MRC LMS celebrates postdoctoral researchers

 21 September 2018   Institute News

The LMS is a vibrant research environment with around 50 postdocs, approximately two thirds of whom are international. Our postdocs are at the forefront of the cutting-edge research happening within our 36 research groups. For postdoc appreciation week we spoke to our postdoc committee and postdoc champion, Group Head Helena Cocheme.  In this article we find out more about postdoc activities and support for postdocs at the Institute.

Postdoc committee

The postdoc committee supports the professional and personal growth of postdocs. They do this through organising events, activities and networking opportunities and representing the voice of postdocs at internal and external meetings such as Athena SWAN working groups. The committee organise events such as monthly Institute happy hours, coffee’s with seminar speakers and host a seminar speaker every term. They also organise joint events with Imperial postdoc committees such as the recent Hammersmith Careers Fair.

The postdoc committee are currently working on the Institute’s annual postdoc retreat which takes place on Wednesday 24 October at Regents University. This year the retreat includes talks from LMS facilities and postdocs, career development talks and a lay abstract writing competition. The top three entries in the lay summary competition will be  published in a news piece on our website following the retreat.

We spoke to Valerie Soo about her experience as a postdoc rep for LMS. Valerie’s significant contribution to the postdoctoral experience at the Institute was recently recognised with her nomination for an Imperial College London Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre (PFDC) award. Valerie said,

“As one of the Postdoc Reps for LMS, I am delighted to be nominated for the Imperial PFDC award. Being a postdoc at LMS has enhanced my personal and professional development immensely as there are multiple layers of support from both MRC and Imperial. There are plenty of opportunities to meet with new people ranging from fellow peers to senior leaders through my involvement in the Athena Swan Committee and Postdoc Committee. Importantly, these are the channels where postdocs like me are able to influence institutional initiatives to make LMS an even better workplace for postdocs. On a personal level, this involvement has broadened my skills in communication, teamwork and project management.”

Building a research career

Postdoc positions are a crucial time in a researcher’s academic career. They are both the bridge and final step before embarking on an independent research career, through research fellowships or permanent academic positions.

An example career pathway for academic researchers

Alongside the postdoc committee there are additional support and resources within the Institute for postdocs including our mentorship scheme, range of training courses and the Athena SWAN opportunities committee. There is additional support and guidance available through the Imperial College London PFDC to assist postdocs with the next steps in their careers.

Postdoc champions

Helena Cocheme, Head of Redox Metabolism and LMS postdoc champion says,

“I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with postdocs Institute-wide, through my involvement with the Athena SWAN initiative, where postdocs are an important demographic, and also in my role as one of the LMS Postdoc Champions, liaising between our LMS Postdoc Reps and the Postdoc Development Centre at Imperial.


In addition to our excellent scientific environment, we are encouraging postdocs to take advantage of the many development opportunities at the LMS. For instance, the hosting of invited external speakers by the LMS Postdoc Committee and the ‘Coffee with the Speaker’ slot after seminars open to all postdocs and PhD students. I recently received feedback from a speaker praising the stimulating discussions and excellent ideas received from one such coffee session, which is a testimony to the engagement and quality of the postdoc community at the LMS.”