National Postdoc Appreciation Week 2023

Patrick Grant

National Postdoc Appreciation Week is an opportunity to underscore how much we, as a University community, value the creativity and contribution of the thousands of postdoctoral fixed-term researchers across the University.

Being a postdoc can be both the best time of a career and its most demanding. It often involves a complex juggling of pursuing research ideas and collaborations, contributing more broadly through informal or formal supervisory roles, undertaking family or caring responsibilities and reserving time to relax and socialise. These activities often take place against a backdrop of high mobility required to pursue more secure funding and career opportunities. 

Consequently, we are expanding work to support career development for early- and mid-career researchers across the University. Examples include better signposting to increased resources, such as the Researcher’s Trailmap; ensuring our governance structures involve researchers and their perspectives in decision-making at all levels; and the roll-out of annual Career Development review conversations, so that postdoctoral researchers have an opportunity to discuss whatever future career directions they choose to pursue. 

This coming academic year we will also see more training opportunities introduced for researchers, academic managers and Principal Investigators. These include leadership development and people management training, resources to better support cutting-edge research practice and guidance on planning professional development time under the national Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers. You can read our Concordat action plan and its first annual report

I very much welcome resources recently awarded by Research England and the Wellcome Trust to help us to strengthen further our researcher environment. Working with the academic divisions we will use these funds to ensure more equitable access to research funding, to develop tools for more inclusive research assessment, to grow our support for non-traditional academic career paths and to secure both institutional-level academic leadership roles (for example, in research practice) and professional support for research culture in each academic division. 

Many of the activities to support postdoctoral researchers are co-ordinated with divisions through the Researcher Hub. Whether you are new to Oxford or have been here for many years, please visit the hub for information on these support and development opportunities, and please use their regular Open Hub sessions to learn more. The hub team are keen to engage with you .