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Postdoc symposium 2011

The annual SMDB postdoctoral symposium will take place on Friday, 20th of May 2011 in the Great Hall, Queen's University Belfast. Exploring career options and the skills needed for success is this year's theme. The welcome address this year will be given by Professor James McElnay, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates in Queen's. Speakers from academia and industry will provide their insights on career options. Postdocs from each centre in the School will give scientific presentations throughout the day also. The day's events finish with a breakout and networking session firstly in the Great Hall, followed by informal networking in the Parlour from 5pm onwards!

The final date to submit abstracts for oral presentations is Friday, 22nd of May 2011.

The final date for registration for the symposium is Friday, 6th of May 2011.

Please note that the Centre Directors expect attendance at this event.


Post Doc Society AGM 8th October 2010

A final reminder about the Postdoc Society AGM which will take place at 3.00 pm today, in the CCRCB Basement Seminar Room, followed by a food and drinks reception. 

All postdoctoral staff from the 4 centres within the School are encouraged to attend to ensure fair representation across the entire postdoctoral community.

In addition we would like to invite all staff and students to join us for drinks and food from 3:30pm onwards.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:
1.      Welcome (including thanking everyone who has left the committee)
2.      Update on Activities (including feedback from meetings with Paddy and Directors)
3.      Future Plans (with audience participation/feedback)
4.      Elections (Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer & Secretary)
5.      Pizza and Beer

Postdoc Syposium summary and feedback

We had a number of specific aims for the inaugural symposium: 

  • to launch the newly formed SMDB Postdoc Society
  • to bring together researchers from across the school with the objective of forging new collaborations and strengthening current contacts
  • to inform postdocs about issues influencing their personal and career development
  • to initiate an active discussion forum for highlighting current issues affecting postdocs in the School and exploring solutions

These aims were all successfully addressed during the event. Attendance at the symposium was excellent with 90 postdocs participating; there were also 2 invited guest speakers from outside the university, 3 members of ECIT (Electronics, Communications and Information Technology) who are interested in setting up a similar postdoc society in their School and also representatives of the QUB Staff Training and Development Unit and Careers, Employability and Skills.

The Symposium was opened by Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the School. He presented his vision for the future of the School and highlighted the important role that postdocs will play in achieving that vision. This was the first time many postdocs had heard the long term plans for the School and proved an extremely informative presentation. Simon McDade, chairman of the SMDB Postdoc Society, officially launched the Society.

We were very fortunate to have Dr Odette Dewhurst, Senior Research Training and Development Officer, Leeds University as our first guest speaker. Dr Dewhurst gave a really informative talk on the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS), the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and Vitae, the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. She is the Chair of Vitae’s Research Staff Development Advisory Group (ReSDAG) which provides expertise around research staff issues and informs the strategy and practice of the Vitae programme. Before the symposium a survey postdocs revealed that most researchers had never heard of the Concordat or Vitae, with only a few having a good understanding of these important initiatives. 

To give a flavour of the research going on within the School there were 4 oral presentations, one from each research centre. The speakers were chosen by PIs or centre directors to represent the individual research centres. Dr Lesley Anderson was awarded the prize for best oral presentation as judged by invited guests and members of the postdoc committee. Her talk on the research she performs currently in the Centre for Public Health gave an excellent overview of the Centre and how collaborations between the centres could be formed and fostered. There was also a short poster session with ~60 different posters from across the School. The prize for the best poster was awarded to dr Joan Kyula from the CCRCB.

We wanted to try something different with this symposium to encourage postdoc interactions so the afternoon session consisted of a series of round table events. As well as preliminary discussion of postdoc issues, a number of teambuilding and collaboration challenges were introduced to encourage participation and discussion. Despite an initial reticence, the postdocs rose to the challenge and structures were built from spaghetti and jelly babies (some more successfully than others!) and nearly all of the 12 groups managed to come up with a collaboration project involving all members at their table (6-8 researchers). Underneath the apparent light-heartedness of these interactive exercises, they provided postdocs with clear ideas about the role they play in teams and were actually really successful at breaking down barriers to communication. 

To provide further information about training and career options Paul Monahan from STDU and John Copelton from Careers, employability and skills gave presentations on training and funding available at QUB and also challenged postdocs to be more proactive in their career choices, and to prepare for opportunities outside of the SMDB research environment. A final talk from our last guest speaker, Dr David Proctor from Dundee provided an excellent introduction to a well established postdoc association.  the Dundee College of Life Sciences Postdoc Association has been a model for many subsequent UK postdoc Societies.

We finished the day with an open discussion on postdoc issues and areas in common that the Society could address. We felt it was important not to let this discussion become an endless list of gripes so the committee members played a key role in introducing practical advice and potential solutions for many of the issues.  A clear list of issues has been drawn up and will be addressed at future Society interactions with the School Board.

The Society would like to thank the Contract Research Staff Training and Development Fund Committee and the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences for their support of this event and their encouragement in the introduction and launch of the SMDB postdoc Society.  

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Postdoc Symposium next week - timetable available

Thanks to all who have registered for the postdoc symposium next Thursday (18th February), we are expecting about 100 attendees on the day.  Registration will be open from 8:30 onwards.  The symposium will start at 9 AM sharp with an address from Prof. Patrick Johnston.  Please try to be there on time. 

Click here to see the full timetable

There is parking available at the Ramada (follow this link for directions), the symposium will take place in The Madrona Suite on the first floor of the hotel.  We aim to be finished at 5, unless you are staying on for the dinner.  If you have no way of getting to the hotel please try and organise to travel with colleagues. 

We are looking forward to seeing you all on the day!

Vivien Hodges

 On Behalf of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Postdoc Society

Postdoc Symposium

Dear Post-docs,
Happy New Year! 

To launch the newly formed School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Postdoc Society we are holding a symposium on Thursday 18th February 2010 at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw's Bridge.

The Society will be formally launched at the symposium following an introduction from the Dean of the school, Professor Paddy Johnston.  The morning session of the symposium will consist of a guest speaker from RCUK/Vitae and 4-6 short oral presentations to represent each of the four Research Centres, as well as poster presentations, with teambuilding and collaboration challenges in the afternoon.

This will be a useful way to gain insight into the diverse research going on within the School and gain new directions and opportunities as well as new contacts with other post-docs.

Registration and abstract documents can be downloaded from here.
The closing date for abstract submission is Wednesday 27th January.
The symposium is endorsed by the Dean and Head of School and by the Centre Directors who expect full attendance.

There will be prizes awarded for the best oral presentation and the top poster presentations. In addition, there will also be a wine reception following the symposium and a dinner at the Ramada to which all attendees are invited. 

Decisions on individual presentation formats (oral/poster) will be emailed in due course.

Please return abstracts by email to the Postdoc Society.

We look forward to hearing from you, 

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Postdoc Society Committee

Any queries should be addressed to:

Vivien Hodges (Organiser)

Cheryl McFarlane (CII)

Stephen Todd (CPH)

Andre Berner (CVVS) 

Simon McDade (CCRCB)

Cancer Bioinformatics Workshop Series starting soon!

We have liaised with the bioinformatics cluster to tailor the courses they are going to deliver for Post-docs to address our requirements. These courses have been designed with molecular biology in mind.

The courses will be held on a last Thursday od each month, starting on January 29. For a full schedule and more details, see section.

Pub Quiz

The Pub Quiz took part on Wednesday, October 14th 2009 in the Errigle Inn. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves!