Where to live?
Not sure where you might want to live in London? Click here to find out where PhD students, Post-doctoral research staff and Staff live in and around London.
ESE is a friendly and successful department which welcomes people from all parts of the world with diverse backgrounds and expertise related to earth science and engineering. We are based on Imperial College's South Kensington campus in the centre of London, one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Within a short walk there can be found green spaces (Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens), world class museums and concert venues.
We are based in the only building left over from the original Imperial College still used for teaching and research. All our offices, teaching rooms and lecture theatres have been completely refurbished in the last five years providing us with a modern, light and functional working environment. We have a range of state-of-the-art laboratories and access to the some of the world's fastest computers whilst being housed in some of the most modern office space at Imperial College.
All staff (academic, postdocs., admin. and support staff) are encouraged to play a full part in the life of the department through teaching, research, attending a range of seminars and regular staff meetings not to mention morning coffee and other social gatherings.
ESE aims to make its working practices as family friendly as possible. Flexible working is widely practiced. In addition a number of staff have worked or are currently working part-time whilst coping with the demands of a young family. Teaching load is managed to take part-time working into account.
We plan to hold the majority of meetings and seminars in the middle of the day in order to allow those with evening family commitments to better manage their work and family committments.
In addition College makes generous provision for family leave (including maternity and paternity leave).
Female staff returning to work after maternity leave may apply for an Elsie Widdowson Fellowship to allow female academics to concentrate fully on their research work upon returning from maternity / adoption leave. Lidia Lonergan was awarded one of these fellowships on her return from maternity leave and would be pleased to discuss her experiences (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
For those with childcare responsibilities there is a subsidised College Day nursery for staff and students.
ESE welcomes staff and students from all over the world with a diverse range of beliefs and cultures. We believe this diverse cultural background complements the diverse technical background and expertise of our staff. Racist, sexist or any other discriminatory behaviour is not tolerated.
We have a number of staff and students who are registered as disabled and all play a full part in the life of the department.
For Muslim staff and students we have a prayer room. In addition we aim, wherever possible to schedule meetings and seminars outside of Friday prayers.
We continue to work hard to support and recognise our academic women both in the department through our family friendly working practices (see above) and throughout Imperial through the Women's Academic network.
Imperial College was one of the first Higher Education Institutions to sign up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme, designed to promote understanding and good practice around issues of sexual orientation in the workplace.
Post-doctoral Research Staff
Postdocs are valued members of the departmental staff. There is an annual meeting for all the post doctoral staff to discuss issues opportunities and issues around their working practices. In addition there are two departmental postdoc representatives elected by the postdocs who represent their interests at departmental and College meetings. There is an internal departmental postdoc web page providing links to job opportunities and training courses as well as hints and tips for writing papers and research proposals as well as other useful information. We also have a postdoctoral staff mentor to provide advice and support in the unusual event that there is a breakdown in a post-docs working relationship with their supervisor.
Imperial College makes specific provision for postdoc training and development.
Below are examples of three women who have combined family responsibilities with academic careers in ESE. Their e-mails are given underneath the description of their experiences - they would be delighted to talk to you further if you have any questions.
Dr Adriana Paluszny Rodriquez
Dr. Adriana Paluszny, is a post-doctoral research associate at the Centre for Advanced Mineral Recovery where she works on the development of new methods to model fracture and fragmentation in rock masses. Dr. Paluszny earned a Cum Laude degree in Computer Science at the Universidad Simon Bolivar, Venezuela, and worked for two years at MCE-Anlagenbau, Austria.
In 2005, she received a Janet Watson Scholarship to pursue a PhD in computational geomechanics at Imperial College. She currently teaches undergraduate academic tutorials, co-supervises PhD and MSc students, and manages a small team of computational fracture mechanics researchers.
In 2010 she had a child, and after six months of maternity leave, she returned to Imperial as a full-time research associate. She uses Imperial College childcare facilities five days a week and commutes from east-London on a daily basis.
"The key to success is focus and organization", she says. "At home I have state-of-the-art computing equipment, a fully supportive partner, and high-speed internet connection; these allow me to seamlessly continue with research even if not physically present at the college". When not at Imperial, she communicates with her students electronically, allowing her to adapt to the dynamic working hours of the research team.
"The department has been very supportive in providing me with the tools I need to advance in my career", she says. Superb childcare and flexible working hours are key to making possible early-research life for a working mother.
Dr Lidia Lonergan
Dr Lidia Lonergan is a Reader in geotectonics and joined Imperial in 1995 on a Royal Society Research Fellowship. Together with her research, she teaches an MSc module, undergraduate tutorials and a field trip whilst supervising PhD students, and running the Department's 3D seismic laboratory.
In 2004 she had a child and after three months maternity leave, returned to work three days a week. She also took up an Elsie Widdowson Fellowship which paid for cover for her teaching and administrative duties for 1 year (the Fellowship provides funding for these duties to enable academic women returning from maternity leave to re-establish their research programme). In 2006-8, she took a paid sabbatical with BP, still working part-time.
"I've had very positive experiences of the department accommodating my childcare needs," she says. "The process is straightforward: I raised the subject with my line manager and then with the HoD. The Elsie Widdowson Fellowship was very useful in helping me re-establish my research after maternity leave. I pick the days I work so there's added flexibility, but of course it works both ways: I teach a 10 day field trip and I don't stop in the middle of that. I simply adjust my hours around it. "
Professor Ann Muggeridge
Prof. Muggeridge was appointed to a Chair in Petroleum Engineering in ESE (sponsored by Total). She joined Imperial as a Governor's Lecturer in 1995, after working at BP and then with an oil service company.
Ann was pregnant with her first child when she first applied to the Department and has benefitted from a supportive attitude towards childcare from the outset. In July 1998 she took 6 months maternity leave for her second child and has since worked part time, the equivalent of 3 days a week spread over 5 days.
This arrangement itself was subject to flexibility, with Ann making up hours during school term so she could work fewer hours during school holidays. Now working full time, the department is happy for her to work at home when circumstances allow.
"The department has always been supportive,' she says. ‘I was allocated 3/5ths of teaching and PhD supervision when working part time. Moreover the majority of meetings and seminars are held in the middle of day to make the school run possible. My promotions to Senior Lecturer and then Reader happened when I was working part time. Within two years of becoming a Reader I was promoted to Professor so I can say with some confidence that these arrangements haven't affected my career."