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Welcome to the PFDC newsletter

November 2019

Welcome to November’s newsletter! Whilst you’re waiting for the bonfires to be lit and for the firework displays to start, why not check out what we have on offer to keep you entertained. 

For more information about the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre (PFDC) please:

Contact us with any queries:

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Note that information about grants and fellowships are posted on our Twitter feed.

If you have any information, events or surveys that you would like to advertise which are relevant to postdocs, fellows and clinicians at Imperial College London, please email the PFDC team. We would like to hear from you!

In this issue:

  1. An Invitation… The PFDC Christmas Ceilidh
  2. Reps Events
  3. Blog of the Month
  4. PFDC 10 Development Days Survey
  5. Fellows and Clinicians Seed Fund
  6. Fellows and Clinicians Bespoke Programme of Support
  7. Pop-ups
  8. Upcoming Courses
  9. National Stress Awareness Day - Wellbeing resources at Imperial
  10. Imperial’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Seed Fund
  11. Techcelerate
  12. Early Career Researcher Network
  13. EIT health funding programmes briefing sessions
  14. INVaR ECR Workshop
  15. EPSRC Focus Group
  16. WE Innovate
  17. Societal engagement
  18. Medical Research Council annual visit to Imperial

1. An Invitation… The PFDC Christmas Ceilidh

Christmas Ceilidh poster

Christmas decorationPFDC Christmas CeilidhChristmas decoration

Tuesday 3 December 2019, 17.00 – 21.00, Queen's Tower Rooms

The PFDC are delighted to invite you and your guests (these can be anyone, from your partners to office colleagues) to attend the annual *FREE* PFDC Christmas Ceilidh. This is taking place on Tuesday 3 December from 17.00 in the Queen's Tower Rooms, South Kensington Campus. The Ceilidh will be a great opportunity to meet colleagues from across the College.

Mulled wine and mince pies will be available on arrival and festive treats will be provided during a break in the dancing. No experience of a Ceilidh is required. There will be someone there to call out instructions, but if you would like to see what one looks like, please go to this YouTube link.

If you would like to attend please fill out this Qualtrics form.
Christmas jumpers/accessories are encouraged!
Christmas decoration

2. Reps Events

Have you met your departmental postdoc reps?
Do you know what events are being organised by the reps for your department or campus?

If not, get involved and take a look at some of the upcoming events taking place across the College!

Chemistry Pizza & Drinks Event
Wednesday 13 November, 17.00, MSRH Common Room

Chemistry Pizza & Drinks event sponsored by the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (IMSE). The event will take place in the common room of the MSRH and will start at 17.00 on Wednesday 13 November. This event will offer the chance to  discuss opportunities for the postdocs and fellows in the department in a relaxed setting, while enjoying some pizza and drinks.


Bioengineering Postdocs and Fellows Symposium
Wednesday 27 November, 13.30 - 19.00, G05 RSM

This is the best opportunity of the year for postdocs and fellows to hear about research projects in the Bioengineering Deparment, establish internal collaborations and spend a great evening of science and networking! There will be a talk and panel discussion on ‘negotiations’, including negotiating salary.

Coffee, cookies and refreshments will be provided.

At the end of the event, a prize will be awarded for the best postdoc talk and there will be drinks and snacks for an informal discussion and networking.

For more information, please contact Joaquin Caro Astorga on

3. Blog of the Month

The Surprising Benefits of Creating a ‘Failure Resume’

Whether it is a paper, a fellowship application or an interview, rejection is never easy. If accompanied by feedback, you might choose to reflect and act on it – however you take it, it is important to acknowledge rejection. Many academics (and non-academics) talk about the benefits of creating a failure resume – a place where you add your rejections and reflect on them without dwelling on them for long periods. In this post you can find what these look like for different people.

There are many ways you can reflect on these rejections and bounce back, with one of them being building resilience. Melanie Stefan from Edinburgh has some top tips, including talking to others to put things in perspective, taking care of yourself and reflecting to learn from your experience.

Stamp, Approve, Rubber, Pass, Reject, Box, PendingImperial has a dedicated webpage for resilience and stress awareness and you can find more information about developing resilience here. The PFDC and the Learning and Development Centre also have dedicated courses on Research resilience and Personal Resilience.

4. PFDC 10 Development Days Survey

Idea process graph

To support you as a postdoc or fellow at Imperial, you have ten development days written into your contract. Please see the PFDC Plan to succeed – 10 Development Days tip sheet and webpage for further details.

The PFDC are conducting a survey with two purposes:
1. To inform/remind postdocs and fellows of your ten development days
2. To collect information from postdocs and fellows across the College on your knowledge/uptake of the ten days.

The survey will take less than five minutes. The PFDC aims to always consult and work with postdocs and fellows at the College to ensure that the support you require is reflected in the PFDC resources and services. We would appreciate your input in this survey.

A summary of the results will be shared. Please note that the data will be aggregated and anonymised; therefore, individual comments will not be shared.

Please follow this Qualtrics link to take the survey.

5. Fellows and Clinicians Seed Fund

Fellows and Clinicians Seed Fund
Networking Event: 09.30 – 10.30, Wednesday 6 November 2019, SALC 2

Based on the success of the 2018-2019 Fellows and Clinicians Seed Fund, we are delighted to announce that Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) has awarded £15,000 for a second round. 

The fund will offer seed funding to enable newly independent researchers to establish cross-College collaborations and investigate early stage research ideas that might not otherwise be funded.  The intention would be that the research findings will be used to apply for larger external grants, helping to raise the profiles of the fellows/clinicians involved. 

All proposed projects would need to align with one of the College’s four global challenge themes which are: Discovery and the natural world; Engineering novel solutions; Health and wellbeing; Leading the data revolution. Funding will only be available to those researchers that are exploring new collaborative research; existing collaborations will not be considered. It is anticipated that 3-4 applications will be funded until July 2020, with no application exceeding £10,000.

How to Participate
To submit an application to the fund, there must be at least two independently funded fellows or clinicians from different faculties and ideally at least one of you must have attended the networking event.  The facilitated networking event will take place between 09.30 – 10.30 on Wednesday 6 November 2019 in SALC 2; refreshments will be provided. There will be lots of opportunities to meet peers, discuss research ideas and potential overlap, in the view to developing a new collaborative project. 

Please follow the links to the guidance notes and the application form (College sign-in required). 

Application and Prerequisites
To attend the networking event you are required to fill out a short Qualtrics form where you will provide a short (1,000 characters) summary of your research, as well as a list of five keywords which can include your key skillsets/knowledge. 

These will be circulated in addition to the application form template and guidance notes to all participants before the event.

Application timeline

  • Networking event – Wednesday 6 November 2019
  • Application submission deadline - 09.00 Wednesday 20 November 2019
  • Assessment Panel – 5 December 2019
  • Successful applicants will be notified on 9 December 2019.
Any questions, please contact Karen Hinxman

6. Fellows and Clinicians Bespoke Programme of Support

PFDC Writing Retreat
Thursday 16 to 17 January 2020
(2 consecutive days, non-residential)

Are you currently working on or planning to work on a piece of writing such as a fellowship application (including intermediate/advanced fellowships), or a paper and need dedicated time and space to focus on just that? If so, make sure you apply for our upcoming PFDC Writing retreat! Download the application form from here: PFDC Writing retreat and return it to us at

Feedback from previous participants:

  • “I was able to fully commit to my writing without distractions.”
  • “The retreat gave me the possibility to close the door to my day to day activities and concentrate in a quiet and isolated environment”
  • “The one to one meeting has been particularly useful. I gained very good advice about the fellowship I am planning to apply for. I feel more confident and trust more in my ideas.”
  • “It is really rare to have the opportunity to receive support like this for an activity as important as writing”
  • “During these two days the idea for the fellowship became clearer and I feel more confident about it.”

Fellows and Clinicians Forum

The purpose of the forum is to provide our fellows and clinicians with a regular platform to interact, share expertise and build cross-discipline contacts across the College to enhance their careers.

Upcoming forums:

  • 17 March 2020 (15.00 - 17.00), South Kensington Campus
  • 1 July 2020 (15.00 - 18.00), White City Campus

“Really enjoyed the afternoon and I am very grateful for the time of the speakers. I especially benefitted from the discussion around protecting one’s own interest in research collaboration and how to play the game to maximise the chances of success. All very useful to hear from people who have been successful.”

“In conversation with Academic Women”
Women Only

This event forms part of the programme of support for Imperial fellows and clinicians and is aimed at women only in response to the feedback from the fellows and clinicians community across all faculties. In particular, this event will provide opportunities to:

  • Interact in an informal, confidential and supportive setting
  • Listen to the advice from academic women at Imperial College – clinical and non-clinical
  • Learn from the experiences of academic women at different career stages/paths

Upcoming forums:

  • 26 November 2019 (15.00 - 17.00), South Kensington campus. Register via Qualtrics
  • 25 March 2020 (15.00 - 17.00), White City Campus

“I really enjoyed this safe space to discuss common issues faced by women, solutions, as well as to hear about how people have gotten to their position today. It felt truly empowering to be surrounded by so much strength.”

Fellows and Clinicians Wellbeing Lunch

Informal and safe space to enjoy lunch, chat about wellbeing and support each other. Aims to help you to look after your own health and wellbeing and learn to “spot the signs” to better support your colleagues and, most importantly, your teams in looking after their health and wellbeing.

Upcoming lunches:

  • 11 December 2019 (12.30 - 14.00), South Kensington Campus. Sign up on Qualtrics: Fellows and Clinicians Wellbeing Lunch.
  • 12 May 2020 (12.30 - 14.00), South Kensington Campus
  • 13 May 2020 (12.30 - 14.00), White City/Hammersmith Campus

More information and upcoming events and feedback on previous events can be found on the PFDC fellows and clinicians webpages

“The best thing about this lunch was meeting other colleagues and talking about important health issues. A nice change of topic than the usual work-related topics”

7. Pop-ups

Pop-up: What’s your Research Vision?
Friday 8 November 2019, 9.30 - 12.00, SALC 7

A clear idea of your research vision is essential as you progress on the academic career path.

  • Do you have a defined research vision?
  • How well can you articulate why your research is important?
  • Can you explain how your research fits in to the bigger picture?
  • What will change in the field because of your research?

An explanation or discussion of your research vision is often required in both fellowship and lectureship applications and in interviews.

This pop-up will provide the opportunity for you to explore key questions to help you develop and map out your research vision and provide you with time to get feedback on your answers and to give feedback to peers.

Please sign up for the event via this Qualtrics link.

Pop-up: Networking for Success
Monday 11 November 2019, 13.30 - 15.30, SALC 1

What is networking? Why is it important in your career? How can you network effectively?

The aim of this pop up workshop is to help you understand how to network effectively and make you confident and happy about going out and networking to advance your career!

Please sign up for the event via this Qualtrics link.

Funder Showcase: Royal Commission of 1851
Thursday 21 November 2019, 15.00 – 16.00, SALC 1

Did you know that the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 have a series of fellowships?

To highlight this great opportunity to receive fellowship funding, we will be joined by Nigel Williams from 1851 who will tell you about the fellowships that are on offer. 

Please sign up via this Qualtrics link.

Pop-up: Scientific illustrations
Friday 29 November 2019, 10.00 - 12.00, SALC 7

Scientific illustrations: a crash-course - simple steps to improve the way we communicate our science.

Visualization is our singular most important tool for communicating science. We use it in papers, posters, presentations, grant applications, public outreach, group meetings or even in-office discussions.

The aim of this pop-up is to help you towards better scientific illustrations (mainly for papers, posters and presentations), covering some basic design concepts, colours, layouts, fonts and all-too-common sins (aka dos and don’ts). Get from A to B!

You don’t need to be an artist to make great illustrations.

The pop-up is based on a (highly-recommended) course “Visualize Your Science”, available online (

Please sign up for the event via this Qualtrics link.

Directions to the meeting rooms on level 5 Sherfield Building: SALC meeting rooms: Exit the lift on the 5th floor. Take the door in front of you to your left, and continue through the gallery. Turn left through the door at the far end of the gallery to reach SALC 1-10.

8. Upcoming Courses

PFDC circlesThe PFDC courses for the 2019-20 academic year are filling up fast! Below are a list of courses taking place before the Christmas break which still have several places available:

Managing Your First Research Group
Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 November 2019 **Residential**

Science Communication: Reaching a Wider Audience
Friday 10 January 2020

Planning for Success Beyond Your Postdoc
Thursday 13 to Friday 14 January 2020

Great Presentations for Great Results
Thursday 21 January 2020

Interviewing for an Academic Position
Wednesday 22 January 2020

Interviewing for a Position outside Academia
Monday 27 January 2020

For a full list of courses available throughout the year please visit our website.

Please book onto training with ICIS: Sign in and click ‘My Training’ – Search for the course – Click: Enrol.

9. National Stress Awareness Day – Wellbeing Resources at Imperial

National Stress Awareness DayThe first Wednesday in November each year is National Stress Awareness Day. We all know what it’s like to feel stressed - being under pressure is a normal part of life. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

National Stress Awareness Day is a great opportunity to take a moment to think about our wellbeing and find advice or support on managing stress. 

The theme for National Stress Awareness this year is Resilience - the power to succeed! In response to this, the Learning and Development Centre we will be offering two ‘Stress Less’ workshops, the details can be found below: 

  • Wednesday 6 November, 10.00-12.30, South Kensington
  • Wednesday 6 November, 14.00-16.30, White City

Please visit the course webpage to find out more information and to book your place!

Additionally, Imperial has a wealth of health and wellbeing resources that all College staff members can access. Take a moment to read through the ‘building resilience and managing stress’ section of the website to find resources beneficial to you.

10.  Imperial’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Seed Fund

Bulbs, Ideas, Lighting, Objects, Banner, BoardImperial’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Seed Fund aims to encourage and support the College community in generating ideas, activities and initiatives that will contribute to the aims and objectives of Imperial’s EDI strategy. The Seed Fund aims to enhance the College’s action by recognising people whose ideas will help in unanticipated ways to build a fully inclusive institutional culture.

The closing date for applications is Friday 22 November 2019.

For EDI Seed Fund guidance and application form please click here.

11. Techcelerate

A programme for Imperial postdocs who want to fast-track their business ideas

Techcelerate is an accelerator programme which aims to give postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to take their research out of the lab and focus on skills development, market validation and customer discovery (i.e. see if research output could become a business and give them training to help).

The next Techcelerate cohort begins in January 2020 with applications open until 8 November 2019.

Apply for Techcelerate now.

12. Early Career Researcher Network

postdo in labThe Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (IMSE) has recently launched an Early Career Researcher Network to support cross-disciplinary interactions for postdocs and PhD students across College.

The network is an opportunity for PhD students and postdocs to meet researchers from other departments and faculties, find out what IMSE does, and how we can help you and your career. We are currently planning the events programme for 2019-20… suggestions of what IMSE could do for you are very welcome!

You can sign up for the mailing list very easily.

Look out for us at a departmental event near you soon…

13. EIT Health Funding programmes briefing sessions

EIT Health Presentation
Wednesday 13 November, 12.30-13.30, 58 Princes Gate, South Kensington

EIT Health logoEIT Health’s annual Call for Proposals has been published early in October. This briefing session will provide on overview of the recently launched funding programmes, eligibility criteria and application process. The deadline for expressions of interest is Wednesday 11 December 2019.

Please register for the event via this Eventbrite link.

14. INVar ECR Workshop

Data Management for ECRs by Dr Benjamin Pierce from Imperial College London
Wednesday 13 November, 16.00-18.00
G47A Flowers building, South Kensington Campus

The INVaR ECR Committee would like to invite you to join them for the next exciting event in their workshop series.

Benjamin Pierce is the Operations Manager for the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub, which is committed towards researching innovative and more cost-effective vaccines for populations in developing countries. He has experience in the areas of chemistry, polymer chemistry, biomaterials, regenerative medicine and vaccines research. He will talk about effective data management covering a range of topics including organising data, sharing and backing up files and writing lab books. After the workshop there will be a networking reception with light refreshments.

Register on Eventbrite.  

INVaR ECR Committee: Nitya Krishnan; Rachel Barton; Alex Spice
Twitter: @Imperial_INVaR
ECR mailing list:

15. EPSRC Focus Group

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council logo

For the attention of women scientists, engineers and mathematicians
(female PhDs, postdocs and fellows)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) would like to invite women scientists, engineers and mathematicians to take part in one of two focus groups at Imperial. The intractive focus groups will be part of a research project funded by the EPSRC under its ‘Inclusion Matter’ programme.

The overall aim of this project is to achieve a step change in institutional capabilities to increase the participation of women scientists, engineers and mathematicians in university spinout companies.

They are interested to hear your thoughts on your current research work and career trajectory as well as understanding your awareness of the enterprising possibilities available to you at your institution. The session will adopt the format of an interactive workshop where you can learn and reflect about the process of spinning out your research.

Session 1 - 13.00-14.30 – Room SALC 1 - Sign up via this Qualtrics Link
Session 2 - 15.00-16.30 – Room SALC 8 - Sign up via this Qualtrics Link

Please note the sessions are the same, just being held twice.

You will be asked to sign a consent form and with your expressed permission the focus-group will be audio-recorded and analysed by researchers from the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University. If you wish to withdraw from the study you are free to do so at any time and do not need to give any reasons for doing so.

16. WE Innovate

Future Forecast
Wednesday 6 November 2019, 18.00-20.30, Great Hall, South Kensington

Highlighting tech trends and celebrating women-led startups, this event kicks off with leading tech journalist Gemma Milne sharing tech trends to watch. Following this, you’ll hear two business pitches and interviews with women from Imperial leading innovative tech startups. The event ends with a networking drinks reception.

Sign up for the event via Eventbrite here.

How to Talk to Humans
Thursday 7 November 2019, 13.00-14.00, City and Guilds LT300, South Kensington

Imperial Enterprise Lab's How To Talks series are a great entry point if you want to learn and build your knowledge of the skills you need to be entrepreneurial. They're an excellent starting point for newbies to the world of startups.

This talk will feature Hannah Pitt, lead researcher at the Royal Bank of Scotland and a human-centred design enthusiast. She will discuss strategies on how to reach out to potential customers when exploring a new business idea.

Sign up for the event via Eventbrite here.

17. Societal engagement

Engagement Academy, Seed Funding, Festival and more!

Great Exhibition Road Festival
The Great Exhibition Road Festival will return next year on 4-5 July 2020. We’re inviting staff and students to share ideas and proposals for how you would like to be involved – see here for more details. Deadline for proposals is 26 November. We’re holding two proposals clinics in early November and a matchmaking event to spark collaboration with Festival partners soon – more details through the above link.

Imperial Lates
Our 2019-20 Lates series has begun, and the next event ‘Infectious’ will be held on 12 November. Have a look at upcoming Lates, and get in touch if you would like to be involved, have ideas or suggestions, or would like to volunteer at Lates or other engagement events.

Other opportunities
We are starting the next round of LOL-Labs 2019 this Autumn. Take part in comedy training, collaborate with White City residents, and try out stand-up as a way of sharing the great things you work on at Imperial. Sign up here before 6 November.

Engagement training
The Engagement Academy will be returning for the third year – involving seven days of public engagement workshops, discussions and skills development sessions from January to June 2020. See more details about the programme and hear from previous participants. Any member of staff can sign up to be part of the Engagement Academy before 15 November.

Our shorter Engagement Masterclasses are back! We run six different two-hour sessions on various aspects of public engagement – see more details and sign up for one of our Spring sessions here.

Seed funding
Applications are open for our annual Societal Engagement Seed Fund. Apply for up to £2000 to get your engagement ideas off the ground – more details on our website and applications close 22 November.

We’re running an advice clinic for those who would like to discuss their ideas and the Seed Fund scheme in more detail. Come along on from 12.30 – 14.00 on Wednesday 6 November – sign up here.

18. Medical Research Council annual visit to Imperial

MRC annual visit
Friday 8 November 2019
Lecture Theatre 1, Wolfson Conference Centre, Hammersmith Campus

The Medical Research Council Chief of Strategy, Declan Mulkeen, will address Imperial College staff regarding MRC strategy and opportunities. This will include a presentation and a short Q&A session. Researchers at every stage of their career are welcome as well as staff across the whole College.

This is a great opportunity to hear directly from MRC about their strategy, plans and future funding opportunities.

Register for this event via Eventbrite here.

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