For most people, the decision to continue their studies into postgraduate research degrees is driven largely by two quite different factors. A love for science, for the research method, even for the molecule, cell or organism that was the focus of the final research project as an undergraduate is a must. The desire for a career in academic science, for which those three magical letters P, h and D are a passport, is an admirable ambition. Yet, the path to the dreaming spires of academia is as difficult as you will find in any profession, with ever increasing competition for ever decreasing numbers of long-term contracts.

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