In this series of articles, we take a closer look into those groups around the University representing postdocs at a departmental level. We find out how these organisations operate and provide more information on how to get involved in the events and activities on offer.
We start with the Clinical School Postdoc Committee, which is based at the Addenbrookes Biomedical Campus in the south of the city.
The need and, indeed, formation of a postdoctoral representation group within the Clinical School started in the summer of 2014 by a group of postdocs following the first meeting of the University’s Departmental Postdoc Committee Chairs Network (DPCCN). Postdocs from several departments based on the Addenbrooke’s site recognised a need for a School-wide entity which could help create a network for the large population of non-clinical researchers within the Clinical School.
A Postdoc Working Group was formed with strong support from the Clinical School (CS) and the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA). Athena SWAN lead - Professor Fiona Karet (currently CS Director of Organisational Affairs), University’s Postdoctoral Staff Coordinator - Joy Warde and head of the OPdA – Karina Prasad were instrumental in incentivising and facilitating the early work.
The number of postdocs based on the Addenbrooke’s site is estimated at around 600, the majority of who are non-clinical researchers. Despite the quite centralised governance structure of the Clinical School, this large community of postdocs had no formal representation, any dedicated space for interaction, or means of communication. The initial Postdoc Working Group and later CS Postdoc Committee aimed at building a sense of community.
In order to strengthen the Committee identity, a logo – amalgamate of DNA helix and the Aesculapian snake was designed and the snake has become a recurrent motif for the Committee’s graphical communication.
The Clinical School Postdoc Committee (CSPC) was formed with the broad aims in mind:
- To establish a community of Postdocs in the Clinical School and other research institutes located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus or affiliated with the Clinical School.
- To increase the visibility and provide a representative voice for the Clinical School Postdocs Community.
- To provide the opportunity for interaction, encourage collaboration and facilitate researcher development for Postdocs.
Apart from the organisation of a “flagship” Clinical School Postdoc Day, the Committee c
ooperates with other groups for organising events at the Biomedical Campus. These include the Postdoc Masterclass Committee, the PdOC Society and the Addenbrooke’s Graduate Forum. Events are promoted through the CS postdoc mailing list and via Twitter.
The postdoctoral community at the Biomedical Campus is growing, and its needs have to be recognised and addressed. The CS Postdoc Committee has a very important role in listening to the postdocs’ voice and representing them within, and beyond, the Clinical School. It also needs to assist postdocs throughout their time at the Biomedical Campus, help with their integration, development and progression onto their next destination.
There were many postdocs who contributed to the Working Group and Committee’s work over the past two years and we would like to express our gratitude to them all for their time and effort. The Committee would like to especially recognise Helen Brown and Claire King, the first co-chairs of the Postdoc Working Group, as well as Hannah West, Hilda Mujcic and Mae Goldgraben who lead the organisation of first CS Postdoc Day. All other group members that assisted with advice, support and help on the actual Postdoc Day were Jacek Mokrosinski, Laura Towns, Carl Spickett, Marko Tainio, Barbora Silarova, and Adina Feldman. After the first Postdoc Day, Jacek Mokrosinski, Deanne Patmore, Joanne Emery, Laura Towns, Carl Spickett and David Shorthouse formally joined the Committee, with several other postdocs occasionally attending Committee meetings or contributing in other ways.
Contact and Information:
The Postdoc Working Group secured and set up a website dedicated for Clinical School Postdocs:
In the run-up to the first CS Postdoc Day, the Clinical School bi-weekly newsletter introduced a section dedicated to postdocs. At the same time, a mailing list reaching all postdocs employed at the Clinical School was arranged with the help provided by the CS Human Resources team and is now run by dedicated CS Postdoc Committee Communication Officers.
The Committee also operates a Twitter account (@CambridgeCSPC) which has grown to over 80 followers.
Words, photographs and pictures courtesy of the Clinical School Postdoc Committee