Celebrating successes - exploring diverse careers in the Postdoc afterlife

Mon 20 Sep 2021 | 11:00 - 12:30 | Online

Postdoc /pəʊs(t)ˈdɒk/ - According to Wikipedia, Postdoc is "a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies. The ultimate goal of a postdoctoral research position is to pursue additional research, training, or teaching in order to have better skills to pursue a career in academia, research, or any other field".

We all know that Postdocs wear many different hats, and possess a wide range of essential and valuable skills; however, for a lot of Postdocs it often feels like academic research is the only way, and that 'success' can only be found within academia.

For this session, we have invited 5 former Postdocs with a wide range of experience to come and tell us their stories, discuss the ups and downs of their careers, and what they see as 'successes'.

Attendees will be able to ask questions, either through pre-submission or live, and find out how each of the panellists got to where they are today, and their advice/tips on what happens in the Postdoc afterlife. The session will be predominantly a moderated Q&A discussion, starting from 11am and finishing no later than 12.30pm.

The panel will include:

  • Dr Alison Garden, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow (Queen's University Belfast)
  • Dr Andy Chapman, Director and Co-Founder (Carbometrics)
  • Dr Christopher Phang, Divisional Manager (Codethink)
  • Dr Kirsty Ross, Outreach Officer (University of Strathclyde)
  • Dr Nik Ogryzko, Talent Programme Manager (UKRI)


Dr Alison Garden

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow (Queen's University Belfast)

Alison Garden is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at Queen's University Belfast, where she is working on a cultural history of 'mixed marriage' in modern Ireland. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 2015, Alison was a Leverhulme Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2015-2016) and an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) at University College Dublin, before coming to Queen's University Belfast as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (2018-2020). Alison is passionate about supporting ECRs and demystifying the postdoc experience, and has a number of resources on her website.  You can follow Alison on Twitter at @NotSecretGarden.

Dr Andy Chapman

Director and Co-Founder (Carbometrics)

After his PhD, Andy moved to the lab next door to work as a postdoc on something totally random he discovered, before moving to ICIQ in Spain to work on translating the concepts of organometallic homogenous catalysis to nanoparticle catalysis with the great Prof Piet van Leeuwen. Andy then transitioned to industry and moved to London, joining Econic Technologies just as it was leaving the academic labs to set up in the Imperial Incubator. As a research scientist, he made the pivotal discovery that secured their funding and move to larger premises. Andy then  went back to academia as a lecturer at Kingston University, where he was promoted to Senior lecturer and got his FHEA. While successfully wining several small grants, he ultimately missed industry so he left after two years and joined Ziylo as CSO. In this role, he moved the company to a new incubator and got it acquired by Novo Nordisk, before spining-out Carbometrics as CEO to commercialise a glucose-sensing technology.

Dr Christopher Phang

Divisional Manager (Codethink)

Christopher worked for several years in cancer research and protein-protein interactions, first completing his PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research in 2012, then progressing to a Marie Curie COFUND fellowship at IRB Barcelona investigating novel therapies for androgen independent prostate cancer. After this, Christopher decided to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a career in software engineering! After retraining in Computer Science, he moved to a software developer position at Codethink in 2016. Since then, Christopher has worked on several projects from developing audio processing algorithms for small embedded devices, to deploying large scale distributed systems for constructing software consisting of tens of millions of lines of code. He now works as a senior software engineer, technical lead and divisional manager.

Dr Kirsty Ross

Outreach Officer (University of Strathclyde)

Kirsty is a full time public engagement professional. Depending on the day of the week, she is Outreach Officer for the EPSRC & MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging (OPTIMA) shared between the Uni of Edinburgh and Uni of Strathclyde. She is also Public Engagement Officer at Uni of St Andrews. Kirsty worked for over 5 years in post doc roles in microbiology, vaccine development & immunology.

Kirsty has been active in supporting others to explore and extend their Public Engagement practice and has developed multiple innovative engagement platforms and training opportunities for researchers. She is the lead on academic research investigating the impact of PER practice on individual researcher's personal and professional development. 

Dr Nik Ogryzko

Talent Programme Manager (UKRI)

Nik worked as a postdoc using genetically engineered fluorescent zebrafish to look at the role of the innate immune system in wound healing at the University of Sheffield, and in cancer inception at the University of Edinburgh. He represented PGRs and Research staff on faculty and university level committees and was fortunate to be selected to help write the new Researcher Development Concordat. As a result, Nik recognised the importance of changing the culture and career progression landscape for career scientists, and has since moved to UKRI to work on UKRI's support for researchers and technicians.

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