Top 10 Universities in the UK

Top 10 Universities in the UK

Before I even started my PhD I was already thinking about carrying out PostDoc in a foreign country and had my sights set on going to the US. I had previously carried out a degree in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin and now I was starting a PhD just across the city at University College Dublin. Like most scientists I loved to travel, I had already been to the US to carry out undergraduate research at the University of California, Davis so I decided looking for a postdoc position in the US would be the goal.

However, like everything in life nothing is certain and when I saw an advertisement come up for a postdoc position at the department of genetics in the University of Cambridge focussing on the cell cycle I knew I had to apply for it. Luckily I was from Ireland, so had a good grasp of UK culture, knew what to expect when moving over and language was never going to be a problem. However, when looking for postdoc positions, many international researchers will not know the UK well or have an idea where to start looking.

Top UK universities for PostDoc jobs

Without having to say it, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and Kings College London will be the first Universities that come to mind when researchers think about great Universities in the UK. However, the UK has an incredible amount of research institutions that carry out top class research.

If you are a cancer researcher, Cancer Research UK, have amazing semi-independent institutes that publish amazing research. CRUK institutes are dotted all over of the UK and some of the most notable are the:

PostDoc positions in London

If you are looking are looking to move to London, you will find:

If you haven’t visited to London already, it’s an amazing vibrant city, but this comes at a price. Living in London can be extremely expensive, although London PostDoc positions do have an increased salary that is higher than other postdoc salaries within the UK.

PostDoc positions in Cambridge

Cambridge is an amazing place, during my time as a postdoc there I met some incredibly smart people, I saw James Watson talk and countless other amazing scientists that I had only seen from a distance at the AACR. Since I worked at Cambridge it has opened so many doors for me when looking for jobs and networking with people. Cambridge is a city of about 100,000 people, 45 mins on the train outside of London from King’s Cross London (I think the train leaves at quarter past the hour every hour). When you visit Cambridge you will see no other city like it (well except Oxford), the history of the city, (Watson and Crick unravelled the structure of DNA at the Cavendish laboratory), the atmosphere and the feeling of academic excellence.

The first place you start when looking for a job at Cambridge is the University website (, once on the page you should sign up the PostDoc position job alerts, I found this extremely helpful and I definitely wouldnt have found my job or applied for other positions that I was interested in without this email.

Like every other University, Cambridge is broken into departments and institutes which include

Some departments and institutes might have separate job posting pages that you mind need to sign up to.

Where to rent and live in Cambridge

As mentioned above, Cambridge is a really small city that you will be able to cycle around within 30 mins. However, just like London, Cambridge is an expensive city and prices for rent are above the price of a city of similar size. When looking for somewhere to live popular places include Mill Road which is just 5 mins from the centre of the city, Cherry Hinton which is about 3 miles outside the city centre and about 20 mins on the Number 1 bus, Chesterton which is also 5 mins from the city. If you are looking for somewhere cheaper to rent Impington, Histon are great alternatives. Rent prices in Impington and Histon are somewhat lower that apartments in the city centre and have direct transport to the city centre on the guided bus route which runs every 15 mins during the day.

Renting accommodation in Cambridge

What you do need to know is that there are two possible ways of renting an apartment in Cambridge. If you to decide to go through a letting agency you will have to pay file to application to rent the apartment, this may cost anywhere from 50-150 pounds which is non-refundable if you dont get the apartment and will many people applying for an apartment this can costly if you dont get the places you want. The alternative is to search for apartments through and go through a private landlord. For me, this was the best option as I got to know the landlord, paid a reasonable amount of rent and didnt risk losing 150 filing applications for apartments that I was never going to be able to rent.

PostDoc positions in the Manchester

Manchester is a great city, probably one of my favourite in the UK, it has a great nightlife, music and sports culture, a really great choice for any perspective postdoc looking for a mix of fun and science in the UK. The University of Manchester is the primary research institute in Manchester for the life sciences.

You can find the University of Manchester careers page here:

Here is where you will find updates on postdoc positions and research assistant position at the University.

More UK universities

20th May 2022 Sean Mac Fhearraigh

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