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Ongoing work and progress

PDC Representatives' Network 2021-22

Members of the PDC Representatives' Network contribute to directly addressing some of our priorities and Researcher Development Concordat Actions, by joining specific working groups.

Here we provide a list of the working groups for 2021-22, their objectives, progress and members.

Career Options Working Group

Main aim of the Career Options Working Group:

Showcase career options to postdocs in a range of disciplines, notably by linking with postdoc alumni and/or other contacts with careers in and out of academia 

Progress (May 2022):

Career Insight Interview series organised and hosted by members of the group: monthly online sessions in which two professionals share information on their role and personal experience navigating their career post-PhD (open to all). 

Sessions were held on 25 Mar, 27 May, plan for 24 Jun. Another interview focused on entrepreneurship was organised following advice from the group on 5 May, and complements other events from Nov 2021, and ECRday2022 organised by Dr Alison Garden in May. A school-based career event is also being organised in the School of Mathematics and Physics on 31 May.

Members:

  • Dr Simon Cameron, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Ciaran McCoy, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Ryan Milligan, School of Mathematics and Physics
  • Dr David Scott, School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Professor Gerd Wagner, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Claire Tonry, Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine
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Leadership Working Group

Main aim of the Leadership Working Group:

Shape a new Postdoctoral Leadership Programme, providing input on the content, format, selection process and potential additional resources to enable postdocs to develop their leadership skills.

Progress (May 2022):

The content, eligibility criteria and application process have been finalised and the new Postdoctoral Leadership Programme has been advertised to postdocs (deadline to apply 20 May). It will take place in Riddel Hall on 21 Jun and 5 Jul 2022.

Some members will be involved in the selection process. The group also intends to discuss follow up events on leadership for year 2022-23 as well as how to effectively assess the new course.

Members:

  • Dr Prabhath Piyasena, Centre for Public Health
  • Dr Neha Mehta, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 
  • Dr Hiroki Shin, School of History, Anthropology and Phylosophy and Politics
  • Dr Malcolm Brown, School of Nursing and Midwifery 
  • Dr Melissa LaBonte Wilson, The Patrick G. Johnson Centre for Cancer Research
  • Dr Gareth Robinson, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
  • Dr Amy Dumigan, Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine 
  • Dr Vijay Tiwari, Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine

 

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National Postdoc Appreciation Week Working Group

Main aim of the National Postdoc Appreciation Week Working Group:

Discuss and organise an event/events (and potentially other initiatives) for all Queen’s postdocs to take place during National Postdoc Appreciation Week (e.g., postdoc showcase event).

This is a postdoc-led group and members are fully in charge; the PDC provides insight and support as required by the members.

Progress (May 2022):

A one-day Postdoc Showcase event is being planned for Sep 19, with the theme of 'Resilience and innovation' with some expert talks and presentations by postdocs (oral and posters) at Riddel Hall. It will include prizes and opportunities to share a profile.

In addition to the showcase, the PDC will also organise the PDC Postdoc Awards, who are traditionally awarded during National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Nominations should open in June.

Members:

  • Dr Darren Conway, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Claire Wright, School of Law
  • Dr Matthew Streeter, School of Mathematics and Physics 
  • Dr Ife Bolaji, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr Behnam Firoozi Nejad, Natural and Built Environment 
  • Dr Niall Byrne, School of Pharmacy

 

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Supervision Working Group

Main aim of the Supervision Working Group:

Identify means to enable and recognise contributions of postdocs to the supervision of undergraduate and master taught students, in a way that is consitent across the university. This would add to previous work to enable and recognise contributions to the supervision of PhD students (see Assistant Supervisor role).

Progress (May 2022):

The group has identified key areas to focus on and conducted an initial scoping of current practices and opinions across schools. They will now develop a proposal for schools, taking into account the feedback received.

Members:

  • Dr Linda Oyama, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Charlene McShane, Centre for Public Health
  • Dr Victoria Cairnduff, Centre for Public Health  
  • Dr Ahmed Ibrahim Osman, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 
  • Dr Georgios Karakonstantis, School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
  • Dr Philip Boland, School of Natural and Built Environment
  • Dr Lauren Cairns, Patrick G. Johnson Centre for Cancer Research 

 

 
 
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Work-Life Balance Working Group

Main aim of the Work-Life Balance Working Group:

Identify and develop good practice guidance and advice for postdocs and their managers, in order to mitigate current issues that affect the work-life balance of postdocs (e.g., linked to working hours and other working patterns, time off, communications and “always-on” culture etc.), and improve research culture as a result.

Progress (May 2022):

The group has drafted guidance and advice, which are being circulated amongst relevant committees and university departments to ensure they are aligned with other initiatives and to receive feedback. They will notably be discussed at PROG and with the wider PDC Reps' Netowork in May.

Future work includes adapting and getting the guidelines approved, as well as developing a plan to effectively disseminate them.

Members:

  • Dr Áine Aventin, School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Dr Annemarie Millar, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
  • Dr Estelle Lowry, School of Natural and Built Environment
  • Dr Gillian Carter, School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Dr Paul Toner, School of Psychology
  • Dr Sara Lorimer, School of Psychology

 

 
 
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PDC Actions 2021-22

Some of our actions are delivered by the PDC, without a direct involvement of the network (but taking their feedback and suggestions into account of course!). Some such priorities are listed below around main themes.

All actions (for year 1, 2021-22, and the following two years) in our institutional Researcher Development Concordat Action Plan are available on our Researcher Development Concordat page.

Welcoming new research staff

Main aim:

Help new postdocs and research staff settle in their new environment and role to improve their experience, ensuring they are aware of the main resources, support and policies applying to them.

Progress (May 2022):

The PDC has introduced a 'New Postdoc induction' online in Mar 2022, which received great feedback from participants, and will be organised approximately every 2 months (in person). A 'New postdoc welcome booklet' packed with practical information was also developped and will be updated regularly. The PDC now also holds a 'stand' (virtual so far) at all the all staff welcome events, and signposting to these resources is systematically sent to new research staff when they are recruited.

Additional resources in this space have been/ will be introduced at a more local level (Centre, School and/ or Faculty), such as welcoming buddy schemes, local inducations etc.

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Review of Learning & Development offering

Main aim:

Identify and comprehensively regroup and advertise Learning and Development opportunities relevant to postdocs across Queen's, as well as identify and fill gaps in the provision.

Progress (May 2022):

relevant opportunities were collected from multiple departments around Queen's and added to the PDC website, both as a list of core workshops and in thematic development pages. A gap analysis was carried out, highlighting that additional provision around leadership development, career progression (academic or not) and supervision. New core workshops were introduced as a result by the PDC and Organisational Development (see details below).

New workshops introduced in 2021-22:

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One-to-One Support

Main aim:

Help individuals develop their career in a personalised manner, notably providing feedback on application and interview preparation.

Progress (May 2022):

Alice in the PDC now provides one-to-one meetings to postdocs, feedback on CVs and interview perparation (as one-to-one coaching or as mock interviews). This new offering is added to other personalised support (career discussion with consultant for participants of the 'Developing Your Research Career' programme), and fellowship support from the Reasearch Development team (one-to-one meetings related to funding applications, proposal feedback and fellowship mock interviews).