It is essential to the PDC and Queen's that:
- Researchers at Queen's have a positive experience
- The support we provide is of quality and addressing the needs of current postdocs
- Researchers have a platform to express their opinion, issues and ideas
- The policies and guidance we develop are reasonable and suit researchers and their managers
- The experience of postdocs and researchers is consistent across the institution (aka. they have access to opportunities as similar as reasonably possible in different Schools)
- Postdocs and researchers have the opportunity to develop leadership by driving the organisation of local events
Consultation and input from postdocs and academics from across the University are thus primordial, and Queen's is establishing new mechanisms to facilitate this:
- PROG: University-wide committee deciding on the main priorities and directions; it includes both postdoc and academic representatives alongside relevant members of professional services (introduced in 2020)
- PDC Representatives Network: this network inputs on initiatives and events undertaken by the PDC, shares good practice between different Schools and Faculties and runs local initiatives (established January 2022)
- Postdoc Society: this postdoc-led group of volunteers organise social events, research-related events (seminars and symposia) and specialist training etc. for their peers (established December 2022). It is funded and supported by the PDC.
As a postdoc or researcher, it is important that you attend gatherings organised by your representatives and let them know what you think. You can also volunteer to help your representatives or become one yourself when positions are advertised, as well as join your Faculty postdoc society.
You can develop many skills and experience by taking part in the organisation of events for postdocs, such as career events, symposia, the Postdoc Showcase or National Postdoc Appreciation Week events.
The Postdoctoral and Research staff Oversight Group (PROG) is a University-wide committee reporting to the Research and Innovation committee. It oversees general University strategy and support relevant to postdocs and research staff. One of the important roles of PROG is to review the progress of the PDC and of the implementation of the University's Researcher Development Concordat Action Plan.
PROG terms and references:
- Delegated authority from Research & Innovation Committee to develop strategies, proposals, policies and procedures on matters pertaining to the postdoctoral and contract research staff cohort including, but not limited to, career development, employment-related issues, support structures and mechanisms, and wider issues relating to the research culture and environment.
- To monitor and provide strategic guidance on the implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers at the University, including monitoring delivery of agreed implementation plans.
- To monitor and provide strategic advice and guidance to inform the development and ongoing delivery of institutional support mechanisms including the Postdoctoral Development Centre and the Fellowship Academy.
Lorraine Martin (Acting-Chair - Nominated by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise - covering Denise Fitzgerald's maternity leave), Muiris MacCarthaigh (Academic representative - AHSS), to be appointed (Academic Representative – EPS), Gunnar Schroeder (Academic Representative – MHLS), Stephen McMahon (Fellowship Academy Representative), Alice Dubois (Postdoctoral Development Centre Manager), Chris Browne (Head of Research Strategy and Engagement), Paul Monahan (Learning and Development Consultant), Cathy Robson (HR Business Partner), Peter Stephenson (Research Development Manager), Erin Davidson (Research Policy Assistant).
Postdoctoral representation at this committee is flexible, with members of the PDC Representatives' Network, Postdoc Society or other being invited to attend to report and discuss specific initiatives they have been involved with, or topics they are particularly interested in. This enables more postdocs to avail from the opportunity to contribute, ensures a diversity of opinions and initiatives are brought to the group, and reduces the time commitment for individual researchers.
The PDC Representatives' network was established in January 2022 and includes postdocs and academics from Schools across the three Faculties.
The representatives provide feedback and input on PDC initiatives, both in terms of defining priorities and shaping what they would look like, so that the PDC's provision remains relevant to Queen's postdocs from different areas and over time. Individual Schools and Faculties decide how they want to be represented, and some may have more than one representative.
Representatives relate their opinion, needs and issues, as well as the ones of their local postdocs to the PDC. They also help communicating opportunities and relevant information to postdocs, academic staff, and senior management locally.
The representatives also act as "champions" for their local area, acting as point-of-contact for local postdocs, linking with their senior management team and organising local gatherings, events, communications and monitoring the implementation of policy and practice as appropriate. They may gather a bigger team of postdoc volunteers to help with some aspects of their role.
The priorities of the PDC and the Representatives' Networks are set by Queen's institutional Researcher Development Concordat action plan. Find out more about which challenges and initiatives they are currently tackling:
The Postdoc Society is led by and made up of postdocs and research staff from all Faculties at Queen's.
The society was established in October 2022 to support Postdocs and Research Staff during their time at Queen's.
The society will play a crucial role in organising events and initiatives that promote networking between researchers across the institution and within their own Faculties, including social events, research-related events (seminars and symposia) and specialist training etc. The society will also advocate for postdocs through their links with the PDC and other committees.