in some of the more interesting/classified parts of defence.

    If you want I can PM you a list of some suppliers that are in some of the HF research consortia, this would be a good starting point. It goes without saying to get yourself on LinkedIn, if you havent already.
  6. Thanks for the advice here everyone. It's certainly something I'm going to look into and the advice here has provided me with some useful information.

    I was potentially offered some work experience with a defence company, but I'm just so busy trying to finish off my PhD before my funding runs out, that I'm not able to commit the time, although it's something I'll have time for once I've had my viva.

    Thanks again,

  7. I occasionally lunch at NATS (Air Traffic Control) Hants, it's full of weird people with enormous heads all full of thoughts, you can see them zinging about under the flesh. There was a very low upper age limit for recruitment as ATC's, something to do with cognitive neuroscience and visual acuity or somesuch malarkey, which has since been lifted so long as you can pass the tests. I wouldn't know if they have their own in-house experts on setting tests, or just rent them in, but they might need some. You could explore continued funding whilst working on things that interest them - e.g. 'statistical probability' is the only statistically-probable way they'll stay out of the cack on the inevitable day when two airliners do a head-on, with everyone first trying to blame it on communicating with third-party hardware.

    On a serious note, I'd consider speculatively contacting them, whether they have an advertised vacancy or not. Not a defence industry per se, but full of uniformed RAF-types so ....... ok, not a defence industry. Best get a named person to see there, layered on-site security is low-key but quite effective so you can't just turn up with a folio.
  8. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    A friend from my MSc has worked for DSTL for about 5 years. I contacted her recently about the potential of funding for research. If you'd like to sound her out let me know.

    Sent from my Nexus 7
  9. Thanks for the reply - that's actually something I'd consider too, but hadn't actually thought of (though makes sense).

    Thanks again! A_L