What is a postdoc? scientist in lab

At Imperial we highly value our postdocs and after a wide consultation across many departments the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre has compiled a definition of how Imperial views its postdoctoral community.  It covers what a postdoc is, what they can be expected to do and what they are not.  Although the definition covers many of the key areas it is not exhaustive and therefore its aim is to act as a guide within the College.

A postdoc is:

  • a member of staff who will, normally, have a PhD, and be employed to undertake research
  • commonly on an externally funded contract 
  • responsible for their own career development but is entitled to the support of their Principle Investigator (PI) and the Postdoc Development Centre
  • entitled to 10 days development training per year
  • entitled to 25 days leave plus bank holidays and college closure (if full time, pro-rata for part time)
  • entitled to a Personal Review and Development Plan (PRDP) meeting once per year

A postdoc can be expected to:

  • be asked to undertake a reasonable amount of teaching as part of their contract
  • act as co-supervisor to Master and PhD students
  • disseminate research findings
  • assist in writing grants/funding applications
  • act as a research co-investigator
  • do a reasonable amount of group or departmental administration
  • be managed in line with ‘Imperial Expectations’ along with all College staff.

A postdoc is not:

  • a student
  • a PA or administrator
  • a permanent member of academic staff
  • automatically entitled to academic career progression
  • a full time supervisor or teacher*
  • a full time lab or project manager*

*Although a reasonable amount of supervision, teaching, lab and project management can be beneficial to postdoc’s career progression.