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About the PDC

Promoting a positive postdoc experience and empowering researchers to progress their career

The aim of the Postdoctoral Development Centre is to support postdocs and researchers to progress their career, in and out of academia, as well as ensure they have a positive experience at Queen's. It is principally achieved by providing appropriate information and bespoke resources, as well as promoting a supportive environment and culture.

What we do

The PDC is the first point of contact for postdocs at Queen's and it co-ordinates initiatives around six themes:

Information:

  • We welcome new postdocs and facilitate the transition from a PhD, other role or different place
  • We communicate relevant opportunities via our website, social media and targeted emails and newsletters
  • We answer queries and direct individuals to appropriate resources and contacts

Development:

  • We organise and highlight workshops and learning & development resources
  • We provide and promote opportunities to develop new skills

Career:

  • We facilitate career exploration by showcasing career options in academia and beyond
  • We support self-reflection and career planning 
  • We provide feedback on CVs and mock interviews
  • We offer a platform for researchers to discuss career decisions one-to-one

Policy:

  • We review, improve, develop and clarify policies applying to postdocs
  • We develop guidance on "good practice" for postdocs and their managers

Representation:

  • We co-ordinate a network of postdoc and academic representatives, promoting a consistent positive experience across the institution
  • We provide a voice to postdocs, enabling them to input in Queen's offering and practices
  • We support postdoc-led researcher societies
  • We represent the interests of postdocs in relevant University committees

Recognition:

  • We co-ordinate the PDC Postdoc Awards
  • We ensure the many contributions of postdocs to Queen's are recognised by our systems and processes
  • We showcase achievements in our newsletter
  • We celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week

The actions of the PDC are part of a wider effort by Queen's to offer outstanding support to its researchers through the implementation the Concordat to support the career development of researchers, which resulted in the University beeing awarded the hr Excellence in research award. It also aligns with other institutional plans like the Research Culture Action Plan and the overall Strategy 2030.

Who we support

The offering of the Postdoctoral Development Centre is tailored to the needs of research staff who are employed on a postdoctoral research contract (e.g. a contract that requires a PhD, most of the time fixed-term), which are usually termed "Research Fellows" at Queen's. The PDC's support is however open to ALL research staff at Queen's, whatever they have a PhD or not, or a permanent contract or not. There is a range of different roles in the University and we expect that all researchers will find at least part of the PDC's offering to suit their needs. Registration priorities for specific groups will only apply to highly-tailored programmes with limited places.

Fellowship holders (postdoctoral researchers who obtained their own funding) are also expected to benefit from the PDC, especially those at the earliest stages of their path to independence. All fellowship holders are also included in the Fellowship Academy, which provides bespoke support for fellows. 

PhD researchers, including clinicians undertaking a PhD and MSCA-funded PhDs, should seek support from The Graduate School, not the PDC, in particular when it comes to workshops and one-to-one support. Students are however welcome to attend events such as online Career Exploration Interviews etc. when places are available or unlimited. Get in touch with us if unsure.

Visiting scholars, who join a research team at Queen's for a given period of time as part of a collaboration agreement (see visiting scholar procedure) are not technically employed by Queen's and won't automatically receive PDC and staff communications. Visiting scholars do not normally benefit from staff training opportunities but we will do our best to accomodate visitors attending workshops and events when possible and to make them feel part of the Queen's postdoc communitee (we may sometimes have to limit access to University staff, for example in the case of high demand courses with limited places). Please get in touch so that we add you to our mailing list.

We realise that some teaching staff, especially in the Arts and Humanities, may carry out side research activities without being employed on a research contract, and as such would not receive our communications but may be interested in what the PDC offers. Please don't hesitate to contact us to sign up for our updates.

Who we are

Dr Alice Dubois, PDC Manager

Alice is responsible for defining the strategy and provision of the PDC. She organises many of the activities, manages representation and policy work, and provides one-to-one support to postdocs.

Alice originally established the PDC as a pilot initiative in the MHLS Faculty in January 2018 and ran that centre for almost four years before it became a central resource for all postdocs and researchers at Queen's for the academic year 2021-22.

She was initially the only staff member of the PDC, delivering on all aspects, but will now focus mainly on strategy, policy and individual support, thanks to the arrival of Erin in December 2021! Alice works directly with postdocs and academic representatives from Schools, Centres and Societies, as well as with a range of collaborators in other Directorates and outside of Queen's, notably to promote postdoctoral support in other institutions.

For her work in establishing the MHLS PDC pilot and its rapid impact on postdocs, Alice received the Vice-Chancellor's Research Prize for Research Support in 2019 and was one of the 4 shortlisted candidates for the Outstanding Leadership Staff Excellence Award in 2020.

Previously, Alice had obtained her PhD on innate immune mechanisms and proteolysis at the University of Tours in France, before moving to the Centre for Infection and Immunity (now the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine) at Queen's to research lung immunology as a postdoc. In 2016, she joined the local Postdoc Committee then the MHLS Postdoc Society and started organising events and programmes to support the career development of postdocs. A clear example of how a "side activity" can start a career!

Email Alice: a.dubois@qub.ac.uk

Erin Davidson, Project Assistant

Erin coordinates workshops and events for the PDC, supports the Representatives’ Network and manages many of the PDC communications.

Erin joined the team in December 2021 and is quickly becoming indispensable! Erin is qualified in CMI Project Management. She has extensive experience in organising events, designing visuals and managing websites and social media communications. She spends most of her time supporting the PDC but also assists the impact team in the Research Policy Office with projects.

Before joining the PDC, Erin worked in the Staff Training and Development Unit (now Learning and Development) for over 12 years, where she was responsible for organising training courses and events for staff. She joined the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences to support the Gender Equality Team as the Faculty Equality Coordinator and was responsible for the coordination and communication of all Gender Equality events across the Faculty, before becoming the Projects and Communications Coordinator for Queen’s Gender Initiative.

In addition to her full-time role, Erin is currently studying Digital Marketing.

She is very excited to be part of the team!

Email Erin: e.davidson@qub.ac.uk

How to get in touch

We work flexibly between our Queen's office and home. For that reason, we may not always have access to our phone and the best way to contact us is by email or MS Teams. We do not keep a permanent office presence so it is best to check with us if we are on site before dropping by our office. We'd love to see you though!

Dropping by and meetings on site will depend on Public Health guidelines and NI and University guidance.

pdc@qub.ac.uk 

We are currently working off site with no access to phone 

 

The PDC staff are based in a shared office on the ground floor of the Research and Enterprise building

63 University Road

Belfast BT7 1HF

  

Accessing the PDC by public transport

Our building is easy to access by train, bus and Belfast bikes.

Train station:

  • City Hospital

Bus stops:

  • City Hospital (lines 23, 38, 51, 103, 109, 523, 525, 530, 538, 551, 9a, 9b, 9c, 103b)
  • Queen's University (lines 13, 22, 93, 209, 522, 524, 8a, 22a, 24a, 524a, 8b, 8c, 8d)

Belfast Bikes' stations

  • Station 3933 (Queen's University Road)
  • Station 3934 (Queen's University / Botanic Gardens)
  • Station 3935 (Belfast City Hospital)
  • Station 3924 (Bradbury Place)

Plan your train or bus journey with Translink 

View Bikes availability and the map of Belfast Bikes stations