Careers in Geoscience: Academic
All states in Australia maintain several earth science schools at key universities. Universities carry out two key functions; teaching of Earth Sciences and research in a variety of fields within the Earth Sciences. Academic geoscientists generally carry out both teaching and research roles while some may work purely in research (including pure research and specialist areas such as industry funded research, research institutes/centres). Research in specialist areas of geoscience is also carried out in government organisations such as Geoscience Australia (who have a national focus including hydrogeology, exploration potential, natural hazards and Australia’s maritime jurisdiction), State Geological Survey Organisations and CSIRO (specialised research to facilitate cost effective exploration and discovery of new mineral resources).
The type of activities can be broadly divided into teaching and research roles.Teaching Activities:
- Lecturing, tutoring, practical classes, field excursions
- Reviewing previous research
- Geological mapping and sampling in areas of interest
- Laboratory studies – microscopy, petrology, analytical techniques including X-ray technology, electron microscopy, laser ablation, geochemical analysis, petrophysics
- Modelling of data
- Presentation of data in 2D and 3D form
- Publishing results
- Conferences, presentations.
The job carries a high level of responsibility, because the geoscientific information needs to be accurate and presented clearly and succinctly. Advice often given to Governments at all levels needs to be accurate and unbiased (even if ultimately ignored).
Typical skills required are:
- Strong knowledge of a range of Earth Science disciplines
- Good written, verbal communication and presentation skills (e.g. writing academic papers, writing funding proposals and presenting research and ideas while teaching and at conferences)
- Ability to work within a multidisciplinary team of scientists and technical support staff
- Ability to work autonomously (drive)
- Good organisational and time management skills
- Computer literacy and ability to analyse numerical and graphical data and preferably skills in using GIS applications
- Research skills.