paw logoPostdoc Appreciation Week (PAW) was started in the US in 2009 to recognise the significant contributions that postdocs make to research and discovery.  This annual event took place between 21 – 25 September 2020, at Universities in the UK and US.

In recognition of the 2400 postdocs and fellows who make Imperial a leading research and educational institution; the PFDC was delighted to organise and host virtual panel discussions, workshops and a series of fun activities to mark PAW at Imperial. These activities ran alongside other national events. Our wide range of activities acknowledges and celebrate the hard work that postdocs and fellows dedicate to research, teaching, mentoring, outreach and more! For more information follow us on Twitter @ImperialPFDC.

Postdoc Appreciation Week at Imperial focussed on four themes:

  1. Transition to Independence and Leadership.
  2. Postdoc Life in a Pandemic.
  3. Networks: How to Build, Maintain and Make the Most of your Network.
  4. Myth busters: Transitioning out of Academia.

PAW Events at Imperial

IMSE hosted session with Professor George Malliaras - Academic Careers in Focus

IMSE hosted session with Professor George Malliaras - Academic Careers in Focus

Tuesday 22 September - 13:00 – 14:00 - Zoom

The Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (IMSE) at Imperial will host an informal discussion and Q&A with Professor George Malliaras, the Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University Cambridge. The Malliaras group is interested in using bioelectronics and organic electronics to create novel implantable devices that interface with the brain. 

Prof. Malliaras is a co-author of 300+ publications in peer-reviewed journals that have received over 30,000 citations. Professor Malliaras will talk about his career trajectory, network and interests while sharing insight about career opportunities within academia for postdocs, fellows and early career researchers.

Transition to Independence and Leadership

Transition to Independence and Leadership

Wednesday 23 September - 11:30 – 13:00 – Zoom

The PFDC is thrilled to host a virtual panel discussion, followed by Q&A, with four Panellists who have successfully made the transition to independence at Imperial. They include current FLF/ EPSRC/MRC Fellows as well as a newly appointed Lecturer. Our Panellists are keen to share their strategies for success; how they overcame failure; advice they would give to their past self (pre-independence); and how they secured support from their department/mentor/sponsor.

The panel discussion will last for 40 minutes, with 20 minutes for Q&A.

Postdoc Life in a Pandemic

Postdoc Life in a Pandemic

Thursday, 24 September - 11:30 – 13:00 - Zoom

The PFDC is excited to host a virtual panel discussion followed by Q&A, with four Panellists, who are members of the PFDC Parents Network or have travelled extensively for their research. They will share unexpected, interesting and inspiring outcomes from their time in lockdown; tips on how they are adjusting to their research, teaching and supervision responsibilities during these uncertain times as well as advice on how to increase productivity when working from home. In addition, we will explore ideas on how to level the playing field for all postdocs - especially postdocs with caring responsibilities.

The panel discussion will last for 40 minutes, with 20 minutes for Q & A.

Networks: How to Build, Maintain and Make the most of your Network

Networks: How to Build, Maintain and Make the most of your Network

Friday 25 September - 09:30-12:00 - Zoom

Your network is your most important asset, but how do you maintain it during this current climate?

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

The PFDC is delighted to deliver a virtual workshop on networks – with top tips on how to expand your reach during a global pandemic; raise your profile; how to network effectively and capitalise on existing networks and reach new/potential collaborators.

PAW 2020 summary

During Postdoc Appreciation Week (PAW) 21-25 Sept. 2020, University Leaders and Executives across the UK and USA acknowledged and celebrated, Postdocs and Fellows for their contributions to research, discovery, education, and the many key aspects of life/work at Universities.

Events and activities

At Imperial, we started the week with an appreciation video from Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost of Research and Enterprise and Dr Liz Elvidge, Head of Postdoc and Fellows Development who expressed their thanks to Postdocs, Reps and PFDC Champions.
PFDC Champions also shared their top 3 pieces of advice on how to excel as a leader in Academia, which we shared in the form of an infographic in our daily PAW newsletter and on Twitter with links to articles/resources.

Events delegates

We engaged with approximately 400 Postdocs at college-wide events and virtual HoD Coffee and Cake events. Alongside national PAW events, the PFDC organised two panel discussions and one workshop e.g. on how to make the transition to research independence and leadership; network for success and how to thrive as a postdoc during a pandemic.


The feedback we have received from delegates (178) at our 4 events has been very positive and encouraging. For example, 94% of the feedback we received (35) rated PAW events as excellent or very good.

HoD virtual ‘coffee and cake’

In 11 departments, Postdoc Reps and Champions organised virtual ‘Coffee and Cake’ sessions with HoDs, who shared updates for this next academic year, answered questions about wellbeing/covid-19 and thanked postdocs for their invaluable contribution while celebrating their many successes.

To build on the momentum and success of PAW, we will set up a PAW committee to continue collaboration with NPAW and organising events for PAW at Imperial.