Postdoctoral Life at the Kennedy
Postdoctoral scientists at the Kennedy benefit from research opportunities, career development, state-of-the-art technologies with many incorporated within core facilities, and supportive social communities. The Kennedy is actively developing structures to enable postdocs to continually grow – within and far beyond their day-to-day research.
Research at the Kennedy is underpinned by five scientific platforms which actively encourage collaboration outside of research groups. Platforms support state-of-the-art technologies, including advanced microscopy through the recently-opened Zeiss Centre of Excellence. Our postdoctoral scientists benefit from access to our diverse technologies throughout their research.
Kennedy Postdoc Committee
The Kennedy Postdoc Committee elevates the needs of postdoctoral researchers to ensure that their views are heard in the wider institute and can influence policy and culture. In addition, the committee organises social events to encourage a vibrant community among postdoctoral researchers. Recently, the committee achieved official recognition for Kennedy postdoctoral scientists supervising PhD students.
Culture and inclusion
The Kennedy has a vibrant culture of social activities (such as our annual Summer picnic and Christmas lunch), celebrates international science days (like our ‘microbiome themed baking competition’ for World Microbiome Day 2023), hosts a monthly NDORMS social with drinks and snacks, and benefits from departmental clubs and societies like the NDORMS Board and Card Games Club.
The Kennedy is invested in fair treatment and opportunity and in creating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research environment where everyone can feel valued. NDORMS renewed its Athena Swan Silver Award in 2018, recognising the department’s commitment to and progress towards gender equality.
“The Kennedy has a vibrant and supportive research culture, enabling both basic and translational science in a highly interdisciplinary environment. Working closely with Biochemistry has allowed me to push the boundaries of innovation and make remarkable discoveries on how immune receptors signal.” – Dr Alex Mörch
In 2022, NDORMS trained nine bullying and harassment advisors to provide confidential support to staff and students. Two advisors also sit on the Kennedy Postdoc Committee. Also in 2022, NDORMS created the first University Mediation Service to offer a space where conflict resolution can be approached productively and professionally.
Hybrid working is valued at the Kennedy and postdoctoral researchers benefit from at least 20% protected work-from-home time.
Career and personal development
We recently integrated broader career discussions into “personal and career development reviews” (PCDRs). These newly-created PCDRs acknowledge that most people, including postdocs, value the space to discuss long-term career aspirations and how to get to where they want to be. We also created a clearly-defined policy for early career researchers to apply for junior fellowships and grants under sponsorship by a Kennedy Principal Investigator.
2023 saw the first NDORMS Careers Day, in which postdocs and students are invited to network and learn about the diverse opportunities open to them, not just within but outside academia.
- Kennedy postdocs can book informal confidential career development sessions at any time with our Postdoc Advisors.
- We support a mentoring scheme for those with a desire for further development.
- We encourage postdocs to gain teaching experience and offer relevant training courses in addition to practical opportunities.
The Kennedy recognises that our scientists have ideas and aspirations beyond the reach of their scientific research. We aim to empower their projects and allow them room to grow outside of the lab.
“During my time at the KIR I was able to set up DANinUK ltd for Dutch nationals and its success has lead us to acquire €600K in support from the ERC to now establish CONNECTS-UK that will represent all EU nationals working in UK HE and research institutions” – Dr. Ewoud Compeer