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The National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) has been created by the National Postdoc Association in the USA and has been celebrated since 2009 all over the world.

This year, Queen's University Belfast is organising festivities for the first time in Northern Ireland!

These include a free public screening of a science-related movie followed by an interactive discussion with postdocs, a prizes ceremony, the launch of a specific website and multiple ways to show recognition to postdocs.

The aim of the NPAW is to raise awareness and celebrate the incredible achievements of postdoctoral researchers.

What is a postdoc?

A "Postdoc" is an early career researcher having already obtained a PhD. Postdocs work on short-term contracts to aquire additional training and experience in order to become the future leaders in academic research, private research, governmental institutions or any other successful career they can apply their skills to!

Postdocs plan and conduct research, analyse data and disseminate their results by publishing in scientific journals, interacting with policy makers or with private companies. They are also involved in teaching at the University, supervising students and junior staff and taking part in public engagement activities.

Postdocs are at the forefront of scientific discoveries, building a better future for all of us, and deserve all our gratitude for their hard work!

This short video explains who postdocs are and features a few postdocs from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queen's University Belfast, showing the diversity of research they are conducting.

Programme of the week


"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Thursday 20th September, 6 pm: Free screening of "The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks" at Queen's Film Theatre 

Starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of the woman behind the first cells successfully cultured in a dish in 1951, and how this major biomedical breakthrough affected her family.

How have the fields of cell culture, cancer and ethics evolved since then? Come and find out, and get a glimpse of the ground-breaking science carried out by postdoctoral researchers of Queen’s University Belfast, who will present their work and take part in an audience discussion.

Based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks chronicles Deborah Lacks’ (Oprah Winfrey) search, aided by journalist Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), to learn about the mother (Renée Elise Goldsberry) she never knew and understand how the unauthorised harvesting of Lacks' cancerous cells led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs.

Book your free tickets

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Show your recognition to QUB postdocs!

All week, wear PDC badges and share stories on social media!

Do you know postdocs doing an incredible work? As a student, have postdocs contributed to your success?

If yes, it's time to show how you value their work by wearing a PDC "I Love QUB Postdocs" badge and sharing pictures and stories with the #ILoveQUBPostdocs!

View postdoc recognition messages on #ILoveQUBPostdocs.

Badges are available to members of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences.

They can be collected from the 17th of September (within the limit of stocks) at:

- Centre for Experimental Medicine: Reception Wellcome Wolfson building

- Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology: Reception main building

- Centre for Public Health: First floor kitchen ICSB

- School of Pharmacy: Staff room (coffee room) in McClay building

- School of Biological Sciences: School office MBC and DKB

- School of Nursing and Midwifery: Communal room level 7

- Faculty MHLS: Reception Faculty office (1st floor, 90 Lisburn road) and PDC (3rd floor)

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PDC Postdoc Prizes

PDC prizes ceremony and reception

Thursday 20th September, 3 pm: PDC prizes ceremony

The PDC Postdoc Prizes aim to recognise the exceptional contributions of postdocs to the University and will be awarded as part of a ceremony. The ceremony (click "read more" for registration information) will take place at Queen's Film Theatre and will be followed by a drinks and nibbles reception before the free public screening of "the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks" (see above).

The prizes' ceremony is open to postdocs from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences upon registration only (see button below to book your ticket). Additional staff and students, including those who nominated postdocs for the prizes, will also be personally invited.

The prizes aim to reward those who excel in what they do, who “go the extra-mile” in their research, in their contribution to the life of the University, in their contribution to Public Engagement and in the provision of support for their group, colleagues, School.

Book your ticket to the ceremony

Booking open to FMHLS postdocs only.

Invited guests do not need to book a ticket via the link, just RSVP the PDC's invitation email.


For more details on the PDC prizes, the nomination process and the results (nominees and winners!), visit the PDC prizes' page:

PDC Prizes

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Launch of the PDC website

Information relevant to postdocs on the same site!

Monday 17th September: Launch of the PDC website

The PDC website regroups information of interest to postdocs in terms of training and resources available at QUB, funding opportunities and support, career development etc.

Check it out from the 17/09/18!

Visit the PDC website

The PDC website is designed for postdocs from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences but some information is also relevant to postdocs from other Faculties.

Sections of the website include:

  • About the PDC: aim, audience, staff, contact
  • New postdoc: New postdoc welcome booklet, induction, buddy schemes, useful links
  • Resources: workshops and programmes, events and news, PDC library, online resources (technical skills, teaching and supervision, organisation and project management, leadership and teamwork, business skills, impact and communication, career development)
  • Fellows: advice and resources only or primarily for fellowship holders
  • Funding: fellowship application, grants, travel fund, funding tools
  • Personal support: application (CV/cover letter) review, interview preparation (mock interviews, coaching sessions)
  • Policies: training, teaching, supervision, funding application, finance and budget management
  • Prospective postdocs: information on how to join the Faculty
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AHSS faculty postdoc lunch

Postdoc get together

Wednesday 19th September: AHSS Research Staff Appreciation Event

Across UK universities about a quarter of full-time academic staff are researchers on fixed-term contracts. Universities depend on the research expertise and experience of these staff to carry out a vast range of tasks involved in research projects, but we perhaps do not pause often enough to thank them for their contribution.

On September 19 (12 to 2 pm) we want to do just that by inviting all of our researchers in the AHSS Faculty to join us for lunch.

The event will be hosted by Tony Gallagher, Acting Research Dean for the Faculty. We have asked Alister Miskimmon, Head of the School of History, Anthropology, Politics and Philosophy (HAPP), and Danielle Blaylock, lecturer in the School of Psychology, and until recently a researcher working in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) to say a few words of appreciation on the role and contribution of our researchers.  We would also like to take some time to discuss the potential organisation of an AHSS Research Staff Society and career development support activities.

And you will get lunch!

Please register for the event via QOL using the above event title (This event is for postdocs of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences only).

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The festivities of the National Postdoc Appreciation Week are organised by the Postdoctoral Development Centre (PDC) of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queen's University Belfast.

The PDC provides tailored training, resources and support to postdoctoral researchers of the Faculty.

The screening of "The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks" is collaborativelly organised with Queen's Film Theatre and the Public Engagement officer of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences.

The AHSS postdoc lunch is organised by the Faculty of AHSS and Organisational Development.