Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
1. What is one-to-one support meeting?
These are informal chats with a member of the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre about whatever issues relating to your life as a postdoc at Imperial you would like to discuss. You may want to use these sessions to discuss your CV, job searching, fellowship applications, lectureship positions, moving out of academia, issues related to working in your lab / team, development opportunities available to you, networking opportunities, or anything else you would like to discuss.
To book an appointment please complete this One-to-One Request Form and email it to PFDC Support Team
2. How much do Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses cost?
All our courses and support are free to postdocs and fellows currently working at Imperial, although if you cancel at short notice your department may be charged (please see ourTerms and Conditions page for further details)
3. What is the cancellation policy for Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses?
Course cancellations should be notified to the PFDC Support Team as soon as possible so that the place can be offered to those on the waiting list.
For most courses, if a cancellation is made less than 5 working days beforehand, charges will apply. For example, cancellations for courses taking place on a Monday should be received no later than the Monday of the previous week in order to avoid a charge. Further information can be found on the Terms and Conditions page under “Cancellations.”
Several courses have additional deadlines and charges. Courses for which a different policy applies will state the fee and minimum number of days required to cancel on the course webpage.
Courses with specific fees include:
- Discovering Your Teamwork Strengths
- Leadership in Research Part I: Managing Your First Research Group
- Leadership in Research Part II: Vision, Strategy and Team Culture
- Making the Most of Your Postdoc
- One-to-One Voice Coaching Sessions
- Planning for Success Beyond Your Postdoc
- Springboard Women’s Development Programme
- Writing Tools for Research Publication Success
4. Can I apply to the PFDC fund for attendance at a scientific conference
No, attendance at scientific conferences related to your research work is not covered by the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre fund.
Some suggested sources of funding for attending conferences:
- The conference organisers may provide travel bursaries
- Your professional body (e.g. British Society of Immunology) may have a travel fellowship scheme that you could apply to
- researchprofessional.com - a comprehensive database of funding opportunities including travel fellowships
For details on what the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre fund will sponsor, see our website
5. How do I arrange for a mock interview?
Please complete this Mock Interview Request Form and send it to the PFDC Support Team and we will arrange with you a suitable time and format for your interview. Please give us as much notice as possible and send the details of the job along with your application documents so that we can tailor the questions we ask.
6. My contract is coming to an end, what should I do?
This is very much dependent on what you would like to do next. If you want to apply for a fellowship or apply via your PI to get further funding to support your research, then you need to allow plenty of time (around 12 - 18 months).
To move to another job, you will need to allow yourself at least 6 months to find and successfully secure another position. To gain advice on your specific situation, you may want to talk to your PI, book a one-to-one meeting with the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre, or book an appointment with the Careers service.
You may also want to contact your local HR representative who will be able to advise you on any issues related to your contract.
7. Is my publication record good enough?
This is a commonly asked question with no easy answer. It very much depends on your discipline, the role you are applying for, and how many years postdoctoral experience you have.
The best people to answer this question are your peers; ask your PI, senior colleagues or collaborators for their opinion.
8. Do I need my PI’s permission to attend Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses?
In your postdoc contract you have a 10 days per year training allowance, so in theory you don’t need your PI’s permission to attend Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses.
HOWEVER, we would strongly advise you to discuss your plans with your PI and to organise your time away from the lab or research group carefully; this will help build a professional relationship between yourself and your PI and is a courteous way to work.
9. My contract is coming to an end, will I get a redundancy payment?
If you have worked for Imperial continuously for 4 or more years and have been moved onto an “open-ended” contract it is likely that you will be entitled to some redundancy pay. To find out you must contact your local HR representative. Full details of the redundancy policy is available at here.
To find who your local HR representative is Contact HR
10. Can I attend Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses once my contract has ended?
Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre courses are only available to you free of charge while you are employed as a postdoc or fellow at the College. A few courses are available to external participants but a charge is made.
One-to-one meetings and many of our other development opportunities are only available to you whilst you are an employee, so make use of them while you are here!
11. Does the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre only help people who want to stay in academia?
No. The reality is that not all postdocs will stay in academia. Indeed, less than 20% will become permanent academic members of staff in the UK. The other 80% are highly skilled scientists who can move onto successful careers in other industries.
12. I have been offered a great job but still have 9 months of my postdoc contract left and have lots of stuff left to finish on my current project
Sometimes you have to put yourself first and do what is best for you. That brilliant job probably won’t be available in 9 months when you want it ...and do you want to risk not having a job?
Postdocs tend to be highly dedicated, conscientious individuals (which makes for a great researcher) but also can lead to you not seeing the bigger, long-term picture.
The PFDC can offer individual support or advice through a one-to-one meeting.