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Postdocs of Cambridge Society



Workshop I: Input into the Review of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The Concordat is a central policy document for higher education in the UK, currently undergoing a review process coordinated by Research Councils UK. The purpose of this workshop is to provide a cross-sector input into the review from the perspective of postdocs.

Meeting participants will join one of seven workshop groups, one group for each principle of the Concordat:

  1. Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
  2. Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation’s human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.
  3. Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
  4. The importance of researchers’ personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
  5. Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
  6. Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.
  7. The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.

The following questions will be discussed:

  1. Experiences
  2. Ideas for development, adaptation and revision
  3. Ideas for evaluation

The outcomes from each group will be discussed during session 4 on the second day of the National Postdoc Meeting. The conclusions will be recorded and presented during the panel discussion following the meeting, and submitted to the Expert Review Panel for the Concordat.


Workshop II: The Impact of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) on Postdocs

The REF is the key way in which the government makes funding decisions with regards to Universities. Although in place to determine the quality and scope of the University, the research is largely carried out by contract research staff.  As recommendations proposed in the Stern review for the next round of REF in 2021 will affect postdoctoral research staff, in 2017 the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) surveyed research staff across the UK to inform a response to HEFCE’s REF consultation.

During this interactive workshop, participants will discuss the views and concerns of research staff in relation to the proposed changes and the impacts they foresee on their current roles and future careers. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss how their own institutions are approaching these possible changes and how researcher developers are looking to support them.  By the end of the workshop we hope participants will be better educated on REF and have produced a framework for how best to support their own careers during the upcoming round.

In particular, the following questions will be addressed:

  1. How are postdocs currently supported to be able to contribute to the REF in their institution?
  2. How can support for postdocs be developed?

This workshop is a companion event to another workshop held earlier in September at the Vitae conference, there aimed primarily at researcher developers who support research staff at Universities. Conclusions and issues arising from both workshops will be summarised and reported back to participants and to Vitae after the National Postdoc Meeting.

This workshop is organised in collaboration with the UK Research Staff Association.


Please see Preparation Before Meeting for links to relevant documents for both workshops.


Can't come to the meeting yourself but would still like to contribute to the conclusions from the workshops? Please email to get in touch with the working group!